COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
9 DECEMBER 2009
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Ian Paisley Jr MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Karen Jardine (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Kathy O’Hanlon (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
David McKee (Clerical Supervisor)
Kevin Marks (Clerical Officer)
Peter Weir MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
David McNarry MLA
Fra McCann MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.10am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Agreed: that the evidence session from Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) officials will be recorded by Hansard, and the Official Report published on the website.
Agreed: that, in line with normal convention for considering draft reports relating to Committee inquiries, the Committee will consider the working draft report on the Committee Inquiry into Public Procurement in closed session.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 2 December 2009
Agreed: that the minutes be published on the Assembly website.
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.
4. Dormant Accounts Scheme: Initial briefing on Consultation Responses (DFP Briefing)
The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, and Brenda Shearer, Central Expenditure Division.
The session was recorded by Hansard.
Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide further information as requested by the Committee during the evidence session, including details of the Department’s proposed spending priorities under the Dormant Accounts Scheme.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 10.34am
Mr Paisley Jr joined the meeting at 10.35am.
5. Subordinate Legislation
The Committee considered SR No 369: The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009 and the accompanying explanatory memorandum, which had been laid in the Business Office by DFP. The Committee noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had not yet formally reported on the Rule, but had indicated that it was unlikely any issues would be raised by way of technical scrutiny.
The Committee noted that it had previously considered this proposal on 14 October 2009 and subsequently on 4 November 2009 when members received an oral briefing from DFP officials. At that stage the Committee had agreed that it was content with the policy implications of the proposal.
Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered SR 2009 No.369 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ final report, has no objection to the Rule.
The Committee considered the following proposal from DFP for subordinate legislation: The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2010.
Agreed: that the Committee is content with the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.
The Committee moved into closed session at 10.40am.
6. Public Procurement Policy and Practice in NI: Initial Consideration of Draft Committee Inquiry Report
Members considered a working Draft Report on the Committee’s Inquiry into Public Procurement and discussed correspondence from a member on issues relating to the Inquiry.
Mr Paisley Jr left the meeting at 11.00am.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11.27am.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 11.38am.
Agreed: that the points arising from the initial consideration will be taken forward in further drafting of the Inquiry Report.
The Committee also noted the following correspondence in relation to the Procurement Inquiry:
- DFP: Final Report on the re-accreditation of Centres of Procurement Expertise;
Agreed: that the report is copied to the Public Accounts Committee for information
- Citizens Advice: Committee Inquiry into Procurement for Social Economy Organisations;
Agreed: that the correspondence will be copied to Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) for comment and clarification on the ‘good governance review’ stage of a procurement process and on the role of CPD.
- Assembly Research: Follow-up note Local Government Procurement.
The Committee moved into open session at 11.45am.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- Assembly Research: The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA): Some possible implications for NI and lessons from international experience;
Agreed: that an oral briefing on NAMA will be requested from Assembly Research.
- Assembly & Executive Review Committee: Budgetary Considerations and the Devolution of Policing and Justice;
- Chairperson’s Liaison Group: Note of the key issues from meeting on 24 November 2009;
Agreed: that the Clerk will make enquiries regarding the possibility of making Committee papers available electronically to members in the future.
- NI Manufacturing: Written submission on Industrial Rates;
Agreed: that the correspondence will be copied to DFP for comment.
- DFP: Response from Minister on NI Place Names Project;
- DFP: Response from Minister on European Investment Bank;
- DFP: NI Office Equal Pay Query;
Agreed: that the Committee will request clarification from DFP on the position of retired civil servants in respect of the Equal Pay settlement and an assessment of the potential implications should a case be brought successfully to the Industrial Tribunal.
- Strategic Planning: Presentation Request to DFP Committee re Chicken Litter Incinerator;
Agreed: to reply advising that this issue is outside of the Committee’s remit and may be more appropriate for consideration by the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Committee for the Environment and the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.
8. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the current draft of the Committee work programme until February 2010 and its key priorities until summer recess 2010.
Agreed: that the current draft of the work programme be published on the Assembly website.
Agreed: that officials from the NI Statistics & Research Agency will be invited to brief the Committee on the ‘blueprint document’ on Multiple Deprivation Measures, prior to the publication of the final report.
Agreed: that officials from the Special European Union Programmes Body, together with the DFP officials responsible for EU programmes, will be invited to brief the Committee on 6 January 2010. As a consequence of this, the session with DFP officials on Strategic Financial Pressures will be rescheduled from 6 to 13 January 2010
Agreed: to invite representatives from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy to provide an oral briefing as part of the Committee’s ongoing work on efficiency savings.
Agreed: that DFP officials be invited to brief the Committee on the outcome of the review of the in-year monitoring round process.
Agreed: that the Committee writes to the Minister of Finance and Personnel expressing its disappointment that no date has been set for his officials to complete the Review of the Budget 2008 – 2011 process and inviting him to brief members on the Review at an early opportunity;
Agreed: to proceed with the second stage of the Committee’s three-stage Inquiry into the Role of the Assembly in scrutinising the Executive’s Budget and Expenditure.
Agreed: that DFP officials will be requested to provide an update on Pleural Plaques following developments in other jurisdictions.
Agreed: that a list of additional items of business, as discussed by members, will be scheduled into the Committee work programme for Spring–Summer 2010.
9. Any Other Business
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 6 January 2010 at 10.00am in Room 135.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.13pm.
Chairperson, Committee for Finance and Personnel
6 January 2010