MINUTES OF THE TWENTY FIFTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON THURSDAY 1 MAY 2008 AT 10:00 AM IN ROOM 106
Mr Stephen Moutray
Rev Robert Coulter
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr Sean Neeson
In Attendance: Mrs C Devon, Mr T Logue, Mr R Good, Mr H Widdis, Ms C McGowan and Ms C Foster. Ms S McClelland was in attendance for Items 2 – 7. Mr J Hunter was in attendance for Items 3, 4 & 5. Mr D Lynn and Mr D Stelfox were in attendance for Item 3. Mr D Orr, Mr S Fairfield, Mr D Chisholm and Mr D Mitchell were present for Items 4 & 5.
1. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
Members agreed the minutes of the last meeting held on 24 April 2008.
2. MATTERS ARISING
Mr Logue provided members with an update in relation to the draft programme for the Commission’s visit to the Canadian Parliament on the 10th May 2008.
8th May Update
Ms McClelland provided a further update on the arrangements for the Economic Investment Conference on the 7 th and 8 th May 2008. Ms McClelland tabled an invitation from Minister Dodds inviting Commission Members to a lunch on the 7 th May.
Following discussion, the Commission agreed that guidance should issue to all Members, party support staff and secretariat staff highlighting the security arrangements which would be in place for the event.
2.3 Review of Security
The Commission considered the recent media attention relating to the external search facility and agreed that an email should issue to all MLAs setting out the background to the Commission’s decision to implement the recommendations from the Review of Security. The Commission also agreed that a press release should issue outlining the background and rationale for the new security arrangements.
It was further agreed that the Interim Clerk/Director General explore the development of a ‘newsletter’ for Members reporting on Commission deliberations and highlighting Commission decisions.
Following discussion on access arrangements for goods vehicles, it was agreed that Ms McClelland would review the initial guidance given to contractors and that an email should issue to all contract managers setting out revised arrangements.
The Speaker also suggested that further consideration be given to the drop off and parking facilities for buses and taxis.
3. CHAMBER UPGRADE
The Speaker welcomed Mr Lynn and Mr Stelfox to the meeting. Mr Stelfox provided members with a presentation updating them on the final requirements relating to the package of works to upgrade the Chamber.
Rev Coulter suggested that perspex covers be added to protect the table tops from potential damage from individuals visiting the Chamber.
The Commission considered and agreed the proposals for the replacement carpet design.
The Commission discussed proposals to change the Speaker’s table and considered the sample worktop and approved the new speakers and microphones for the Members.
Mr Maginness left the meeting at 11am.
Mr Stelfox concluded that confirmation of the final requirements would now allow the designers and contractors to complete the detailed specification and design.
Mr Lynn and Mr Stelfox left the meeting at 11.10am.
Mr Moutray joined the meeting.
Mr Hunter joined the meeting.
5. LONG TERM ACCOMMODATION STRATEGY AND ORMISTON HOUSE
Mr Hunter provided background on the progress to date relating to the future accommodation needs for the Assembly. He appraised Members of the activity of the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) in relation to the accommodation strategy and briefed the Commission on the proposed disposal strategy for Ormiston House.
Mr D Orr, Mr S Fairfield, Mr D Chisholm and Mr D Mitchell joined the meeting at 11.30am.
The Speaker welcomed the officials from CPD to the meeting. Mr D Orr opened the presentation by providing a background on work that had taken place.
Mr D Chisholm, a principal architect from CPD, delivered a presentation on the history of the Ormiston House site, highlighting the planning restrictions to development. He provided an update in relation to the planning application and informed Members that a planning consultant had been appointed to advise the Commission on issues and guide the design team through any potential problems.
The Speaker thanked Mr Chisholm and highlighted that consultation with residents was a crucial part of the process.
Mr D Mitchell, a principal architect from CPD, followed with a presentation on the main findings of the feasibility report for additional accommodation for the Northern Ireland Assembly within the Stormont Estate.
Mr Butler left the meeting at 12.00pm
Following discussion the Speaker proposed that further consideration was required by the Commission in developing a consultation strategy with users and a detailed specification of requirements.
Mr Neeson suggested that consideration be given to the development of Portcullis House in Westminster and how they had incorporated a new build into their existing accommodation.
The Commission agreed to meet to consider all issues relating to the future accommodation needs of the Northern Ireland Assembly in early June.
Mr D Orr, Mr S Fairfield, Mr D Chisholm and Mr D Mitchell left the meeting at 12.10pm. Mr Hunter left the meeting at 12.15pm.
6. MEDIA ACCESS
Mrs Devon spoke to a paper highlighting the access arrangements for media pass holders within Parliament Buildings. The Commission agreed to review the existing arrangements and that consultation should begin with the Stormont Correspondents Association (SCA) to inform the development of the new guidance.
It was further agreed that a draft ‘code of conduct for media pass holders’ be drawn up following consultation with SCA and forwarded with a revised ‘Press Handbook’ for the Commission’s approval.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Ms McClelland informed the Commission that the Brasserie was due to open for two evenings a week from Thursday 15 May and that a Postmaster had issued to all members, party support staff and secretariat staff highlighting the extended opening hours and providing a sample menu.
8. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The date of the next meeting of the Assembly Commission will be held on Thursday 22 May 2008 at 10:00 am in room 106.
The meeting ended at 12.30pm
Clerk to the Assembly Commission