MINUTES OF THE FORTY SECOND MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2009 AT 12.10PM IN ROOM 106
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr Paul Butler
Mr Sean Neeson
Rev Dr Robert Coulter
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr T Logue, Mr S Welch, Mr J Stewart, Mr H Widdis, Mr R Good and Ms C McGowan. Mr T Reaney and Mr R Stewart were present for Agenda Items 3 – 11. Dr G McGrath was present for all Agenda Items except Item 8. Mr D Lynn, Mr A Bell and Mr P White were present for Agenda Item 3.
1. CHAIRMAN’S BUSINESS
The Speaker sought any declarations of interest from the Commission in relation to items of business being discussed. There were no disclosures.
2. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on the 2 April 2009 were agreed.
3. ACCOMMODATION STRATEGY
The Director of Properties provided the Commission with an update in relation to the strategic review of accommodation. The Speaker then welcomed Mr Adryan Bell, a workplace strategy consultant and Mr Peter White, an architect from Central Procurement Division to the meeting. Mr Bell presented Members with information in relation to the project methodology and an overview of the initial findings of the project team. Mr Bell also provided the Members with an interpretation of the initial key recommendations, in terms of a range of options which may meet the desired operational objectives of the legislature.
Mr Butler left the meeting.
Mr Reaney and Mr Stewart joined the meeting.
Following discussion on proposals to enhance the use of the existing space within Parliament Buildings and considering options to create new or alternative spaces within the existing building footprint, Members agreed that they would consider the information further at a special meeting to be arranged at an early date. The Speaker thanked Mr Bell and Mr White for their work to date.
Mr Lynn, Mr Bell and Mr White left the meeting.
Mr Butler rejoined the meeting.
4. MATTERS ARISING
4.1 Planning Workshop 17/18 June 2009
Mr Logue provided Members with detail in relation to the arrangements for the next ‘planning day’ scheduled for the 17/18 June 2009 including a draft work programme for the 18 June 2009. The Commission also agreed that the 2 independent members of the Secretariat Audit Risk Committee should also be invited to meet with Members as part of the programme.
5. PREVIOUS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REPORTS - UPDATE
The Clerk/Director General provided Members with an update in relation to progress achieved against recommendations detailed within previous reviews of corporate governance in the Assembly and Treasury Guidance as recommended under the Secretariat Review (2007) (No. 15).
The Commission noted that in relation to progress, the majority of the recommendations had either been fully achieved or had been realised through the implementation of the recommendations arising from the Review of the Secretariat in 2007 and/or through the revised Corporate Plan 2008 – 11. It was noted that two recommendations had been superseded by other reports.
6. MEMBER’S SURVEY
The Director of Clerking and Reporting provided the Commission with background to development of a survey of Assembly Members and their staff in relation to services provided to them by the Assembly Secretariat. The Commission approved the content and format of the questionnaire to be used and agreed that it should be further piloted prior to distribution.
The Commission further agreed to the proposals for increasing the questionnaire response rate and the timetable for completion of the project, with a view to a final report being presented at the Commission meeting in September 2009.
7. POLICY ON PORTRAITS
The Clerk/Director General provided the Commission with an update on research that had been undertaken since January 2008 in relation to the commissioning of art (including portraits) in other legislatures.
Following discussion in relation to portraits the Commission agreed in principle to the procurement of portraits for Speakers, First Ministers and deputy First Ministers on their retirement from office. However it was proposed that further consideration should be given to the costs, size and hanging location for portraits and the timings for the introduction of the policy. The Commission agreed that a further policy paper should be presented, prior to the Summer Recess addressing the issues raised.
Dr McGrath left the meeting.
8. REPORT ON REVIEW OF SECRETARIAT RECOMMENDATIONS
The Clerk/Director General provided the Commission with an update in relation to implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Review of the Assembly Secretariat (2007).
The Commission noted the final report and acknowledged the significant work undertaken in implementing the recommendations.
The Commission approved the ‘sign-off’ of the implementation of the Secretariat Review process.
Dr McGrath rejoined the meeting.
9. EUROPEAN ELECTIONS – GUIDANCE TO MEMBERS
The Director of Resources drew Members attention to draft guidance prepared for Members and Parties in respect of the use of Assembly resources during the European Election Campaign
Following discussion in relation to the implementation of the guidance and the wording used within the documentation, the Commission requested that the guidance be amended for Members and Party Whips to incorporate their suggestions.
10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Members agreed to defer consideration of additional items of business to the next meeting.
11. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Assembly Commission to be arranged for w/c Monday 27 April 2009.The meeting ended at 1.32pm