MINUTES OF THE THIRTETH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON TUESDAY 24 JUNE 2008 AT 7.15 PM IN ROOM 106
Present: The Speaker
Mr Stephen Moutray
Rev Robert Coulter
Mr Paul Butler
Mr Sean Neeson
Apology: Mr Alban Maginness
In Attendance: Mrs C Devon, Mr T Logue and Ms C McGowan. Ms S McClelland was present for items 1 - 5. Ms Dunwoody and Mr Burrowes were present for Items 1 – 4.
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the last meeting held on 17 June 2008 were agreed.
2.1 Northern Ireland Assembly Travel Scheme
The Interim Clerk/Director General spoke to a briefing note detailing an analysis of expenditure in relation to the previous operation of the Assembly Taxi Scheme.
Members agreed that a report should be submitted for the Assembly Commissions consideration six months after the date of implementation of the new scheme, reviewing the impact of the new scheme.
2.2 Standards and Privileges Committee – Review of the Code of Conduct
Members asked for a paper to be prepared reviewing the proposed changes in the revised draft code of conduct and how these might impact on the enforcement of Commission policies. It was agreed that the paper should also consider the pros and cons of entering a specific section in the code with reference to breaches of Commission policies. Reference should also be made to lessons learned in other legislatures. It was further agreed that the paper should make recommendations on a possible Commission response to the Standards and Privileges Committees consultation exercise on the ‘Draft Code of Conduct for Assembly Members’.
2.3 Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme (NI) 2000
The Speaker informed Members that Mr Sean Neeson would be proposing the motion from the Commission in relation to the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme at Plenary on Monday 30 June.
REVIEW OF SECURITY:UPGRADE OF CONTROL ROOM
The Commission noted the arrangements regarding the upgrade of the Control room and CCTV system and the proposed locations of CCTV cameras.
CLERK’S MONTHLY REPORT
The Interim Clerk/Director General provided the Commission with an overview of her monthly report. She highlighted the excellent work being done across the organisation on the day to day support to Assembly business. The Interim Clerk/Director General congratulated Mr Burrowes on the recent improvements to service provided by Hansard. Ms Devon also highlighted the range of work to be undertaken during the Summer Recess.
Mr Butler raised a query in relation to the costs for the erection of the external search facility. Ms McClelland highlighted that final financial figures were not available but would be copied in due course.
Following a query raised by Rev Coulter in relation to the Ormiston House site, Ms McClelland informed the Member that she would be holding a meeting with the planning consultant and representatives from Central Procurement Division on the 25 June and would update the Commission at their next meeting.
Members congratulated the Interim Clerk/Director General on the detail of her report.
Ms Dunwoody and Mr Burrowes left the meeting at 8pm
ASSEMBLY RECRUITMENT PROGRAMME
The Interim Clerk / Director General spoke to a paper highlighting proposals on filling posts within the Secretariat. It was proposed that consideration be given to filling vacancies by both internal promotion and open recruitment. Mrs Devon set out the key issues to be looked at before deciding to hold internal promotion competitions. It was agreed that only direct recruits and direct recruit secondees would be eligible for any such competitions.
Following discussion, the Commission agreed in principle to a mixed economy of internal promotion and open recruitment. It was further agreed that the Commission would be consulted on the proposals for each competition including any associated legal and/or equality issues and risks.
Ms McClelland left the meeting at 8.10pm
PAY PROGRESSION FOR ASSEMBLY GRADES 1 & 2
The Interim Clerk/Director General sought the views of the Commission in relation to the pay progression route for Assembly Grade 1 post. Following discussion of the proposed options, Members agreed that the pay progression route for the grade would be that currently applied within the Senior Civil Service as proposed by the Senior Salaries Review Body.
Members also noted the arrangements for pay progression for Assembly Grade 2 level posts from August 2008.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
7.1 Staff Correspondence
The Commission noted a complaint from a member of staff relating to a recent temporary promotion exercise. They requested that the matter should be dealt with by the Personnel Office.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Tuesday 1 July, 15 minutes after the House rises.
The meeting ended at 8.20pm.