NI Assembly Banner

Homepage > The Work of the Assembly > Committees > Finance and Personnel > Minutes


Ms Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Mr David McNarry MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Mr Paul Frew MLA
Mr Paul Girvan MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA
Mr Adrian McQuillan MLA
Mr Declan O’Loan MLA

In Attendance:
Mr Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Kathy O’Hanlon (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr David McKee (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Dominic O’Farrell (Clerical Officer)
Mr Gareth Brown (Bursary Student)

Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Ms Dawn Purvis MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.03 am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Mr O’Loan joined the meeting at 10.04am.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 15 September 2010

Agreed: that the minutes are published on the Assembly website.

Agreed: that the evidence sessions at Agenda items 4 and 6 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Reports published on the website.

3. Matters Arising

Composite Request

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.

Concurrent meeting with the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (CETI) on banking issues

Members noted a collection of press cutting regarding the concurrent meeting with CETI on Banking Issues.

Agreed: to hold a further concurrent meeting with CETI on 17 November.

Agreed: to invite the church leaders to provide a written update on any progress that they have made with banking issues in advance of the meeting on 17 November.

Agreed: to request a copy of DFP’s response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Green Paper, Financing a Private Sector Recovery.

Agreed: that the papers from the meeting of 22 September 2010 can be provided to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, subject to the relevant permissions being received.

Members’ attendance at Committee meetings

Members noted that their attendance at Committee meetings from 1 September 2009 to 31 August 2010 will be published on the Assembly website on 29 September.

DFP: Follow up to June 2010 Monitoring Round Session on 15 September 2010

The Committee noted follow-up correspondence from DFP regarding the Outcome of the June 2010 Monitoring Round Session on 15 September 2010.

4. Outcome of September 2010 Monitoring Round – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence on the outcome of the September 2010 Monitoring Round from the following DFP officials: Michael Brennan, Head of Central Expenditure Division, Central Finance Group (CFG); Peter Jakobsen, Central Expenditure Division, CFG; and Deborah McNeilly, Finance Director, Corporate Services Group.

Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.11am.

5. Support for Carers – Assembly Research Briefing

Members received a briefing from Assembly Research on Support for Carers.

Agreed: Mr McNarry will share correspondence regarding the results of a survey by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers with the other Committee members.

Agreed: to request a progress update from DFP on its examination of the practicalities of providing additional support through an uplift in the Carers Premium under the low income rates relief scheme.

Agreed: to request DFP to liaise with other relevant departments, as appropriate, in considering the potential implications of the proposals for a new National Care Service in England on the overall arrangements for supporting carers in NI, including in terms of the consideration being given to uplifting the Carers Premium under the low income rates relief scheme.

Agreed: to recommend that DFP explores the potential use of the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study to generate a sound evidence base to inform future policy on supporting carers through the rating system.

Agreed: to copy the Assembly research paper and briefing note to DFP and to the committees for Social Development and Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10.42am.

6. Construction Contracts (Amendment) Bill Clause-by-Clause Scrutiny

The following DFP officials provided advice to the Committee during this session: Stewart Heaney, Divisional Director, Construction and Advisory Division, Central Procurement Directorate (CPD); and Robin McKelvey, Construction Initiatives Manager, CPD.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 10.47am.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 10.49am.

The Committee undertook its formal clause-by-clause scrutiny of the Construction Contracts (Amendment) Bill as follows:

Long Title

Question: That the Committee is content with the Long Title of the Bill, put and agreed to.

Clause 1 – Requirement for construction contacts to be in writing
Clause 2 – Power to disapply provisions of the 1997 Order
Clause 3 – Adjudicator’s power to make corrections
Clause 4 – Adjudication costs

Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 10.55am.

Clause 5 – Determination of payments due

In response to concerns raised by a number of members, the DFP officials clarified the position regarding the payment of sub-contractors.

Agreed: that DFP correspondence previously considered by the Committee on this issue is provided to Mr Girvan, Mr Frew and Mr McKay.

Clause 6 – Notices relating to payment
Clause 7 – Requirement to pay notified sum
Clause 8 – Suspension of performance for non-payment
Clause 9 – Short title and commencement

Question: that the Committee is content with clauses 1 to 9 put and agreed to.

