MINUTES OF THE FORTY FOURTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON TUESDAY 28 APRIL 2009 AT 4.20PM IN ROOM 106
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr Paul Butler
Rev Dr Robert Coulter
Mr Sean Neeson
Mr Alban Maginness
Mr T Reaney, Mr T Logue, Mr S Welch, Mr J Stewart, Mr R Stewart, Dr G McGrath, Mr H Widdis, Mr R Good and Ms C McGowan. Mr D Lynn 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 23 April 2009 were agreed.
3. ACCOMMODATION STRATEGY
The Director of Properties recapped on the proposals outlined within the previous presentation by Mr Adryan Bell in relation to the strategic review of accommodation and presented the Commission with an overview of the key recommendations, in terms of a range of options proposed to meet the desired operational objectives of the Assembly.
Following discussion in relation to the range of options for optimising space usage within Parliament Buildings, Mr Butler sought further clarification in relation to the projected costs for taking forward the key strands of the project.
The Commission agreed that the final report should outline the indicative costs in relation to each of the options. Members also requested that the final report consider the possible impact of a reduction, in the number of MLAs, at some stage in the future. Mr Moutray also requested that a further ‘Do Nothing’ option be considered and factored into the final report.
The Commission also considered the state of disrepair to the roof of Parliament Buildings and agreed that outline indicative costs would be included in the above report.
4. EUROPEAN ELECTIONS – GUIDANCE TO MEMBERS
The Director of Resources drew Members attention to the revised draft guidance prepared for Members and Party Whips in respect of the use of Assembly resources during the European Election Campaign
Following consideration, the Commission approved the draft letters to Members and Party Whips and agreed that the Finance Office should arrange for immediate issue.
5. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
5.1 Media Access Policy
The Director of Engagement provided the Commission with an update in relation to the implementation of the media access policy and reported that the Handbook was being rewritten to include revised procedures. He stated that once the Handbook had been revised the pilot would commence.
5.2 Political Leadership Programme
The Clerk/Director General informed the Commission that he and the Director of Engagement had held initial discussions with a number of external organisations to discuss the potential of a development programme for Members.
5.3 Swine Flu Pandemic
The Clerk/Director General informed the Commission that he was establishing a cross-directorate emergency planning team to examine the response to ‘Swine Flu’ from the Assembly Secretariat.
5.4 Childcare for constituency staff
The Clerk/Director General informed the Commission that a Member had raised the possibility of the Assembly’s Childcare Scheme being made available for Members’ support staff and that officials were exploring the matter.
The Clerk/Director General provided the Commission with an update in relation to a litigation case.
5.6 Ormiston House
The Director of Properties provided the Commission with an update in relation to the Ormiston House site. Following consideration, it was suggested that the Director of Properties meet with the local MLAs and MP for the area to provide them with an update. It was also suggested that the residents group continue to be informed of progress to date.
5.7 Questions for Oral Answer
Mr Logue informed the Commission that his office had received 5 questions to the Assembly Commission for oral answer at Plenary on Tuesday 5 May 2009. Following agreement by the Commission on who would respond, Mr Logue agreed to hold further briefing meetings with Commission Members regarding their response.
5.8 Access to Upper Car Park
Mr Moutray informed Members that he had received a request from a member relating to access to the upper car park on sitting days. The Director of Properties provided a response and agreed to forward a written copy of the guidance detailing those individuals who have access on sitting days.
6. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Assembly Commission will be on Thursday 21 May 2009 at 1.30pm in Room 106.
The meeting ended at 5.15pm
Clerk to the Assembly Commission