MINUTES OF THE SEVENTH MEETING OF
THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD
ON 20 SEPTEMBER 2007 AT 10:00 AM 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 Moir, Mr T Evans, Mr R Good, Ms C McGivern, Mr Hobson (items 3 - 4), Ms S McClelland (items 8 - 9) and Ms C Foster (items 6 - 10).
1. MINUTES OF LAST COMMISSION MEETINGS
The minutes of the fifth meeting held on 13 September 2007 were agreed.
2. CHAIRMAN’S BUSINESS
The Speaker welcomed Evan Hobson to the meeting.
3. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL CASES
Mr Hobson provided Members with an overview of the issues surrounding Industrial Tribunal cases, internal grievances and harassment cases. It was agreed that the Head of Personnel would provide a quarterly up-date to the Commission on these issues.
4. REVIEW OF EQUAL PAY
Mr Evans provided the Commission with progress to date in relation to the Equal Pay Audit. He explained that, following a meeting with Trade Union side (TUS) a way forward had been agreed. Members approved the establishment of an Equal Pay Audit to be followed by a further Review once pay and grading structures are set in place. Mr Neeson enquired about costs and timescales of the review and Rev Coulter asked that an interim progress report be provided to the Commission. Mr Evans agreed to bring back a paper to an early Commission meeting incorporating the required information
5. CLERK’S REPORT
Mr Moir gave an overview of his report and drew particular attention to the security section of the paper. He updated members on progress to date on purchasing a remote search facility for Parliament Buildings and confirmed that an options paper would be brought to an early Commission meeting. It was further reported that the draft PSNI Service Level Agreement (SLA) would be available before the end of October. Following a request by Mr Moutray the Clerk agreed to provide the source of FOI requests in future reports.
6. ASSEMBLY AND BUSINESS TRUST
Mr Neeson spoke to a paper which explained the outworkings of the NI Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT). The Commission gave their support to the work of group and members agreed to circulate information to Parties and to seek Board of Directors nominations in advance of the Trust’s AGM on 10 October 2007.
Ms McClelland entered the meeting at 11:05 am
7. RALLY IRELAND
Ms McClelland gave details of the first stage of the World Rally Championship in Ireland event being hosted at Stormont on 15 November 2007. In particular, she drew Members’ attention to the impact this event would have on Assembly business and disruption generally to the Stormont estate. The following course of action was agreed:
that the event be allowed to proceed as planned;
that a postmaster issue informing everyone of operational instructions on the day;
that the Keeper of the House liaises with Members and the Executive to ensure appropriate logistical arrangements are put in place for 15 November.
8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
8.1 Oral Assembly Questions
Mr Logue reported that three questions had been tabled for Oral answer on 24 September and discussion took place around the responses. Ms McClelland gave an overview of briefing prepared by the Keeper of the House Directorate. It was also noted that several Written questions were pending response.
8.2 Motion for Whips’ Allowance
Mr Logue tabled a draft motion for the Commission’s consideration. It was agreed that Alban Maginness would speak to the motion.
8.3 Assembly Portrait(s)
Rev Coulter raised the issue of commissioning portraits of the former First and Deputy First Minister. It was agreed, in principle, that this should be taken forward. Mr Logue to explore this matter.
Mr Moir, Mr Evans and Ms Mc Givern left the meeting.
8.4 Commission Away Day
Following an evaluation of the Commission’s away day Mr Logue was asked to take forward a number of actions relating to laptops and photocopying facilities. The Speaker asked that members channel further enquiries through the Clerk to the Commission.
8.5 Review of Secretariat Update
John Hunter provided Members with an up-date on the Review of the Secretariat. The Speaker confirmed that he had received a letter of resignation from Mr Moir. He also informed the Commission that he proposed to enter into discussions with Carol Devon, from the Scottish Parliament, with a view to her acting as the interim Clerk/Chief Executive for a period of around six months.
9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Thursday 4 October 10.00 am in Room 106.
The meeting ended at 12:00 pm