Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (79, 81, 82)

Seán Fleming

Question:

79. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to including patron or consumer representatives on the board of the Private Security Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27213/19]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

81. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the profile of membership of the board of the Private Security Authority is predominantly composed of representatives from the security and hospitality sector in view of the fact that the aim of the authority is to be one in which consumer interests are protected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27229/19]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

82. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether the board of the Private Security Authority can be considered transparent in view of the absence of a consumer or patron representative; his further views on the perception that the authority is self-regulating; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27274/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79, 81 and 82 together.

The Private Security Authority (PSA), an independent agency under the remit of my Department, is the regulatory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the private security industry in the State. The Private Security Services Act 2004 (as amended) sets out the security services licensable by the Authority. I have no involvement in the day to day operations of the PSA.

The membership of the Board is set out in Section 7 of the 2004 Act (as amended). Section 7(1) provides that the Authority shall consist of not more than 11 members. Section 7(2) provides that the members of the Authority shall include:

(a) at least one person who is a practising barrister, or practising solicitor, of not less than 5 years’ standing

(b) 2 persons each of whom the Minister considers to be representative of private security employers,

(c) 2 persons each of whom the Minister considers to be representative of employees of such employers,

(d) the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána or such other member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner as the Commissioner may nominate on that behalf,

(e) an officer of the Minister,

(f) a representative of any other Minister of the Government who, in the opinion of the Minister, is directly concerned with or responsible for activities relevant to the functions of the Authority, and

(g) one member of the staff of the Authority elected by secret ballot of the staff of the Authority in such manner: -

(i) if notice of the holding of the first such election is given before the day on which the Authority is established, as the Minister directs in writing, or

(ii) in any other case, as the Authority, with the agreement of the Minister,

In making Board appointments, regard is also had to the guidelines on appointments to State Boards where the specific statutory provision does not prescribe the nominated officers under Section 7(2) of the 2004 Act, (as amended), as well as provisions in the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. I will keep the issues raised by the Deputy regarding the appointment of patrons or consumer representatives in mind if/when vacancies, which are not prescribed to be filled by nominated groups, arise on the Board or following the expiry of the current Board’s term of office in November 2021.

The Authority’s mission is to regulate the activities of those involved in the private security industry to ensure that the interests of consumers are fully protected through the establishment, promotion, monitoring and enforcement of appropriate standards. The Authority holds public consultations and meets representative bodies to discuss the regulatory impact of licensing on their sector which includes ensuring that consumers receive quality regulated services.

The Deputy may also wish to note that the licensing decisions made by the Authority are subject to appeal by the Private Security Appeal Board under Section 40 of the 2004 Act (as amended).

My Department also has an annual governance oversight agreement with the Authority which, inter alia, sets out key objectives and targets to be achieved on an annual basis.