COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
18 NOVEMBER 2009
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Peter Weir MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
David McNarry MLA
Adrian McQuillan 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)
Fra McCann MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.02 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Mr McLaughlin joined the meeting at 10.02am.
Agreed: that the evidence sessions from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) and Professor Colin Talbot on Efficiency Savings will be recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 11 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.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to the Minister seeking a firm date for completion of the DFP reviews of the Monitoring Round process and the Executive’s Budget process, which have been ongoing for a considerable time and were to be with the Committee before the start of the current Assembly session.
Agreed: that the Committee will seek clarification as to the remit of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee in respect of financial matters relating to the devolution of policing and justice and also to request an update on work being undertaken in this regard.
Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.06am.
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 10.07am.
Mr Paisley Jr joined the meeting at 10.07am.
Mr Paisley Jr left the meeting at 10.08am.
The Committee noted that the Minutes of Evidence from the Committee for Regional Development’s recent briefing by DFP officials on the cost of deferring water charges will be provided for the evidence session on Strategic Financial Pressures, scheduled for 2 December.
Agreed: that the Committee will request DFP to provide a written briefing paper for the evidence session on Strategic Financial Pressures.
4. Efficiency Savings (Evidence from Specialists)
Mr Weir declared an interest as Chairperson of the Audit Committee. Dr Farry declared an interest as a member of the Audit Committee
The Committee took evidence from the following NIAO representatives: Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller & Auditor General; Eddie Bradley, Assistant Comptroller & Auditor General and Brandon McMaster, Director. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 10.10am.
Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 10.14am.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 10.34am.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 10.37am.
Dr Farry left the meeting at 10.42am.
Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 10.47am.
Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.49am.
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 11.10am.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to the NIAO requesting a response to issues arising from the briefing.
Agreed: that the Committee will also ask DFP to consider how the NIAO might play a more proactive role in the development and monitoring of departments’ efficiency delivery plans.
5. Efficiency Savings (Evidence from Specialists)
The Committee took evidence from Professor Colin Talbot from the University of Manchester. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 11.26am.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.29am.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 11.34am.
Dr Farry returned to the meeting at 11.51am.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to Professor Talbot requesting a response to further questions arising from his briefing.
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 12.02pm.
6. Statutory Rule: The Rate Relief (Education, Training and Leaving Care) (Revocation and Savings) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009
The Committee considered SR No. 349 The Rate Relief (Education, Training and Leaving Care) (Revocation and Savings) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009 and the accompanying explanatory memorandum, which had been laid in the Business Office by DFP. The Committee noted the Fifth Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, which raised no issues by way of technical scrutiny.
The Committee noted that it had previously considered this proposal on 7 October 2009 and 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 SR 2009 No.349 The Rate Relief (Education, Training and Leaving Care) (Revocation and Savings) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009, and has no objection to the Rule.
The Committee noted the following correspondence
- DFP: Request for briefing papers on efficiency savings.
Agreed: that copies of written submissions on efficiency savings will be issued to DFP following consideration by the Committee.
- DFP: Response to Evangelical Alliance query on Dormant Accounts Scheme.
- DFP: Civil servants seconded to EU Institutions.
Agreed: that the Committee will forward the response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.
- DFP: Update on Outstanding DFP Post Project Evaluations and information on use of consultants.
Agreed: that the Committee will forward the response to the Public Accounts Committee.
- Northern Ireland Manufacturing: Request to brief Committee on industrial rates.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to remind NI Manufacturing of the Committee’s request of 1 October for a written briefing on industrial rates.
- Committee for OFMDFM: Response to query on statutory authority for expenditure on older people in relation to the Financial Provisions Bill.
- Committee for Regional Development: DFP Performance against 2008/09 PSA Targets.
- Minister of Finance and Personnel: Response to Mr O’Loan on the removal of Clause 4 of the Financial Provisions Bill.
8. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the current draft of the Committee work programme until February 2010.
Agreed: that the Committee will forward an outline of the key themes from the evidence to date on its Inquiry on Public Procurement Practice in NI to Central Procurement Directorate, for consideration in advance of the evidence session on 25 November.
Agreed: that the Committee will request a briefing from DFP officials on progress against the Department’s Efficiency Delivery Plan on 2 December. The Committee also agreed to request that DFP provides a written briefing paper for that evidence session.
Agreed: that the current draft of the work programme be published on the Assembly website.
9. Any Other Business
The Committee noted that a request had been received in the Assembly’s Freedom of Information Unit for all papers and the recording relating to a briefing from the Information Commissioner’s Office, held in open session on 6 May 2009.
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 10.00am in Room 135.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.15pm.