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Ms Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Mr David McNarry MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Mr Paul Frew MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA
Mr Daithi McKay MLA
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Mr Declan O’Loan MLA
Ms Dawn Purvis MLA

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

Mr Paul Girvan MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.04 am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 29 September 2010

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

Agreed: that the evidence sessions at Agenda items 4, 5 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.

Budget 2010 Process

Members discussed ways in which they could begin to proactively explore issues relating Budget 2010.

Agreed: to invite evidence from a number of economists/specialists on strategic and cross-cutting public finance issues, which will inform the Committee’s deliberations. Further consideration will be given to the individuals to be invited, the areas of focus and the possibility of commissioning separate research and briefing on these areas.

Electrical Standards

Members noted correspondence from the Chairperson to the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee regarding issues raised by the Northern Ireland Electrical Standards Group (NIESLG); and noted that the correspondence had also been copied to NIELSG.

Mr Hamilton joined the meeting 10.09am.

4. Construction Industry and Public Sector Expenditure: Construction Employers Federation – Evidence Session

The Committee held took evidence from the following witnesses from the Construction Employers Federation (CEF): Mr Ciarán Fox, Federation Manager; and Mr Nigel Lucas, Federation Manager. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Ms Purvis joined the meeting at 10.34am.

Dr Farry joined the meeting at 10.44am.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 10.52am.

Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 11.00am

Ms Purvis left the meeting at 11.15am.

Mr Frew left the meeting at 11.22am.

Agreed: that CEF will provide the Committee with further information on a number of issues raised during the session.

Agreed: that the Chair and Deputy Chair will seek an urgent, informal meeting with the Minister of Finance and Personnel to discuss issues regarding the Aggregates Levy.

Ms Purvis returned to the meeting at 11.27am.

5. Industrial Derating: DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Mrs Veronica Holland, Rating Policy Division; Mr Andrew McAvoy, Rating Policy Division; and Ms Tracey Ayre, Rating Policy Division. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr Frew returned to the meeting at 11.43am.

Agreed: that the Committee will defer its decision on whether to support the DFP proposal to extend the industrial derating scheme, until it receives the follow up information requested from the Departmental officials during the evidence session.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 12.00pm.

6. Preliminary Inquiry into Public Sector Efficiencies: Departmental Response to Inquiry Report – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Mr Richard Pengelly, Public Spending Director; and Mr Shane Murphy, Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12.02pm.

Mr McKay left the meeting at 12.20pm.

Mr Frew left the meeting at 12.22pm.

Mr Frew returned to the meeting at 12.30pm.

Mr McKay returned to the meeting at 12.32pm.

Mr McLaughlin left the meeting at 12.34pm.

Mr McLaughlin returned to the meeting at 12.46pm.

Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide further information to the Committee as requested, including confirmation of which of the Committee’s recommendations the Minister has accepted.

Agreed: that any issues not covered during the evidence session will be forwarded to DFP with a request for a written response.

Agreed: that the forthcoming session with the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) will include consideration of the work of SIB in relation to the Capital Assets Realisation Taskforce.

7. Cost of Insurance in NI – Research Briefing

The Committee received a briefing from Assembly Research on the Cost of Insurance and noted the following associated correspondence:

  • Consumer Council for NI: Proposals for Terms of Reference for an Inquiry into the Insurance Market in Northern Ireland;
  • British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA): Report to the NI Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel on the cost of insurance in NI; and
  • Association of British Insurers (ABI): Follow-up to evidence session on 16 June 2010.

Members also considered a Secretariat Paper on options for the Committee to take forward this cross-cutting issue.

Agreed: that further research will be commissioned to establish an evidence-based case on the cost of insurance in NI.

Ms Purvis left the meeting at 1.07pm.

8. Senior Civil Service Pay Review – Consideration of Committee Response

Members considered the key points arising from the previous DFP evidence on this issue and from written submissions received from independent commentators. Members also noted a written submission and addendum from Mr Victor Hewitt, Director of the Economic Research Institute for NI.

Agreed: that members will forward their views on this matter to the Clerk and that a draft Committee response to the Minister will be considered at next week’s meeting.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following correspondence:

  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI): Delivering Public Services in a Time of Austerity;

Agreed: to invite representatives from CBI to brief the Committee on its report.

  • DFP: Letter from Minister to Chair regarding the Executive’s End Year Flexibility Stock;
  • Department of Education: Education Minister’s reply to Committee for Education regarding Budget 2010;
  • Committee for Regional Development: Independent Investigation Report into the Procurement of the Rathlin Island Ferry: Update from CPD;

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP for a response.

  • DFP: 2010-11 Forecast Outturn Committee Reports .
10. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

Agreed: that the work programme is amended to reflect decisions made today, and that the revised programme is 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 13 October 2010 at 10.00am at Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast.

The meeting ended at 1.13pm.

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

29 September 10 / Menu

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