MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2007
Room 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
The meeting commenced at 10.07am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings 5 September 2007
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Members noted the response to NILGA and SoLACE regarding the Review of Public Administration (RPA) and the role of the Councils. The groups had been offered the opportunity to make a presentation to the Committee focusing on those aspects of the RPA for which responsibility falls to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
The Committee gave further consideration to the motion for a ‘take note’ debate on its First Report Workplace 2010 and the Location of Public Sector Jobs, and the response to the Report by DFP.
Agreed: that the following revised motion will be tabled in the Business Office:
‘That this Assembly takes note of the first Report of the Committee for Finance and Personnel on Workplace 2010 and the Location of Public Sector Jobs, and the response to the Report by the Department of Finance and Personnel.’
The Committee also considered a draft special report titled Workplace 2010 and Location of Public Sector Jobs: Department of Finance and Personnel’s Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2006-07.
Agreed: the prefatory pages of the report.
Agreed: paragraphs 1 – 42, which reproduced the DFP Response.
Agreed: that the special report will be the First Report of the Committee for Finance and Personnel to the Assembly in the Session 2007/08.
The Committee noted advice from the Speaker’s Office regarding the publication of reports in advance of plenary debates.
Agreed: that the special report on the DFP Response should be embargoed until the start of the plenary debate.
Members noted that, following consultation with DFP, 8 th or 9 th October 2007 had been identified as being convenient for plenary debate.
Agreed: that the Business Office will be advised that 8 th or 9 th October 2007 are the Committee’s preferred dates for the debate.
Ms McCann joined the meeting at 10.15am.
Members were advised of the details of the forthcoming seminar on the Assembly’s role in the annual budget process, which is being hosted by the Committee on 17 September 2007. Members were also advised that, to avoid disruption to prearranged party meetings, the whips may wish to send party representatives along as they see fit.
Review of Rating Issues: Domestic Rates, Rates Relief for Small Businesses and Industrial Derating
Assembly Research provided background briefing to the Committee on the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme.
Agreed: that Assembly Research will follow up on a number of issues raised by members.
The Committee was briefed by Brian McClure and Patrick Neeson, DFP Rating Policy Division, on Domestic Rates, Rates Relief for Small Businesses and Industrial Derating.
Mr McClure advised members that the forthcoming consultation report on the review of the Domestic Rating System will be made available to the Committee for its consideration by 26 th September 2007.
Members were advised that in relation to Industrial Derating, the ERINI report is due to be received by DFP at the end of September. However, DFP will need to carry out its own analysis of this report and update the Committee by October/November. It is envisaged that the Executive will make any decisions before Christmas to allow for subordinate legislation to be in place for April 2008.
Mr McClure referred to the Minister’s letter of 6 July 2007 asking for the Committee’s views on the draft terms of reference on the review of rate relief for small businesses in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: response to the Minister regarding DFP’s draft terms of reference in respect of the review of rate relief for small businesses.
DFP Briefing on forthcoming Presumption of Death Bill
The Committee was briefed by Neil Lambe and Clare Irvine, Principal Legal Officers from the Departmental Solicitor’s Office, on the forthcoming Presumption of Death Bill.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 11.04am.
Agreed: that the Departmental Solicitor’s Office will follow up on a number of issues raised by Committee members.
Members noted the following correspondence:
– Irish Airlines Pilots’ Association, request to meet the Committee;
Agreed: draft response.
– DFP: Annual Report of Progress on the implementation of the Equality Scheme;
– Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister; Sustainable Development Strategy.
Agreed: that further information will be sought from DFP on its responsibilities for implementing action points and targets in respect of the Sustainable Development Strategy
Committee Work Programme
Members considered the Committee work programme until Christmas recess and noted the following:
- the briefing on Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill has been moved from 26 September to 3 October;
- the briefing on EU Structural Funds has been brought forward from 26 September to 19 September;
- the briefing on the work of the Special European Union Programmes Body has been brought forward from 24 October to 26 September; and
- Minister’s briefing on the draft Budget has been moved from 7 November to 14 November.
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 11.45am.
Agreed: that the work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Any Other Business
The Chairperson advised members that he has accepted an invitation to attend a lunch with the members of the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee on 15 October in the Stormont Hotel.
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 19 September 2007 at 10.00am in Room 152 Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at11.48am.
Mitchel McLaughlin, Chairperson,
Committee for Finance and Personnel.
19 September 2007