COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 12 December 2007
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
Jennifer McCann MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
The meeting commenced at 11.00 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings 5 December 2007
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
Agreed: that the Committee’s consideration of its draft Report on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2008 – 2011 will be held in closed session, in line with normal practice.
Agreed: that a private recording will be made of the Committee’s consideration of its draft Report to assist staff in making agreed amendments.
Agreed: that the relevant extract from the draft minutes of today’s proceedings will be checked by the Chairperson and included in the Committee’s Report as ‘unapproved’ minutes.
Members noted the following:
- the composite request for information from DFP; and
- DFP’s response to additional questions following the briefing on public procurement on 28 November 2007.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 11.05 am.
The meeting continued in closed session at 11.05 am.
Mr McCann joined the meeting at 11.08 am.
4. Consideration of Committee’s Draft Report on Draft Budget 2008-2011
Members noted the submission from the Committee for Social Development, which had been summarised in the draft Report. Members were informed that the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety was considering its response tomorrow and will forward the submission once it is agreed. Members noted that the submission will be included as an appendix to the Committee’s Report, provided it was received prior to the deadline for going to print on Wednesday 19 December.
Members noted a response from DFP to the Committee’s query on Northern Ireland Civil Service headcount reductions.
Members considered the Committee’s draft report on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.
Paragraphs 1 – 5 were agreed.
Paragraphs 6 – 8 were agreed.
Paragraphs 9 – 13 were agreed.
Paragraphs 14 – 15 were agreed.
Paragraphs 16 – 18 were agreed.
Paragraph 19 was agreed.
Paragraph 20, in relation to the response from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety was agreed, subject to an amendment which had been tabled. It was also agreed to insert a subsequent paragraph to read as follows: ‘The Committee considers that the tight timetable for statutory committees to scrutinise the budget allocations of their respective departments was unfortunate. However, the Committee recognises that, on this occasion, there were particular circumstances which contributed to this situation.’
Paragraph 21 was agreed.
Paragraphs 22 – 24 were agreed.
Paragraphs 25 – 28 were agreed.
Paragraphs 29 – 34 were agreed.
Paragraphs 35 – 38 were agreed.
Paragraphs 39 – 43 were agreed.
Paragraphs 44 – 47 were agreed.
Paragraphs 48 – 53 were agreed.
Paragraphs 54 – 57 were agreed.
Paragraphs 58 – 62 were agreed.
Paragraphs 63 – 64 were agreed.
Paragraphs 65 – 66 were agreed.
Paragraphs 67 – 68 were agreed.
Paragraph 69 was agreed subject to minor amendment.
Paragraphs 70 – 74 were agreed.
Paragraphs 75 – 79 were agreed.
Paragraphs 80 – 85 were agreed.
Paragraphs 86 – 92 were agreed.
Paragraphs 93 – 97 were agreed.
Paragraphs 98 – 103 were agreed.
Paragraphs 104 – 108 were agreed.
Paragraphs 109 – 112 were agreed.
Paragraphs 113 – 116 were agreed.
Paragraphs 117 – 120 were agreed.
Paragraphs 121 – 124 were agreed.
Paragraphs 125 – 128 were agreed.
Paragraphs 129 – 131 were agreed.
Paragraphs 132 – 135 were agreed.
Paragraphs 136 – 141 were agreed.
Paragraphs 142 – 146 were agreed.
Paragraphs 147 – 150 were agreed.
Paragraph 151 was agreed, subject to the insertion of an additional sentence at the end of the paragraph to read as follows: ‘The Committee also considers that there would be benefit, in terms of transparency and scrutiny, from fuller and more standardised information on departments’ bids and their outcomes being published as part of the draft Budget process.’
Paragraphs 152 – 153 were agreed.
Paragraphs 154 – 157 were agreed.
Paragraphs 158 – 161 were agreed.
Paragraphs 162 – 166 were agreed.
Paragraph 167 was agreed subject to minor amendment.
Paragraph 168 was agreed subject to an amendment to reflect DFP’s clarification on the Fit for Purpose headcount reductions.
Paragraphs 169 – 173 were agreed.
Paragraphs 174 – 178 were agreed.
Paragraphs 179 – 181 were agreed.
Paragraph 182 was agreed as amended.
Paragraphs 183 – 186 were agreed.
Paragraphs 187 – 190 were agreed.
Paragraphs 191 – 194 were agreed.
Paragraphs 195 – 199 were agreed.
Paragraphs 200 – 204 were agreed.
Agreed: that the executive summary, as amended, stands part of the report.
Agreed: that the appendices stand part of the report.
Agreed: that the Report, as amended, be the Third Report of the Committee for Finance and Personnel to the Assembly for session 2007/08.
The meeting continued in open session at 12.22 pm.
Members noted the following correspondence:
- DFP press releases;
- Consumer Council: research report on Getting Through to Government;
- DFP: questionnaire for the Northern Ireland Data Protection Review;
- DFP: SL1 on the New NAV List (Time of Valuation) (Order) (NI) 2008;
- Agreed: that the Committee was content with the policy implications of the proposed statutory rule at this stage;
- DFP: response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister’s Inquiry into Child Poverty.
6. Draft Press Release
Members considered a draft press release on the Committee’s Report on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2008 – 2011.
Agreed: that the press release will be issued on Monday 7 January 2008 and embargoed until the following day.
7. Committee Work Programme
Members considered an initial work programme for January 2008. Members noted that the NISRA briefing on the evaluation of Clare House had now been scheduled for 16 January and that the DFP briefing on the Varney Report and the Draft Regional Economic Strategy had been brought forward to 9 January 2008, subject to the Report being released.
Agreed: that the Committee’s visit to Clare House will be postponed until 23 January to enable the Committee to be briefed in advance on the NISRA evaluation.
Agreed: that the updated work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
8. Any Other Business
9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.32 pm.
Mitchel McLaughlin, Chairperson,
Committee for Finance and Personnel.
9 January 2008