MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2007
ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
In Attendance: Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Fra McCann MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.04 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings 14 November 2007
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
Members discussed the recent loss of data in relation to child benefit claimants, from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
Agreed: that the Minister of Finance and Personnel should be asked to make a statement at the earliest opportunity to address the concerns of those affected in Northern Ireland. A press release to this effect was agreed for issue.
Members noted the following:
- outstanding requests for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP);
- DFP update on the forthcoming report by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency on the Clare House pilot project;
- follow up information from DFP on the terms of reference in respect of the review of policy on location of public sector jobs; and
- further information from DFP regarding Northern Ireland Civil Service reform; the impact of retaining industrial derating; and a Northern Ireland Audit Office research paper on Current Thinking on Managing Attendance.
4. Assembly Research Briefing on Executive Draft Budget
The Committee was briefed by Jodie Carson, Assembly Researcher on the comparative analysis of the Draft Budget 2008-11. In addition, Dr Robert Barry, Senior Assembly Researcher briefed the Committee on a recent inter-parliamentary conference held in Spain on regional fiscal powers.
Agreed: that the research papers will be copied to DFP for information.
5. Evidence Session on Strategic Budget Issues.
Agreed: that a Hansard recording will be made of today’s evidence session from DFP officials on strategic budget issues.
The Committee received oral and written evidence from Leo O’Reilly, 2nd Permanent Secretary and Richard Pengelly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, DFP on the strategic and cross-cutting issues arising from the Draft Budget.
Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.57 am.
Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 11.07 am.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11.34 am.
Mr Beggs left the meeting at 11.45 am.
Mr Beggs joined the meeting at 11.46 am.
Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 11.47 am.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 11.50 am.
Mr Storey joined the meeting at 11.52 am.
Agreed: that follow up questions on strategic budget issues will be sent to DFP for written response.
6. Consideration of The Administration of Estates (Rights of Surviving Spouse or Civil Partner) Order (NI) 2007
The Committee had previously considered the Department’s proposals for this statutory rule and had been briefed by departmental officials. A number of issues had been raised with the Department on 4 July 2007 and the Committee was content that these were addressed.
The statutory rule had been included in the Fifth Report of Session 2007/08 by the Examiner of Statutory Rules and no issues were raised from the Examiner’s technical scrutiny.
Question put and agreed: ‘That the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered The Administration of Estates (Rights of Surviving Spouse or Civil Partner) order (NI) 2007 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly’.
7. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the updated Committee work programme until Christmas recess.
Agreed: that the updated work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Members noted the following correspondence:
- Minister of Finance and Personnel: Executive Review of Domestic Rates. It was noted that this paper was embargoed until after the Executive meeting on 22 November 2007;
- Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) (Amendment No 3) Scheme (Northern Ireland). Members raised no comments;
- DFP - Forthcoming Statutory Rules; and
- Department’s response to issues relating to the DFP Draft Budget, capital allocations for the Land and Property Services and the Department’s Efficiency Plan.
9. Any Other Business
Members considered a working draft of the Committee’s response to the Committee of First Minister Deputy First Minister (COFMDFM), which sets out the Committee’s views on the Programme for Government and the Investment Strategy.
Agreed: that members are content with the outline response and that this is used as the basis for the Committee contribution to the take note debate on the Programme for Government and the Investment Strategy on Monday 26 November 2007.
Ms Purvis drew members’ attention to a recent media report concerning the Strategic Investment Board (SIB).
Agreed: that COFMDFM will be informed of the issues raised in the recent media report concerning SIB, as this body falls under the auspices of OFMDFM.
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at12.34 pm.