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Mr David McNarry MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Mr Paul Frew MLA
Mr Paul Girvan MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA
Mr Daithí McKay MLA
Mr Adrian McQuillan MLA
Mr Declan O’Loan MLA
Ms Dawn Purvis MLA

In Attendance:
Mr Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Miss Karen Jardine (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Kathy O’Hanlon (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Jim Nulty (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Dominic O’Farrell (Clerical Officer)

Ms Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.07am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are as recorded above.

Agreed: that the evidence sessions at Agenda items 4 and 5 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Reports published on the website.

Members noted the declaration of interest for Mr Girvan as recorded in the Register of Members’ Interests.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 24 November 2010

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

Mr Girvan joined the meeting at 10. 09am.

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.

European Issues

Members considered a draft Committee response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) request for an update report of activity on European Issues.

Agreed: that the correspondence be forwarded to COFMDFM.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10.11am.

4. Spending Review and Budget 2011-2015

The Committee took evidence from the following witnesses: Mr Victor Hewitt, Director, Economic Research Institute of NI; and Mr John Simpson, Economist.

Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.20am.

Ms Purvis joined the meeting at 10.32am.

Dr Farry left the meeting at 10.40am.

Dr Farry returned to the meeting at 10.41am.

Mr McKay joined the meeting at 10.58am.

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 10.59am.

Agreed: that, as part of its response to the Draft Budget, the Committee will consider how the Assembly and Executive could best utilise independent economic expertise.

Agreed: that the witnesses will provide further information to the Committee as necessary.

Mr Frew left the meeting at 11.28am.

5. December Monitoring Round

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Deborah McNeilly, Finance Director, Finance Branch, Corporate Services Group and Brigitte Worth, Finance Branch, Corporate Services Group.

Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide further information to the Committee as requested.

Mr Frew returned to the meeting at 11. 30am.

6. Correspondence

The following items of correspondence were noted:

  • COFMDFM: Briefing by Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) Officials - Copy of Hansard transcripts;
  • COFMDFM: The Role and Work of the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels;
  • COFMDFM: Child Poverty Strategy;

Agreed: to forward the consultation paper to DFP for comment on the issues raised and also to ask for information on the role of DFP in implementing the strategy and the anticipated budgetary implications.

  • DFP: Stakeholder Engagement;
  • DFP: £18bn Long-Term Investment Strategy;
  • DFP: Preparations for Budget 2011-2015;
  • DFP: Press release “Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Northern Ireland Departments 2009/2010”;
  • DFP: Press release “Wilson Concerned about Sickness Absence in Civil Service”;
  • Committee for Regional Development: Public Transport Reform Outline Business Case;

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

  • DFP: Provisional Outturn Forecast;
  • DFP: Support for Carers

Agreed: to issue the draft press release welcoming the planned increase in rates relief for carers and the detailed consideration the Minister of Finance and Personnel has given to this issue, following representations by the Committee.

7. Committee Work Programme

DFP – Corporate HR Evidence Session

The Committee considered correspondence from DFP regarding the evidence session scheduled for next week on strategic Human Resource issues, including Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Sickness Absence.

Agreed: that the evidence session be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity and that DFP officials be asked to also update the Committee on the recently reported shortfall in NICS pensions.

Agreed: that the work programme is published on the Assembly website.

8. Any Other Business

Agreed: to request an update from DFP on the implementation of outstanding aspects of the Equal Pay settlement and a reported delay in the implementation of the 2009 Pay Award; and to raise related issues with the Minister of Justice, through the Committee for Justice, if appropriate.

9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 8 December 2010 at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting ended at 11.47am.

Jennifer McCann, Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
8 December 2010

24 November 10 / Menu

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