MINUTES OF THE THIRTY SEVENTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON TUESDAY 2 DECEMBER 2008 AT 3.00PM IN ROOM 106
Mr Stephen Moutray
Rev Dr Robert Coulter
Mr Sean Neeson
Mr Paul Butler
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr T Reaney, Mr T Logue, Dr G McGrath, Mr R Stewart, Mr S Welch , Mr J Stewart, Mr R Good and Ms C McGowan.
Mr H Widdis and Ms D Savage were in attendance for Items 8 – 10.
1. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on the 18 November 2008 were agreed.
2. MATTERS ARISING
2.2 Commission Off-Site Meeting
The Speaker thanked Members and Directors for taking the time to attend the Commission’s off-site meeting. Members noted that the event was very useful for considering a range of future strategic issues.
The Clerk/Director General informed Members that a further paper would be provided for consideration addressing the range of actions outlined at the event.
3. INTERIM REPORT ON AUDIT OF EXISTING ACCOMMODATION USAGE
The Director of Properties provided Members with an interim update on the Secretariat Accommodation Strategy. Following consideration of the papers provided, the Commission agreed to the establishment of a steering group, to include a member of the Assembly Commission, directorates and business areas, to support the accommodation audit. Mr Neeson agreed to represent the Commission on the Steering Group.
4. DECEMBER MONITORING ROUND
The Director of Resources provided Members with the detail of the December monitoring position for the Assembly. Following consideration of the budget position, the Commission noted the proposed surrender of resources and capital to the Department of Finance and Personnel. The Director of Resources also highlighted the degree of uncertainty surrounding the forecast in respect of non-cash expenditure on the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme.
5. DIGNITY AT WORK
The Director of Resources provided Members with a background to the Assembly’s Dignity at Work policy. Following consideration, the Commission approved the draft note to issue to Members and Parties and agreed that the note and policy document issue immediately.
6. RECRUITMENT OF NON-EXECUTIVE SMG MEMBER
The Clerk/Director General provided the Commission with detail in relation to the proposed appointment of an Independent Director to the Secretariat Management Group. Following consideration in relation to the recruitment and selection criteria, the Commission agreed:
- that one independent Director is appointed to the Secretariat Management Board;
- the roles, responsibilities, person specification, duration of the appointment and costs as proposed; and
- the contents of the advertisement and composition of the appointment panel.
7. SECRETARIAT REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS AND CORPORATE PLAN
The Clerk/Director General provided Members with an update in relation to the proposal to mainstream the Secretariat Review recommendations and the review of the Corporate Plan 2008/11 as discussed at the Commission off-site meeting on 27 November 2008.
Following consideration of the proposals, the Commission endorsed the proposed approach to amalgamate the two systems.
8. SENIOR SALARIES REVIEW BODY
The Commission received the report from the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and a copy of a supporting report from the Hay Group. Following an overview of the main recommendations within the report by the Clerk/Director General, Members agreed that further time was required to consider the contents of the report. It was agreed that the Report would be on the agenda for the next meeting on 13 January 2009.
Members further agreed that Party Leaders and Party Whips would be briefed at an early morning meeting on Wednesday 3 December with copies to issue to all MLAs on that day. The Commission also noted that the local press would receive an embargoed briefing on the SSRB report before formal publication by the SSRB on Thursday 4 December 2008.
9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS 9.1 Commission Meeting with Press Representatives
Mr Logue reminded Members that a lunch had been organised with the Commission Members and representatives from the Stormont Correspondents Group for Thursday 4 December 2008
9.2 Commission Motion on Carbon Neutrality
Mr Logue informed Members that the motion on Carbon Neutrality withdrawn by Mr J Wells was being taken again on Tuesday 9 December 2008. Mr Neeson agreed that he would respond on behalf of the Assembly Commission.
9.3 Members financial liability for sponsored events
Rev Coulter highlighted that a Party colleague had recently received a bill for an event he had sponsored. Mr Logue highlighted that all Members needed to be mindful that they could be financially liable for events which they sponsor within Parliament Buildings.
10 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Assembly Commission was agreed for Tuesday 13 January 2009.The meeting ended at 5.00pm