MINUTES OF THE FORTY FIFTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON THURSDAY 21 MAY 2009 AT 2.00PM IN ROOM 106Present:
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, Mr R Good and Ms C McGowan. Mr H Widdis was present for Agenda Items 1 – 4. Mr D Lynn, Mr A Bell and Mr P White were present for Agenda Item 7.
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 28 April 2009 were agreed.
3. SECRETARIAT AUDIT AND RISK COMMITTEE (SARC)
Following consideration, the Commission approved the draft Terms of Reference for the Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee.
4. REVIEW OF MEMBERS FINANCIAL SERVICES HANDBOOK
The Clerk/Director General spoke to a paper which set out recommendations raised by the Review Body on Senior Salaries and the Standards and Privileges Committee in relation to the management of Office Cost Allowance.
Following consideration, the Commission agreed to initiate a review of the existing Office Cost Allowance guidance as set out in the Members’ Financial Services Handbook to take account of the recommendations proposed by the Review Body on Senior Salaries and matters referred from the Standards and Privileges Committee and developments in best practice in other legislatures. The Commission agreed that it would consider the revised guidance in advance of proposals being brought forward on the report from the Review Body on Senior Salaries in the autumn.
It was further agreed that the level of public disclosure of existing information held by the Assembly, on behalf of Members, in respect of individual claims be increased. This would be implemented for claims from April 2009 onwards as soon as administrative and IT systems were in place.
The Commission agreed that a letter should now issue to Party Leaders informing them of their decisions and inviting parties to give written submissions by the end of June 2009. Members further agreed that a press release should also be issued highlighting the Commission’s decisions in relation to proposed review and the levels of public disclosure of existing information held on Members.
Mr Widdis left the meeting.
5. SECURITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM CONVERGENCE PROJECT
The Director of Properties informed the Commission that the Security Management System Convergence Project board had now agreed a single functional statement of requirement and that the project would now progress to procurement stage.
6. DELIVERY OF DOORKEEPER AND SECURITY SERVICES
The Director of Properties spoke to a paper which set out a range of options on the future delivery for door keeping and security services. The Director informed the Commission that he had met with representatives from Trade Union Side on 20 May 2009 to discuss the range of options and that TUS were content with the preferred option outlined by the Project Board.
Members sought clarification in relation to the impact of progressing the service for contracted staff currently within the Assembly and were assured that the preferred option would be delivered through open competition and would result in successful personnel becoming direct employees of the Assembly Commission.
Following further discussion the Commission approved the Project Board’s preferred option of consolidating the door keeping and security disciplines under a single line management structure and agreed that the change management project should progress as detailed within the paper.
7. ACCOMMODATION STRATEGY
The Director of Properties provided the Commission with a brief overview of the final report of the Strategic Accommodation Review. Mr Adryan Bell delivered a brief presentation highlighting the final outcomes and recommendations from the accommodation review and sought the Commission’s comments in relation to the way forward.
Rev Coulter left the meeting.
Following discussion in relation to the outline of the strategic recommendations, Members expressed the view that in the current economic climate a major capital investment to create new additional space within the existing building footprint of Parliament Buildings was not feasible.
Rev Coulter rejoined the meeting.
The Clerk/Director General highlighted the benefits of carrying out modest work to enhance committee room facilities during the summer recess period. The Commission agreed that prior to a decision being taken, that further cost analysis would be required, to include a breakdown for each aspect of the proposed work and taking account of the existing delivery of the existing broadcasting services project.
The Clerk/Director General also highlighted the lengthy lead in times for major capital projects and the benefits of proceeding with further preliminary research/design work in relation to potential longer term developments. He emphasised that such work would assist in future decision making and did not represent any commitment at this stage. The Commission agreed that further research/design work be undertaken.
The Director of Properties provided further detail regarding the state of disrepair to the roof of Parliament Buildings and agreed that a detailed report should be produced outlining the work required and associated costs of repair. The Speaker proposed that Commission Members inspect the roof to see the urgency in progressing the matter.
8. DEFERRED ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The following items of items of business were deferred:
Clerk’s Monthly Report
Evaluation Report on Engagement Road-shows
9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Assembly Commission will be on Thursday 18 June 2009 at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle.
The meeting ended at 3.12pm