MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2007
ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
In Attendance: Alan Patterson (Principal Clerk)
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Fra McCann MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.06 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings 19 September 2007
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
Members noted the outstanding requests for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
Members also noted that at last Monday’s plenary the Minister gave a commitment to bring further information on the review of policy on Public Sector Jobs Location to the Committee in October before going to the Executive.
Agreed: that this will be factored into the Committee’s work programme.
4. Work of Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) – Evidence Session
Agreed: Official Report (Hansard) to be made of the evidence session with SEUPB officials and that this will be published on the Assembly website.
Mr Beggs declared an interest as a member of Carrickfergus Borough Council and as Treasurer, Carrickfergus Neighbourhood Development Group.
Mr Weir declared an interest as a member of North Down Borough Council and as a member of North Down Local Strategy Partnership.
Ms Purvis declared an interest as a board member of Healing Through Remembering.
Mr O’Loan declared an interest as a member of Ballymena Borough Council and as a member of the Community Relations Council.
Mr Storey declared an interest as a member of Ballymoney Borough Council, member of Ballymoney Local Strategy Partnership and as a member of the PEACE II Monitoring Committee.
The Committee received a briefing on the work of SEUPB from the following officials: Pat Colgan, Chief Executive; Adrian McNamee, Director of Managing Authority and Gina McIntyre, Director of Corporate Services.
Agreed: that follow up issues will be sent to SEUPB for a written response.
5. Review of Domestic Rating Reform – Consultation Report – Evidence Session
Agreed: Official Report (Hansard) to be made of the evidence session with DFP officials on the Review of Domestic Rating Reform and that this will be published on the Assembly website.
The Committee was briefed by the following DFP officials: Brian McClure, Head of Rating; Patrick Neeson, Rating Policy Division and Alison McCaffrey, Rating Policy Division on the Review of Domestic Rating – Consultation Report.
Brian McClure outlined the responses received to the consultation on the Review of Domestic Rating Reform. The DFP officials agreed to provide follow up information, including details of the costs and benefits of the various options and on the uptake of existing reliefs.
Members were advised that the Committee needs to agree a formal response on the Review of Domestic Rating by the end of October.
Members were advised that Assembly Research will be providing a paper on international comparators for the meeting on 10 October.
Agreed: that Citizen’s Advice will be invited to give evidence at next week’s Committee meeting.
Agreed: that further consideration will be given at next week’s Committee meeting to agree other witnesses to give evidence on 10th and 17th October, including other umbrella groups, and professional and academic bodies.
6. Briefing from DFP on Budget 2008 and Comprehensive Spending Review
Members were briefed at last week’s meeting on the DFP’s position in respect of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Draft Priorities and Budget 2007. Officials were invited back to this week’s meeting to answer Committee questions.
The Committee was given a recap of last week’s presentation by Jim O’Hagan, Finance Director and Deborah O’Neilly, Assistant Finance Director.
Agreed: that further requests for information will be sent to DFP for a written response.
7. Draft Press Release
Agreed: that the press release will be issued.
Members noted the following correspondence:
– DFP: Sustainable Development Action Plan;
– Request from Capita for a meeting with Committee Chairperson;
– Reply from Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SoLACE);
– DFP: Analysis of Sickness Absence in the NI Departments 2006/07 & NISRA Report;
– Committee for Culture, Arts & Leisure: Libraries Bill;
– Letter from the DFP Minister to the Committee Chairperson: Review of Rate Relief for Small Businesses;
– Letter from the DFP Minister to the Committee Chairperson: Further Education College Lecturer’s Pay Dispute.
Agreed: Response will be forwarded to Committee for Employment and Learning.
9. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the latest draft of the Committee work programme until Christmas recess.
Agreed: that the current draft work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
10. Any Other Business
11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 3 October 2007 at 10.00am in Room 152 Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.00pm.