MINUTES OF THE SIXTH MEETING OF
THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION
HELD ON 13 SEPTEMBER 2007
AT 12 NOON IN ROOM 106
Present: The Speaker
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Sean Neeson
Rev Robert Coulter
Mr Paul Butler
In Attendance: Mr T Logue, Mr T Evans, Mr R Good, Ms C McGivern, Mr R Stewart, Ms C McGowan. Sir J Baker, Mr K Masson, and Ms C Foster were present for Agenda Items 1 - 3.
1. MINUTES OF LAST COMMISSION MEETINGS
The minutes of the fourth meeting held on 9 July 2007 were agreed.
2. CHAIRMANíS BUSINESS
The Speaker introduced Sir John Baker, Chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body to the Commission.
3.1 Sir John Baker provided the Assembly Commission with the background relating to the Senior Salaries Review Body and the features associated with implementing a review for the Northern Ireland Assembly.
3.2 The Speaker welcomed Mr Keith Masson, from the Office of Manpower Economics who joined the meeting at 12.14pm.
3.3 Following discussion, the Assembly Commission agreed the timings and proposed first steps relating to the operation of a review of remuneration of Assembly Members.
4. SUPPORT FOR PARTY WHIPS
4.1 Mr R Stewart provided Members with a background to proposals for payments for administrative support to Party Whips.
4.2 Following consideration, the Commission agreed the content of the revised Scheme to provide additional funding to parties under the Financial Assistance for Political Parties Act (NI) 2000.
4.3 The Commission agreed the wording for the motion and the associated timings. Mr Maginness agreed to lay the motion before the Assembly during plenary on the 24 September.
5. IT ISSUES
5.1 IT NETWORK REFRESH
Mr Evans asked members to note the progress achieved to date relating to the implementation of the project for the replacement of the NI Assembly network equipment.
5.2 MOBILE MESSAGING
The Commission noted the progress to date and approved the ongoing work relating to the Mobile Messaging Pilot.
5.3 IT REFRESH REPORT
Mr Evans highlighted the summary report of the completion of the IT Equipment Replacement project.
Rev Coulter endorsed the work carried out by members of the IS Office during the implementation of the project and commended their on-going dedication and professionalism during the delivery of the contract.
Mr Evans informed the Commission that the Project Board would remain to support existing and future IT projects.
6. REVIEW OF EQUAL PAY
6.1 Mr Evans provided the Commission with a background to the proposed Equal Pay Review, highlighting the responses given from Trade Union Side to the Terms of Reference and Scope of the Review.
6.2 Following discussion the Assembly Commission agreed that the Deputy Chief Executive and the Director of Legal Services should meet further to discuss the current approach and provide the Commission with a revised proposal at the next meeting.
6.3 Mr Evans agreed to forward a full copy of the Trade Union response to all members in advance of the next meeting.
6.4 The Assembly Commission discussed the status of a pending Industrial Tribunal case and the implications in the area of equal pay.
6.5 The Commission agreed that copies of all litigation against the Assembly Commission be provided for consideration on a regular basis. It was further agreed that the Clerk to the Assembly Commission would review the current approach to handling complaints against the Assembly Commission and provide strategic advice to a future meeting.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
7.1 Commission Away Day
Mr Logue provided members with a brief overview of the planned Commission Away day.
7.2 Questions for Oral Answer to the Assembly Commission
Mr Logue tabled three questions to the Assembly Commission for Oral Answer on Monday 24 September. Mr Logue informed the Members that staff from the Office of the Keeper were currently collating information for a response which would be considered at the next Commission meeting.
Mr Neeson and Mr Butler agreed to answer the questions for oral answer during plenary on the 24 September.
8. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Thursday 20 September at 10.00am in Room 106.
The meeting ended at 1.20pm
Clerk to the Assembly Commission