7. Senior Civil Service (SCS) Pay Review: Consideration of written responses to date

The Committee received a written response from Mr J Simpson on the Review Body on Senior Salaries’ Report on the Review of NI SCS Pay 2010. Members noted that Mr Neil Gibson had apologised that work commitments have prevented him from providing detailed comment on the report.

Agreed: to request information from DFP on the arrangements for determining the pay of civil servants at Permanent Secretary level and above.

Agreed: the Committee will consider further the written responses from independent commentators at its meeting on 6 October before agreeing its position on the Review Report.

8. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following proposal from DFP for subordinate legislation:

  • General Register Office (Fees) Order (NI) 2010

Agreed: to request clarification on why there was no uplift in fees in 2009 and how the assessment of the costs of providing these services are calculated.

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under General Register Office (Fees) Order (NI) 2010 and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

Mr O’Loan left the meeting at 11.12am.

The Committee noted correspondence from DFP regarding Valuation (Telecommunications, Natural Gas and Water) Regulations (NI) 2010, which advised of amendments to the proposal for subordinate legislation, The Valuation (Telecommunications, Electricity and Natural Gas Undertakings) Regulation (NI) 2010, which had previously been considered by the Committee on 17 May 2010.

Mr O’Loan returned to the meeting at 11.14am.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 11.15am.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following correspondence:

  • DFP: Follow up to session on DFP Spending and Savings Plan 2011 – 15;
  • DFP: Reply to Committee for Regional Development regarding Aggregates;
  • Quarry Products Association NI (QPANI): Briefing paper on EU General Court Decision on NI Aggregates Levy and additional correspondence;
  • Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure: Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) art management;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP.
  • Committee for Regional Development: Cycle to Work;
  • DFP: Response to Committee for the Environment on EU Funding;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Committee for the Environment.
  • UK Statistics Authority: Letter from Sir Michael Scholar to Chairperson;
    Agreed: to confirm the Committee’s support for the approach of promoting the production of comparable statistics between jurisdictions where appropriate.
  • DFP: Reply to Committee for Education regarding the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU);
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Education.

Dr Farry joined the meeting at 11.16am.

  • DFP News Release: Wilson Meets Chief Secretary to the Treasury;
  • Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM): EU Communication on the Rights of the Child;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP.
  • QUB: Budgeting for social housing in NI a human rights analysis;
  • DFP: COFMDFM request for officials from DFP;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to COFMDFM.
  • Chairperson’s Liaison Group: Note of key issues from 21 September 2010;
  • DFP: Industrial Derating - Extension of 30% capping for the forthcoming Spending Review period;
    Agreed: to invite DFP officials to give evidence on this issue at the Committee’s meeting on 6 October.
  • DFP: Special European Union Programmes Body’s (SEUPB) coordinating role in EU programmes;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to COFMDFM.
  • DFP: Review of SEUPB Freedom of Information (FOI) procedures;
    Agreed: to copy the response to Mr E Cooke.
  • DFP: Building Regulations Response;
    Agreed: to write to CETI to encourage that it seeks assurance from its Department that the existing regulations provide the necessary safeguards in respect of electrical installation.
    Agreed: to copy the DFP correspondence to both CETI and the NI Electrical Standards Lobby Group.
  • DFP: Public Procurement Action Plan and Centre of Procurement Expertise Re-accreditation response;
  • DFP: Update on the INTERREG IVA Programme;
    Agreed: to copy the correspondence to CETI for information.
  • DFP: Response to Committee Report on its Preliminary Inquiry into Public Sector Efficiencies;
  • COFMDFM: Request for a Briefing from SEUPB.
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP.

10. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

Agreed: to take evidence from the Strategic Investment Board regarding its role in the Investment Strategy.

Agreed: to postpone the Ministerial Briefing to a date when further progress has been made on the development of the Draft Budget. In the meantime, the Committee will proactively explore issues of relevance in this regard.

The Committee considered the request from Gauge NI to brief the Committee on Social Return on Investment.

Agreed: to request a written briefing paper in the first instance.

Agreed: Committee staff will contact members regarding their travel arrangements to Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast for the Committee meeting on 13 October.

Agreed: that the work programme is amended to reflect the decisions made today and published on the Assembly website.

11. Any Other Business

12. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 6 October 2010 at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting ended at 11.39am.

Jennifer McCann, Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
6 October 2010

15 September 10 / Menu

Contact Us           Jobs            Sitemap            Links           Search            RSS Feeds