COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
Minutes of Proceedings
Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings
Present: Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Simon Hamilton MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Jennifer 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)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Chris McCreery (Clerical Officer)
The meeting commenced at 10.06 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Agreed: that the evidence sessions on the Civil Registration Bill at Item 4 and with the banking representatives at Item 6 will be recorded by Hansard and the finalised transcripts published on the website.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 7 January 2009
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
The Committee noted the outstanding requests for information from DFP.
Members noted a further response from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) on issues regarding the upcoming Ministerial Statement on the Strategic Stocktake.
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10.10 am.
Mr O’Loan queried why the Committee had not received any information from the Department on the Financial Assistance Bill.
Agreed: that a written briefing will be requested from DFP on the implications of the Financial Assistance Bill for the Department.
Civil Registration Bill Committee Stage: Evidence from the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations
The Committee took evidence from Robert Davison, Honorary Secretary, Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) and Steven Smyrl, Executive Liaison Officer, Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO). The session was recorded by Hansard.
Members were advised that the consideration of issues arising from evidence taken on the Civil Registration Bill has been scheduled for next week.
Mr Paisley Jnr joined the meeting at 10.45 am.
Agreed: that the following will be forwarded to DFP for a written response to any outstanding issues by the end of the week: a copy of the Hansard of the evidence of 28 May 2008 from Departmental officials, the latest briefing paper and statement from CIGO and APGI, the response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and any outstanding issues raised at today’s meeting.
Presumption of Death Bill Committee Stage: Consideration of Draft Report
Members considered the Committee’s draft report on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis, as follows:
Agreed: that paragraphs 1-7 stand part of the Report, subject to a minor amendment.
Agreed: that paragraphs 8-10 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 11-16 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 17-21 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 22-23 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 24-28 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 29-33 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 34-35 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 36-37 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraphs 38-42 stand part of the Report.
Agreed: that paragraph 43 stands part of the Report, subject to a minor amendment.
Agreed: that the draft Executive Summary 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 2008/09.
Agreed: that the Report be printed.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10.56 am.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 11.01 am.
Members noted that a typescript copy of the Report will issue to DFP by the end of the week, in line with normal protocol. The Report will be published next week and copies issued to all MLAs.
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 of proceedings.
Role of local banks in alleviating the impact of the current economic downturn: Evidence from British Bankers’ Association and local banking representatives
The Committee took evidence from Eric Leenders, Executive Director, British Bankers’ Association; Michael Kidd, Head of Business, Bank of Ireland; Joseph McGowan, Head of Retail Banking, First Trust Bank; Ben Christensen, Head of Business Development and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Northern Bank; Mike Bamber, Chief Executive Retail Markets, Ulster Bank; and Henry Elvin, Head of Business Banking, Ulster Bank. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Weir declared an interest as a customer of the Ulster Bank.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12.01 pm.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 12.06 pm.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 12.36 pm.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 12.45 pm.
Ms McCann left the meeting at 12.49 pm.
Mr McCann left the meeting at 12.52 pm.
Ms McCann returned to the meeting at 1.00 pm.
Mr McCann returned to the meeting at 1.00 pm.
Agreed: that Mr Leenders and Mr Kidd will provide further information to the Committee on issues raised in the evidence session.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- DFP: Response from Minister on efficiency savings and underspend;
- DFP: Response to Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) in relation to the Construction Industry Group;
Agreed: that the information will be forwarded to COFMDFM as requested;
- DFP: Response to Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (CHSSPS) on a Regional Women and Children’s Hospital;
Agreed: that the information will be forwarded to CHSSPS;
- Ian Paisley Jnr: Tax refund for unemployed builders;
Agreed: that the Committee will commission research on this issue;
- DFP: Bonuses to senior civil servants;
Agreed: that further clarification will be requested from DFP on various issues arising from the Department’s correspondence and that a letter will issue to the Department reiterating the Committee’s call for an independent review of the pay arrangements for senior civil servants in Northern Ireland;
Ms McCann raised an issue relating to the process for recovering rate arrears.
Agreed: that clarification will be requested from DFP on the process for the recovery of rate arrears.
Mr O’Loan sought an update on the DFP response regarding the incremental effect of the 2008/09 monitoring rounds on departmental positions, which is to include the reduced requirements and allocations for each Department.
The Clerk advised the Committee that the request for this information was due from the Department on 21 January 2009 but that staff would check if it could be provided sooner.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 1.03 pm.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 1.06 pm.
Mr Paisley Jnr left the meeting at 1.06 pm.
Mr Paisley Jnr returned to the meeting at 1.08 pm.
Committee Work Programme from January 2009
Members considered the current draft of the Committee work programme until summer recess.
Agreed: that the work programme will be published on the website.
Members considered a d raft Committee motion for a ‘take note’ debate on the Strategic Stocktake which is likely to take place on 27 January.
The following motion was agreed: ‘That this Assembly t akes note of the Executive’s budget position for 2009/10 and 2010/11, in the context of the strategic stocktake as conveyed by the Minister of Finance and Personnel in the statement on 19 January 2009.’ In addition, members agreed that the notification to the Business Office should indicate that the debate will require at least two hours.
Any Other Business
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 21 January 2009 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.16 pm.