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Private Security Services Act 2004
Private Security Authority
Advisory committees, consultants and advisers
1.—(1) (a) The Authority, subject to the approval of the Minister, may from time to time appoint such and so many advisory committees and such and so many consultants or advisers as it may consider necessary to assist it in the performance of its functions.
(b) The approval of the Minister is subject to the consent of the Minister for Finance in respect of fees or expenses to which subparagraph (3) relates.
(2) The appointment of a person to an advisory committee or as a consultant or adviser shall be for such period and subject to such terms and conditions as the Authority may consider appropriate.
(3) Any fees or expenses which have been agreed by the Minister, with the prior consent of the Minister for Finance, and are due to a member of an advisory committee or to a consultant or an adviser shall be paid out of moneys at the disposal of the Authority.
(4) An advisory committee shall include persons who have special knowledge and experience related to the purposes of the committee concerned.
(5) The Authority may at any time dissolve an advisory committee.
(6) The Authority shall ensure the maintenance of an appropriate balance as between men and women in an advisory committee's membership.
Meetings of Authority
2.—(1) The Authority shall hold such and so many meetings as may be necessary for the performance of its functions but shall hold at least one meeting in each quarter of the year.
(2) The Minister may fix the date, time and place of the first meeting of the Authority.
(3) At a meeting of the Authority—
(a) the quorum shall be 4 or such other number (not being less than 4) as the Authority may from time to time determine,
(b) the chairperson shall, if present, be chairperson of the meeting,
(c) if and so long as the chairperson is not present or the office of chairperson is vacant, the members present shall appoint one of their number to be chairperson of the meeting,
(d) each member present shall have one vote,
(e) every question shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting on the question, and
(f) if there is an equal division of votes, the chairperson of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.
(4) Subject to this Act or regulations thereunder, the Authority may regulate its own procedure.
Vacancies in membership
3.—(1) Subject to paragraph 2(3)(a), the Authority and any committee (including an advisory committee) appointed by it may act notwithstanding a vacancy or vacancies in its membership.
(2) Where a vacancy occurs, the Minister or the Authority, as the case may be, shall take steps to fill it as soon as practicable.
Accounts and audits
4.—(1) The Chief Executive, with the agreement of the Authority, shall—
(a) submit estimates of income and expenditure to the Minister in such form, in respect of such periods and at such times as may be specified by the Minister, and
(b) supply to the Minister any information which the Minister may require regarding those estimates and also regarding the proposals and plans of the Authority in respect of a period specified by the Minister.
(2) The Chief Executive, under the direction of the Authority, shall keep, in such form and in respect of such accounting periods as may be approved of by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance, all proper and usual accounts of moneys received and spent by the Authority, including an income and expenditure account and a balance sheet.
(3) (a) The Authority, the Chief Executive and any relevant member of the staff shall, whenever so requested by the Minister, permit any person appointed by the Minister to examine the accounts of the Authority in respect of any financial year or other period and shall facilitate any such examination, and the Authority shall pay to the Minister such fee therefor as may be fixed by the Minister.
(b) In this subsection, “relevant member of the staff” means a member of the staff of the Authority to whom duties relating to those accounts have been duly assigned.
(4) (a) The accounts of the Authority shall be approved by it as soon as practicable (but not later than 3 months after the end of the accounting period to which they relate) and submitted by it to the Comptroller and Auditor General for audit.
(b) A copy of the accounts and the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on them shall be presented to the members of the Authority and the Minister as soon as practicable, and the Minister shall cause a copy of the accounts and report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.
Accountability of Chief Executive to Public Accounts Committee
5.—(1) The Chief Executive shall, whenever so required by the Committee of Dáil Éireann established under the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann to examine and report to Dáil Éireann on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, give evidence to the Committee on—
(a) the regularity and propriety of the transactions recorded or required to be recorded in the accounts kept under paragraph 4(2),
(b) the economy and efficiency of the Authority in the use of its resources,
(c) the systems, procedures and practices employed by it for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of its operations, and
(d) any matter affecting it which is referred to in a special report of the Comptroller and Auditor General under section 11(2) of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993 or in any other report by him or her (in so far as it relates to a matter specified in clause (a), (b) or (c)) that is laid before Dáil Éireann.
(2) In giving evidence to the Committee, the Chief Executive shall not question or express an opinion on the merits of any policy of the Government or a Minister of the Government or on the merits of the objectives of any such policy.
Accountability to other Oireachtas Committees
6.—(1) In this paragraph, “Committee” means a committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than the Committee referred to in paragraph 5 or the Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a subcommittee of such a committee.
(2) Subject to subparagraph (3), the Chief Executive shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Authority.
(3) The Chief Executive shall not be required to give account before a Committee for any matter which is or has been or may at a future time be the subject of proceedings before a court or tribunal in the State.
(4) The Chief Executive, if of the opinion that a matter in respect of which he or she is requested to give an account before a Committee is a matter to which subparagraph (3) applies, shall inform the Committee in writing of that opinion and the reasons for it, unless the information is conveyed to the Committee at a time when the Chief Executive is before it.
(5) Where the Chief Executive has informed a Committee of his or her opinion in accordance with subparagraph (4) and the Committee does not withdraw its request in so far as it relates to a matter the subject of that opinion—
(a) the Chief Executive may, not later than 21 days after being informed by the Committee of its decision not to withdraw the request, apply to the High Court in a summary manner to determine whether the matter is one to which subparagraph (3) applies, or
(b) the Chairperson of the Committee may, on behalf of the Committee, make such an application,
and the High Court may so determine.
(6) Pending determination of an application under subparagraph (5), the Chief Executive shall not attend before the Committee to give account for the matter the subject of the application.
(7) If the High Court determines that the matter concerned is one to which subparagraph (3) applies, the Committee shall withdraw its request in so far as it relates to that matter but, if the High Court determines that that subparagraph does not apply, the Chief Executive shall attend before the Committee to give account for it.
Seal of Authority
7.—(1) The Authority shall, as soon as may be after its establishment, provide itself with a seal.
(2) The seal of the Authority, when applied to a document, may be authenticated by the signatures—
(a) of the chairperson or of another member authorised by it to act in that behalf, and
(b) of the Chief Executive or of a member of the staff of the Authority so authorised.
(3) Any contract or instrument which, if entered into or executed by an individual, would not require to be under seal may be entered into or executed on behalf of the Authority by any person generally or specially authorised by the Authority for that purpose.
(4) Judicial notice shall be taken of the seal of the Authority.
(5) In any proceedings, a document purporting to be made or issued by the Authority and to be sealed with its seal, duly authenticated in accordance with subparagraph (2), shall be received in evidence and shall, unless the contrary is shown, be deemed to be such a document and to be evidence of the matters stated in it.
Prohibition of improper influence
8.—(1) A person who communicates with a member of the Authority or the Chief Executive or a member of the staff of the Authority for the purpose of influencing improperly any decision to be taken by the Authority in the performance of its functions is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000.
(2) If the person communicated with is of opinion that the communication is in contravention of subparagraph (1), he or she shall not entertain it further and shall immediately inform the Authority in writing of its substance, and the Authority shall acknowledge in writing the receipt of such information.
Fees payable to Authority
9.—(1) Any application in respect of which a fee is payable shall not be dealt with by the Authority unless the fee has been received by it.
(2) Such fees shall be paid into, or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in accordance with the directions of the Minister for Finance, and the Public Offices Fees Act 1879 shall not apply in respect of them.