COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
Minutes of Proceedings
WEDNESDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2008
Room 152, Parliament Buildings
Present: Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Simon Hamilton MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Ian Paisley Jnr MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
In Attendance: Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Chris McCreery (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Jennifer McCann MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.01 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 10 September 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Mr Paisley joined the meeting at 10.02 am.
3. Matters Arising
The Committee noted the outstanding requests for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
The Committee considered additional details requested from DFP on the role of the Lands Tribunal and on the scale of salary increases contained in DFP’s proposal to introduce subordinate legislation under the Lands Tribunal (Salaries) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008.
Agreed: that members were content with the proposed legislation at this stage.
Members noted the budget available to the Committee for specialist advice.
Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.05 am.
Members noted the options available for transport to the Metro Building on 1 October 2008.
Agreed: that members will contact staff by Friday 19 September 2008 to inform them of their preferred option.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- Committee for Regional Development: Request to DFP for progress on the development of a single telephone response number for flooding incidents;
Agreed: that this will be covered in the update on NI Direct already requested and that DFP’s response will be sent to the Committee for Regional Development on receipt;
- Carbon Trust: Making Sense of Renewable Energy Technologies Report;
- DFP: Update on the Review of the 2008-11 Budget Process;
Agreed: that clarification will be sought on when the Review report will be sent to the Committee.
5. Briefing from Minister of Finance and Personnel on Key Ministerial Priorities
The Committee was briefed by the Minister of Finance and Personnel, Nigel Dodds, OBE, MP, MLA; Leo O’Reilly, Permanent Secretary, DFP and Richard Pengelly, Budget Director, DFP.
Mr Beggs declared an interest as a member of Carrickfergus Borough Council.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to the Minister inviting him to meet with the Committee on a quarterly basis, potentially to discuss a particular policy area of interest to the Committee at that time.
Dr Farry left the meeting at 11.02 am.
6. Evidence from DFP on Presumption of Death Bill
Members noted that a public notice will be published in relevant newspapers on 18th September, seeking submissions on the Bill by 15th October 2008 and that staff had contacted directly those organisations which had responded to DFP’s previous consultation.
Agreed: that written submissions received will be forwarded to DFP for consideration and response.
Ms Purvis left the meeting at 11.30 am.
The Committee was briefed by Oswyn Paulin, Departmental Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service, DFP and Neil Lambe, Principal Legal Officer, Civil Law Reform Division, Departmental Solicitor's Office, DFP
Agreed: that officials will attend next week’s meeting to complete the Committee’s initial consideration of the Bill and will provide clarification on issues raised during this week’s briefing.
7. Correspondence (continued)
- DFP: Update on Workplace 2010 Programme;
Agreed: that the Committee will seek an oral briefing from DFP officials;
- Director of Clerking, John Stewart: Letter of appreciation to Committee;
- Committee for Social Development: Letter to Minister of Finance and Personnel on scrutiny role of statutory committees;
Agreed: that this will be forwarded to the Minister as requested;
- DFP: Update on Equal Pay Issue in the Northern Ireland Civil Service;
- Committee for Employment and Learning: Request for DFP officials to brief the Committee;
Agreed: that this will be forwarded to DFP as requested;
- Committee for the Environment: Request for DFP officials to brief the Committee;
Agreed: that this will be forwarded to DFP as requested.
8. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the draft Committee work programme from September 2008.
Agreed: that the representation from the Construction Industry Forum for Northern Ireland to brief the Committee should include a trade union representative.
Members considered a proposal from Mr O’Loan for an independent investigation of Land and Property Services (LPS) and noted that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was currently scrutinising the organisation.
Agreed: that clarification will be sought from PAC on the extent of its scrutiny of LPS and whether, under the existing protocol, this would prevent the Committee from scrutinising LPS in the interim. The Committee will consider Mr O’Loan’s proposal further having received the advice of the PAC.
Agreed: that the work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
9. Any Other Business
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 24 September 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.43 pm.