MINUTES OF THE SIXTEENTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON 10 JANUARY 2008 AT 10.00 AM IN ROOM 106
Mr Stephen Moutray
Rev Robert Coulter
Mr Sean Neeson
Mr Alban Maginness and Mr Paul Butler
In Attendance: Mrs C Devon, Mr T Logue, Mrs C McGowan and Ms C Foster. Ms McClelland, Mr S Burrowes and Mr F Duffy were present for Items 1 – 5. Ms N Dunwoody was present for Items 4 and 5. Mr R Stewart was present for Items 5 and 6. Mr J Hunter was present for item 4.
1. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the fifteenth meeting held on the 13 December 2007 were agreed.
2. CHAIRMAN’S BUSINESS
The Speaker welcomed Members of the Interim Management Board (IMB) to the meeting.
3. MATTERS ARISING
3.1 Chamber Refurbishment
Ms McClelland provided Members with an update in relation to the proposed refurbishment and upgrade of the Assembly Chamber. She informed members that a working group would be established to make proposals in relation to the Speaker’s table requirements. The Commission agreed to use the CPD framework for contract delivery.
The Interim Clerk/Director General informed Members that she would present a draft of the letter for SSRB, from the Commission, for consideration at the next meeting.
3.3 Recruitment of Director General and Directors
The Commission discussed the process involved for the recruitment of the Clerk/Director General and Director posts. They indicated that appointments should be made as a matter of urgency and agreed that Capita RAS consultancy be invited to the next meeting.
3.4 Secondment Arrangements for former SMB Members
The Interim Clerk/Director General informed Members that the secondments of the SMB members would be terminated from around 18 January and that arrangements for their return to the NICS were currently being negotiated.
4. ACCOMMODATION UPDATE
Mr J Hunter joined the meeting at 10.25am
Ms N Dunwoody joined the meeting at 10.26am
4.1 Ormiston House
Mr Hunter provided an update of the disposal strategy in relation to the Ormiston House site. Mr Hunter informed Members that initial feedback from the Planning Service indicated that restricted planning opportunities would exist on the site and would only be permitted to enable the sympathetic restoration of the house. Mr Neeson highlighted his disappointment in the response of the planning service.
Following discussion, the Commission agreed to procure valuation and planning advice.
4.2 Long Term Strategy
Mr Hunter provided an update in relation to the long term accommodation strategy of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Mr Hunter highlighted the possible options using a three strand approach and agreed that a further paper building up the business case would be presented to the Commission in March/April 2008.
Ms McClelland informed the Commission that she had commissioned a comparative analysis of outreach and engagement facilities offered in other types of public buildings including other legislatures. Mr Neeson and Rev Coulter proposed that the Commission consider further visits to other legislatures in exploring their approach to outreach and their facilities on public engagement.
Mr Hunter left the meeting at 10.45am
5. FINANCE PAPER
Mr Stewart joined the meeting at 10.45am
The interim Clerk/Director General commended the Head of Finance on his work in producing the budget forecast paper.
The Commission noted the forecast resource requirements over the next three years and the estimated Capital requirements over the next ten years. Following discussion on requirements, the Commission agreed that the proposed budget should be presented to the Department of Finance and Personnel,
N Dunwoody, S Burrowes and F Duffy left the meeting at 11.15am
6. NIAO MANAGEMENT LETTER
The Commission considered the action plan arising from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) ‘Report to those charged with Governance 2006/07’ and noted the progress achieved against the agreed actions.
The Interim Clerk/DG informed the Commission that she had held two separate meeting with Officials from the Audit Office to discuss requirements coming out of the NIAO Report.
Mr Stewart left the meeting at 11.20am
7. UPDATE ON LITIGATION
The Interim Clerk/DG appraised the Commission of potential litigation against the Assembly Commission.
8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
8.1 Assembly Portraits
Ms Lenaghan to produce a paper in relation to the commissioning of Assembly Portraits.
8.2 Assembly Commission Questions
Mr Logue highlighted the five questions for oral answer on the 21 January and agreed to meet separately with the relevant portfolio Member to discuss.
8.3 Update on Secretariat Review
The Commission agreed that Mr Hunter and Mr Reid should be invited at an appropriate stage to provide quality assurance on the implementation of the Review recommendations.
Mr Neeson requested that in the context of developing an engagement strategy, further consideration should be given development of a policy on Committees holding regional meetings throughout Northern Ireland.
8.4 FoI Disclosures
The Commission requested further information in relation to the status for disclosure of ‘landlord/tenant’ details for MLAs.
8.5 Emergency Planning
Mr Moutray sought clarity in relation to Emergency Planning. The Interim Clerk/Director General informed the Commission that there was no emergency plan in place at present. IMB were in the process of developing a draft 3 year corporate plan, and business continuity and emergency planning would be included.
9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
It was agreed that the next meeting of the Assembly Commission would be on Thursday 17 January at 10.00am in Room 106.
The meeting ended at 11.40am