COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2008
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
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)
Jennifer McCann MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.04 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings 23 January 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Following a request for clarification from Mr Beggs, it was agreed that the briefing paper from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) on Workplace 2010 will be treated as confidential.
Agreed: that the evidence from DFP officials on the Spring Supplementary Estimates and Vote on Account will be recorded by Hansard and that the finalised transcript will be published on the Assembly’s website.
Members noted the outstanding requests for information from DFP.
Members considered an invitation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) to an event to discuss the next steps following publication of the Varney Report.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 10.10 am.
Agreed: that Dr Farry, Mr Hamilton, Mr McLaughlin, Ms Purvis and Mr Storey will attend, and that the ICAI will be asked to brief the Committee following its evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster.
Members considered an invitation to make a submission to the Varney Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland.
Agreed: that, as the main issues to be covered fall outside the Committee’s remit, the Committee will not make a formal submission, but will continue to focus on its scrutiny of DFP’s co-ordinating role in relation to the Review. In this regard, the Committee noted that a further response from DFP to issues raised by the Committee will be considered at the next meeting.
Members noted DFP’s response in relation to the Department for Social Development’s regeneration proposal for the ‘Village’ area of South Belfast.
Agreed: that the response will be forwarded to the Committee for Social Development.
Members considered further correspondence from the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA), accepting the Committee’s invitation to brief members on the Clare House evaluation report. Members noted a synopsis of issues raised by NIPSA in relation to Clare House and a further offer that NIPSA representatives could be available to brief the Committee during today’s meeting.
Agreed: that the Committee will be briefed by NIPSA once the evaluation report has been made public.
Assembly Research Briefing on the Review of Public Sector Jobs Location
The Committee received an oral briefing from Jodie Carson, Assembly Research.
Agreed: that a further research paper will be prepared to cover issues raised by members.
Members considered whether the Committee should explore the possibility of fact-finding visits to inform members of experience elsewhere in relation to the relocation of public sector jobs.
Agreed: that whilst the option of fact-finding visits should be kept open, the Committee’s initial approach will be to invite the relevant officials from other jurisdictions to brief the Committee in Parliament Buildings.
Update on the Work of the Review Panel on Public Sector Jobs Location
The Committee was briefed by Professor Sir George Bain, Chairperson of the Review Panel.
Agreed: that further briefings from the Review Panel will be scheduled prior to the Panel’s Report in the summer.
Agreed: that the Assembly Research paper on the Review of Public Sector Jobs Location will be forwarded to DFP and published on the Assembly’s website.
The meeting was suspended at 12 noon to enable the Committee to tour the Clare House facilities.
The meeting resumed at 1.08pm in closed session.
DFP Update on Workplace 2010 Implementation and Response to NISRA Report on Clare House Evaluation
The Committee was briefed by Chris Thompson, Director of Corporate Services Group, DFP; Olive Maybin, Communications Manager, DFP; and Mark Bailey, HR Manager, Workplace 2010, DFP.
Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 1.23pm.
Ms Purvis left the meeting at 1.29pm.
The meeting continued in open session at 2.22 pm.
DFP Evidence Session on Spring Supplementary Estimates and Vote on Account
The Committee took evidence from Michael Daly and Agnes Lennon, Central Expenditure Division, DFP. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Members noted that a motion will be put to the Committee for consideration at the next meeting in relation to accelerated passage for the forthcoming Budget Bill.
Members considered the following correspondence:
- DFP - SL1 on the draft Energy Performance of Building (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008;
Agreed: that officials will be called to brief the Committee on the proposed Statutory Rule;
- Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development – Analysis of Forkhill Draft Business Case;
Agreed: that the request will be forwarded to DFP;
- Audit Committee – Appointment of Auditors to the Northern Ireland Audit Office;
Agreed: that the request will be forwarded to DFP;
- Coalition of Aid and Development Agencies - Submission on Draft Programme for Government;
Mr O’Loan and Mr Hamilton declared an interest as members of the Assembly All-Party Group on International Development.
Agreed: draft response for issue and that the submission will be forwarded to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister;
- Invitation to the Official Launch of Account NI;
Agreed: that this will be included on next week’s agenda for consideration;
- DFP response to the Committee’s follow-up queries on the Department’s input to the Draft Programme for Government and its Draft Budget allocation.
Committee Work Programme
Members considered the updated Committee work programme until Easter recess.
It was noted that the Committee Stage of the Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill will begin on 5 March 2008 and that a DFP briefing on the potential gap between PEACE II and PEACE III funding had been scheduled for 13 February 2008.
Agreed: that the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action will be asked to brief the Committee on the issue of PEACE funding, prior to the DFP briefing on 13 February and that the briefings from Land and Property Services and Land Registers will be put back to facilitate this.
Agreed: that the revised work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Any Other Business
Members noted a DFP press release in relation to HRConnect.
Agreed: that details of the key dates in the budget process will be requested from DFP.
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 6 February 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 2.50 pm.