To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government if the criteria for membership of the board of the Residential Tenancies Board has been reviewed since its remit was extended to cover approved housing bodies in 2016; his views on whether the current criteria creates a conflict of interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is governed by the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 – 2016. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 amended section 3 of the 2004 Act so that dwellings let by approved housing bodies (AHBs) to social housing tenants now come within the remit of the Act. The position of these tenants is significantly improved by the change, which commenced on 7 April 2016.
The Act requires that Board members of the RTB shall be persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, have experience in a field of expertise relevant to the Board’s functions. In accordance with the Government Decision regarding appointments to vacancies on State Boards, with effect from 1 November 2014, vacancies on the Board must be advertised openly on the State Boards portal, www.stateboards.ie, operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).
The Government believes that putting in place a system for appointments to State Boards that is open, accessible, rigorous and transparent will yield additional applications from accomplished, experienced and qualified individuals who wish to make a commitment to public service that might not have previously been identified as available for appointment to State Boards. One of the core elements of the model agreed by Government is the operation by PAS of an independent, expert, rigorous and transparent system of assessment.
On appointment, RTB Board members are required to sign and adhere to the code of practice for Board members, as detailed on the RTB website at the following link:
As outlined in the Code, Board members must also comply with the requirements of section 170 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004 in relation to disclosure of interests and must disclose outside business or employment interests in conflict or in potential conflict with the business of the RTB.
I am satisfied the RTB is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance, in compliance with the Codes of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.
The RTB continually reviews its Board's structure and criteria on an annual basis, insofar as that it fully complies with the best practices of good corporate governance, introduced via the comprehensive 2016 Code of Practice for Governance of State Bodies (Chapters 3 (Role of Board Members) & 4 (Board Effectiveness) refer).
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