Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Simon Hamilton MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
David McNarry MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Ian Paisley Jnr MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA

In Attendance:
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
David McKee (Clerical Supervisor)
Chris McCreery (Clerical Officer)

Fra McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.01 am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that the evidence from Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) officials, updating the Committee on the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Equal Pay Claim will be recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 6 May 2009

Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Hamilton for chairing last week’s meeting.

Agreed : that the Committee strongly condemned the recent attacks on Mr McLaughlin’s home and offered both him and his family its full support.

3. Matters Arising

The Committee noted the composite request for information from DFP which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda. The Chairperson stated his continuing concern at the number of outstanding requests.

4. Update on Northern Ireland Civil Service Equal Pay Claim: Evidence from DFP

Mr McNarry joined the meeting at 10.18 am.
Mr Paisley joined the meeting at 10.40 am.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11.00 am.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.08 am.
Ms McCann left the meeting at 11.09 am.
Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 11.15 am.
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 11.16 am.
Ms McCann joined the meeting at 11.16 am.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 11.22 am.

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Leo O'Reilly, Permanent Secretary; Derek Baker, Director, Central Personnel Group and Michael Daly, Central Finance Group. The session was recorded by Hansard.

Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide further information as requested by the Committee during the evidence session.

5. Committee Inquiry into Public Procurement Practice in Northern Ireland: Evidence from Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT)

The Committee took evidence from the following UCIT officials: Brian Howe, Chief Executive and Mark Dougan, Research, Policy and Fundraising Officer. The session was recorded by Hansard.

Dr Farry left the meeting at 12.01 pm.

Agreed: that the UCIT officials will provide further information as requested by the Committee during the evidence session.

Agreed: that a written update will be requested from DFP on progress on taking forward the distribution of monies in Northern Ireland under the new Dormant Accounts legislation.

Members noted a further submission to the Committee’s Inquiry from the Social Economy Network.

Agreed: that the Social Economy Network will be invited to give oral evidence after summer recess.

6. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2009 No. 174: the Whole of Government Accounts (Designation of Bodies) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 and the accompanying explanatory memorandum, which had been laid in the Business Office by DFP.

The Committee noted the relevant Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, which raised no issues by way of technical scrutiny.

The Committee noted that it had previously considered DFP’s proposal to make this Statutory Rule at its meeting on 22 April 2009, when the Committee had agreed that it was content with the policy implications of the proposal at that stage.

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered the Whole of Government Accounts (Designation of Bodies) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 and has no objection to the Rule.

7. Correspondence

The Committee noted the following correspondence:

Dr Farry joined the meeting at 12.22 pm;

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 12.23 pm;

8. Committee Work Programme

Members considered the current draft of the Committee work programme until summer recess. It was noted that the previously scheduled briefings from DFP on the Rates Amendment Bill, Census preparations and progress on the report on public sector jobs location had been postponed as they had not yet been considered by the Executive.

Members noted that, as agreed last week, staff were liaising with Bryson Charitable Group, regarding a possible visit to Bryson House.

The Committee considered a request from DFP to delay a briefing on Departmental performance against targets in the Business Plan for 2008/09.

Agreed: that the session will be postponed until 24 June 2009 as requested.

The Committee considered a DFP response on Departmental submissions to the June 2009 Monitoring Round. It was noted that the deadline for the return of submissions could not be postponed, but that DFP had agreed to bring forward the briefing on its Monitoring Round submission to 27 May 2009, to facilitate the Committee. It was noted that this information had been circulated to the other statutory committees to enable them to engage with their respective departments.

Members considered the arrangements for the potential evidence sessions with representatives of the local building societies, mortgage lenders and the four main local banks.

Agreed : that the organisations will be invited on an individual basis, rather than being accompanied by representatives from the respective umbrella organisations, as this will allow more opportunity to take evidence from a local perspective.

Agreed: that representatives from Nationwide; Progressive; Halifax and Abbey will be invited and that the four main local banks who attended in January 2009 will be invited again.

Agreed: that additional meetings on Wednesday afternoons in the Senate Chamber will be arranged to facilitate these sessions.

The Committee noted a survey, carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD), on the experiences of local businesses on accessing finance from the local banks.

Agreed: that the IoD will be invited to brief the Committee on the survey.

Agreed: that the current draft of the programme will be published on the Assembly website.

9. Any Other Business

Ms Purvis asked for her apologies for the meeting on 1 July 2009 to be recorded.

10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 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.
20 May 2009
06 May 09 / Menu