The Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published the Terms of Reference for the External Independent Review of how the Department dealt with concerns raised in the recent Industrial Tribunal case taken by former DAERA vet Dr Tamara Bronckaers.
PwC have been appointed to carry out the two-part review which was jointly commissioned by the Head of Civil Service, Jayne Brady, DAERA Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey and Department of Finance (DoF) Permanent Secretary Neil Gibson. The review will consider the decision-making process throughout this case from notification of the Industrial Tribunal claim and will include decision-making relating to the defending and appeal of the claim.
The first phase will include gathering information and evidence on the actions taken by all involved in the case. These actions will then be assessed against the NICS Code of Ethics and relevant policies, procedures and processes for raising concerns.
The second phase will look at lessons learned and provide recommendations for improvements for the future handling of such matters. This will include the robustness and transparency of relevant systems, policies and processes, as well investigating and managing concerns that are raised by staff.
The review will not further investigate the concerns raised by the complainant as these have already been considered and addressed by the Tribunal.
The outcomes of the review will be published as soon as possible upon completion.
Notes to editors:
- Principal Accounting Officers carry responsibility for ensuring that their organisations operate effectively and to a high standard of probity and also carry personal responsibility for ensuring that the organisation learns from experience. As DAERA is the lead Department in the IT case, its Accounting Officer will be responsible for commissioning the review.
- The completion of the review to the required terms of reference will be overseen by a group chaired by the Head of the Civil Service and also involving the Accounting Officers of both DAERA and DoF and the NICS Group Head of Internal Audit.
- The review is expected to be completed by the end of July 2022.
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