MINUTES OF THE SIXTY NINTH MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY COMMISSION HELD ON TUESDAY 18 JANUARY 2011 AT 11.00AM IN ROOM 106
Mr Peter Weir
Mr Pat Ramsey
Mr Sean Neeson
Rev Dr Robert Coulter
In Attendance: Mr T Reaney, Mr T Logue, Mr R Stewart, Dr McGrath, Mr J Stewart, Mr H Widdis, Mr S Welch, Mr A McQuillan, Mr Robin Ramsey and Ms C Dodson.
Meeting began at 11.05am
An apology was received for Mr Pat Doherty.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Speaker sought any declarations of interest from the Commission in relation to items of business being discussed. Members declared an interest in relation to budgetary matters.
3. CHAIRMAN’S BUSINESS
The Speaker thanked Members for attending the meeting and introduced Mr Robin Ramsey. Mr Ramsey recently took up the position of Advisor to the Speaker.
4. ASSEMBLY COMMISSION BUDGET/CSR 2010
The Clerk/Director General spoke to a paper on the Assembly Commissions budget 2010-15. The paper set out the work that has been undertaken by the Assembly Commission to develop a budget to deliver cost savings over the 2011-15 CSR budget period.
The Clerk/Director General provided Members on an update on the current position of the ongoing discussions between various interested parties. The Clerk/Director General informed Members that the Committee for Finance & Personnel has requested that the Assembly Commission submit evidence on the Commission’s Budget proposals and attend a CFP Committee meeting on 26 January 2011. Members were asked to review the contents of the paper provided on the Commison’s budget requirements and relay any comments or queries to Mr Logue by close of play on Wednesday 19 January 2011.
Mr Weir proposed that the Commission enter into discussions with DFP/OFMdFM to move to an agreed position on the Draft Budget 2011/15. He expressed a view that further consideration should be given to areas where additional savings could be made, over and above the previously agreed figure of 13.3%. The other Commission Members present offered a contrary view and re-stated their commitment to the previously agreed figure of 13.3%. The Speaker highlighted the need to achieve an agreed way forward at the earliest opportunity.
Mr McQuillan outlined to the Commission, in his role as Chair of the Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee, the need to carefully consider the full extent of the proposed cuts if only applied to Secretariat Costs which would equate to a 33% cut in real terms. Mr McQuillan provided a rationale to Members on the possible implications of such a cut.
It was agreed that an efficiency review paper will be considered at the next Commission meeting outlining details of the process for conducting efficiency reviews and if possible, providing initial indications regarding potential savings arising from these reviews.
5. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
5.1 North South Parliamentary Forum Conference Draft Report
The Speaker drew Members attention to correspondence from the Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk, TD inviting the North South Parliamentary Forum Working Group and the Oireachtas Working Group to meet during February 2010 to discuss the outcome of the Conference.
5.2 Media Interview – Ormiston House
The Clerk/Director General informed the Commission that he would be speaking on the Stephen Nolan radio show on Wednesday 19 January 2011 in relation to the development of the Ormiston House Site.
6. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Time and date of the next meeting - 25 January 2010, 15 mins after the Business Committee.
Meeting finished at 12.05pm
Head of Commission Support and Compliance Unit