COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 4 June 2008
Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Jennifer McCann 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)
Chris McCreery (Clerical Officer)
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.08 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Agreed: that the evidence session with Sir David Varney will be recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 28 May 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
The Committee noted the outstanding requests for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
In response to a query raised at last week’s meeting, members noted that the Committee had considered DFP’s proposal to introduce the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 on 30 January, and had subsequently been briefed by DFP officials on 6 February, after which the Committee agreed that it was content with the policy implications of the proposed statutory rule.
Members noted that the Committee had considered the statutory rule on the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008 at last week’s meeting and, as the Examiner of Statutory Rules had identified several drafting defects, had agreed to defer formal consideration until amending regulations were before the Committee.
The Committee was informed that the additional plenary session scheduled for Thursday 5 June had affected the statutory period for the regulations, which now ended on 10 June, and that the Committee therefore needed to consider the original regulations at today’s meeting. The Committee noted DFP’s commitment to lay amending regulations in the Assembly Business Office by 6 June, which would be in place before the current defective regulations would come into operation on 30 June.
Agreed : that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008 and has no objection to the Rule.
Agreed: that the Committee will seek a written assurance from DFP that all necessary preparations are being made ahead of the introduction of energy performance certificates.
The Committee noted members’ individual biographical details from the Assembly website and that any updates should be sent to the Information Office.
Submission to June Monitoring Round – DFP Briefing
The Committee was briefed by the following DFP officials: Jim O’Hagan, Finance Director; and Deborah McNeilly, Assistant Finance Director.
The DFP officials undertook to ensure that, in future, the Committee will be briefed on DFP’s Monitoring Round position prior to this being submitted to DFP’s Central Finance Group.
Agreed : that DFP officials will respond in writing to issues raised by the Committee.
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education in relation to the Department of Education’s failure to brief the Committee on its Monitoring Round position.
Agreed: that, as requested, the correspondence will be issued to the Minister of Finance and Personnel and that the Committee for Finance and Personnel will also take the opportunity to express its concerns to the Minister in relation to the timing of the DFP briefing.
Agreed: that the other statutory committees will be contacted to determine whether they have experienced similar difficulties in being briefed by their respective departments on their Monitoring Round position.
Budget (No 2) Bill 2008 – Evidence from DFP
The Committee took evidence from Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, DFP. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Members noted a response from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s excess vote for 2006/07.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 10.43 am.
Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel is satisfied that there has been appropriate consultation with it on the public expenditure proposals contained in the Budget (No 2) Bill 2008 and is content to grant accelerated passage to the Bill in accordance with Standing Order 40(2).
Agreed: correspondence to issue to the Speaker notifying him of the Committee’s decision.
Construction Contracts Bill: Policy Consultation – Evidence from DFP
The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Robin McKelvey, Construction Initiatives Branch, Central Procurement Directorate and Gary McCandless, Acting Deputy Director, Central Procurement Directorate. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Outcomes from Reviews of Northern Ireland’s Tax Policy and Competitiveness – Evidence from Sir David Varney
The Committee took evidence from the following: Sir David Varney; Abbie Lloyd, Head of Review Team; and Martin Beck, Economic Advisor, HM Treasury. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 12.32 pm.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety : Request for a meeting with the Minister of Finance and Personnel;
Agreed : that this will issue to the Minister of Finance and Personnel as requested;
- DFP: Response to Committee request for information on Northern Ireland Civil Service inequality back-pay;
Agreed : that DFP will be asked to keep the Committee updated on this issue;
- DFP: Draft Northern Ireland Civil Service Employment Equality and Diversity Plan;
Agreed : that an oral briefing from DFP on this issue will be scheduled in the Committee work programme;
- DFP: Response to issues raised by the Committee on PEACE funding.
Agreed : that an oral briefing from DFP and the Special EU Programmes Body on this issue will be scheduled in the Committee work programme and that the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) will be asked to provide a written submission.
Committee Work Programme
Members considered the latest draft of the Committee work programme for the period up to summer recess.
Agreed : that the latest draft of the programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Any Other Business
The Chairperson referred members to previous correspondence that he had received from the Minister of Finance and Personnel on the Department’s consideration of the outline business case for the Maze/Long Kesh regeneration site.
Agreed : that a written submission will be requested from DFP on the Department’s assessment of the outline business case for the development of the Maze/Long Kesh regeneration site.
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 11 June 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.47 pm.