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Mrs Dolores Kelly MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Cathal Boylan MLA
Mr Jonathan Craig MLA
Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Mr Paul Maskey MLA
Mr Stephen Moutray MLA
Ms Jennifer McCann MLA
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Mr Mervyn Storey MLA

In Attendance:
Mr Trevor Reaney, Clerk to the Assembly
Ms Nuala Dunwoody, Clerk Assistant
Mr Damien Martin, Clerk Assistant
Ms Stella McArdle, Clerk to the Liaison Group
Mr Brendan O’Neill, Head of IS Office (for item 7 only)
Mrs Sheila Mawhinney, Assistant Clerk
Mr George McClelland, Clerical Supervisor
Mr Oliver Bellew, Clerical Officer

Apologies: Mr Alban Maginness MLA

Mr Declan O’Loan MLA

12.35 p.m. The meeting opened in closed session

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Tom Elliott to the meeting as the new Chairperson of the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, and thanked her predecessor, Mr Danny Kennedy, for his contribution to the Group.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting of 21 September 2010

The minutes of the meeting of 21 September 2010 were agreed.

3. Matters arising
  • Legislative Programme and Programme for Government

The Committee noted a response from OFMDFM to its request for further information on the Executive’s current legislative programme and on plans to review the Programme for Government.

  • Ministerial Statements

It was noted that there are currently no records kept in the Business Office on the number of occasions when Ministerial Statements are not issued to members in compliance with Standing Orders.

Agreed : That further queries on this should be referred to the Committee on Procedures or Business Committee as appropriate by party representatives on those committees.

12.39 p.m. Mr Paul Maskey left the meeting.

4. Northern Ireland Assembly Spending Review 2011/2012 – 2014/2015

12.40 pm Ms Jennifer McCann left the meeting.

12.45 pm Mr Barry McElduff joined the meeting.

The key points of a paper regarding an approach to potential cost savings and efficiencies in the committee budget was outlined and discussed. Members discussed staffing, meeting schedules, travel and attending conferences and electronic distribution of papers. Members recognised committee stakeholder and committee engagement events as an important element of committee work and acknowledged the role of committee teams in these events. Consideration was given to other saving priorities including areas where there had been historic under spend such as advertising and specialist advisors.

Agreed : It was agreed that details of training and development for committee staff would be provided.

Agreed : It was agreed that details of the discussion would be forwarded to the Commission for information.

12.58 pm Mr Mervyn Storey joined the meeting.

5. Preparation for the Next Assembly mandate

Background information on the priorities in planning for the end of the current mandate and preparing for the next were provided to CLG. The discussion covered work programmes for committees, methodology to be used for the population of Committees, a directory of contacts and an enhanced induction for new Chairpersons.

Agreed: That any further comments should be passed directly to Ms Dunwoody.

Agreed : That the Liaison Group would schedule a briefing from the election planning team for its meeting in January 2011.

Agreed: That the Liaison Group would discuss lessons learnt in terms of committee work at a future meeting.

6. Research support to Committees on financial and budget scrutiny

Members discussed the paper from Assembly Research and Library Services on support for financial and budget scrutiny, which was requested by the Group at its last meeting.

Agreed : It was agreed that members should be kept informed of the developments regarding the recruitment of specialists.

7. Potential use of electronic aids in Committee rooms

The Liaison Group considered a paper provided by the Assembly Information Systems Office on the potential use of electronic aids in Committee rooms in response to a growing demand from members for such a facility. Members discussed likely requirements and acknowledged constraints as well as considering current and future methods of implementation.

Agreed : It was agreed that the chairpersons should be provided with regular updates on the pilot for the “Cloud” data storage technology.

Agreed : It was further agreed that the pilot involving the distribution of Committee papers using AssISt and Aportal should move forward as quickly as possible

1.19 pm Mr Mervyn Storey left the meeting.

8. Information on Committee spend April – September 2010

Members were content to note information supplied by the Committee Office on the expenditure for the year to date over the key budget areas. Members also noted printing costs which have been incurred by Committees but which are charged to another business area.

9. Information on Committee visits/ meetings held outside Parliament Buildings May – October 2010

The Chairperson highlighted a number of Committee visits which took place overseas and members were content to note this latest six-monthly update.

10. Forward work programme

The Liaison Group considered a draft forward work programme for the period November 2010 to December 2010.

Agreed: Chairpersons would advise the clerk of any other items for inclusion in the work programme

Agreed : It was agreed that the next scheduled meeting on 14 December 2010 may be postponed until January 2011 if there was insufficient business.

11. Any other business


10. Date, time and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the Liaison Group will take place on Tuesday 14 December 2010 at

12.30 p.m. in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

1.28 p.m. The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

Mrs Dolores Kelly, Chairperson
18 January 2011

21 September 2010 / Menu

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