COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
11 NOVEMBER 2009
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Fra McCann MLA
David McNarry MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Ian Paisley Jr MLA
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Karen Jardine (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Kathy O’Hanlon (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
David McKee (Clerical Supervisor)
Kevin Marks (Clerical Officer)
The meeting commenced at 10.09 am in open session.
Dr. Farry joined the meeting at 10.10 am.
Peter Weir MLA (Deputy Chairperson), Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Adrian McQuillan MLA, Dawn Purvis MLA
Agreed: that the evidence session from Victor Hewitt, Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) on Efficiency Savings will be recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 4 November 2009
Agreed: that the minutes be published on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
The Committee noted the composite request for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.
4. Consideration of DFP Performance to Date Against DFP Business Plan 2009/10
Members considered a DFP tabular report outlining Departmental progress against targets up to 30 September 2009 and a Secretariat paper highlighting key issues arising from the submission.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to DFP officials outlining issues discussed and requesting that these be addressed in an updated submission prior to the oral evidence session on 2 December 2009. This will include a request for an explanation of an identified high risk of overspend within the Department in 2009/10.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- Assembly Executive and Review Committee: Letter to Finance Minister regarding Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters;
- Committee for the Environment: Procurement methods used by the Department of the Environment’s Local Government Division to appoint consultants or agencies;
Agreed: to forward the correspondence to Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) seeking clarification on policies and processes across the board on the appointment of consultants or agencies; and, to include the correspondence in the evidence for the ongoing Public Procurement Inquiry.
- Public Accounts Committee (PAC): Composite Reports on Public Procurement;
Agreed: to include the correspondence from PAC in the Public Procurement Inquiry evidence relating to litigation issues.
- Consumer Council: Follow up to session on 7 October 2009;
- Consumer Council: Further update on insurance issues 10 November 2009;
Agreed: to inform the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) of this Committee’s interest in the cost of insurance, noting that OFMDFM is undertaking to work with the Consumer Council on this issue and, requesting that the Committee is kept informed of progress. This correspondence will be issued through the Committee for OFMDFM.
- Committee for Social Development: Empty Homes Strategy Action Plan Update;
- Chairperson’s Liaison Group: Note of key issues from 20 October 2009;
- George Simpson: Procurement of IT Systems;
Agreed: to forward the correspondence to CPD seeking a response to the issues raised; and, to include the correspondence in the evidence for the Public Procurement Inquiry.
- Committee on Procedures: Departmental Performance on Answering Written Questions;
Agreed: to write to the Minister of Finance and Personnel requesting an explanation for his Department’s poor performance in responding to Assembly Questions.
- Committee for Regional Development: Post Project Evaluations;
- Committee for OFMDFM: Cost of insurance in NI;
- Committee for OFMDFM: European Investment Bank-Access to Funding;
Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Minister of Finance and Personnel
- NI Civil Servant: NI Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) Equal Pay Update;
- NIPSA HQ: Equal Pay Update;
Agreed: to write to the Minister of Finance and Personnel requesting details of any formal offer of a settlement to the Equal Pay claims as soon as this has been approved.
- DFP: Special EU Programmes Body Annual Report 2008;
Agreed: to invite representatives of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) to brief the Committee on the Annual Report and on its performance, including in respect of the delivery of INTERREG IVA.
- DFP: Christmas Invitation from Minister;
Agreed: that Members will respond individually to the invitation.
- Draft Committee for Finance and Personnel response to NI Statistical and Research Agency’s Multiple Deprivation Measure Consultation;
Agreed: to forward the Committee response to DFP along with responses from other statutory committees.
- Committee for Regional Development: Response to consultation on the revised NI Multiple Deprivation Measures;
Agreed: to forward this response to DFP.
- Committee for Regional Development: Sustainable Transport Inquiry;
Agreed: to seek a view from DFP on the issues raised in the correspondence.
- Derry City Council: Rates Estimates 2010/11 Equality Impact Assessment.
Mr Paisley Jr joined the meeting at 10.26am.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10.27am.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 10.30am.
Mr Paisley Jr left the meeting at 10.31am.
The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 10.42am.
The Chairperson resumed the meeting at 11.33am.
6. Efficiency Savings (Evidence from Specialists)
The Committee took evidence from Victor Hewitt, ERINI.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to Victor Hewitt requesting a response to further questions arising from his briefing.
Mr McCann returned to the meeting at 11.35am.
Mr Paisley Jr returned to the meeting at 11.44am.
Mr Paisley Jr left the meeting at 12.06pm.
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 12.16pm
Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 12.17pm.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12.18pm.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 12.21pm.
Mr O’Loan left the meeting at 12.29pm.
7. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the current draft of the Committee work programme until Christmas recess.
Agreed: that the current draft of the work programme be published on the Assembly website.
8. Any Other Business
Members discussed issues relating to the costs of deferring the introduction of water charges in Northern Ireland. It was noted that the Committee for Regional Development will receive a briefing from DFP officials on this matter.
Agreed: to invite DFP officials to brief the Committee on the costs of deferring the introduction of water charges, as part of its wider scrutiny of strategic financial pressures; and, to request a copy of any briefing material provided by DFP officials to the Committee for Regional Development.
9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 10.00am in Room 135.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.39 pm.