MEETING OF THE CHAIRPERSONS' LIAISON GROUP
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER 2007
Mr Sammy Wilson MP MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Gregory Campbell MP MLA
Mr Mark Durkan MP MLA
Dr William McCrea MP MLA
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Mr John O’Dowd MLA
Mrs Iris Robinson MP MLA
Mr Cathal Boylan MLA
Ms Nuala Dunwoody, Clerk Assistant
Mr John Torney, Principal Clerk
Mrs Christine Darrah, Clerk to the Liaison Group
Mrs Mary Curran, Assistant Clerk
Mr Paul Breen, Clerical Supervisor
Mr Jonathan Young, Clerical Officer
Mr Patsy McGlone MLA
The Lord Morrow MLA
Mr Jeffery Donaldson MP MLA
The meeting opened at 12.30 p.m. in closed session
The Chairperson welcomed all present to the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting of 18 September 07
The draft minutes of the meeting of 18 September 2007 were agreed.
Improvements to committee meeting rooms
12.33 p.m. Mrs Iris Robinson, Mr Gregory Campbell joined the meeting
12.34 p.m. Mr Mark Durkan joined the meeting.
The Chairperson confirmed that the Clerk had written to the Head of the Information Office to arrange the installation of plasma screens and a lectern in each committee room.
Press seats in committee public galleries
The Chairperson advised that he had written to the Speaker recommending that 3 dedicated press seats should be available for 20 minutes at the start of each committee meeting.
Committee on Procedures - inquiry into committee systems and structures
The Chairperson confirmed that he had written to the Chairperson of the Procedures Committee advising that the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group would consider the issues of committee systems and structures closer to the end of the 2007-08 Assembly session.
Availability of Hansard for committee meetings
The Chairperson reported that the Chairperson of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee had written to the Speaker asking that additional resources be made available to enable Hansard staff to provide a transcript of all formal committee meetings. The Speaker’s reply to this correspondence will be tabled at the CAL committee meeting to be held on 25 October.
It was agreed that the Editor of Debates would be invited to attend the next meeting of the Group to give a presentation on services provided by Hansard staff.
Communication between committees and departments
Members considered a paper on communication between committees and departments and it was acknowledged that no significant problems had been identified regarding the timing and volume of documentation being received by committees.
It was agreed that committee clerks would be asked to continue monitoring the timing and volume of documentation being received by committees.
Members discussed the issue of access to Ministers by committee chairpersons and the availability of Ministers to attend committee meetings when requested to do so. It was agreed that this matter would be raised at the next meeting of the Assembly Liaison Group and that any further action to be taken on this matter would be considered at the next meeting of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
Publication of committee research papers
Members acknowledged that the publication of committee research papers was ultimately a matter for consideration by individual committees; however, Members were supportive of the publication of research papers on committee websites at the earliest opportunity after such papers had been tabled for committee consideration.
Committee Effectiveness report
Further briefing on the core findings and recommendations of this report will be provided and members will consider these matters again at the next meeting of the group.
Draft Forward Work programme
Members agreed to provide the Clerk with details of any items they wished to have included in the Forward Work Programme.
Date and time of next meeting.
The next meeting of the Group will be held on Tuesday 20 November 2007 at 12.30 p.m. in Room 21.
The meeting closed at 13.07 p.m.
Mr Sammy Wilson,
20 November 2007