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Ms Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Mr David McNarry MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Mr Paul Frew MLA
Mr Paul Girvan 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)

Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.11am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are as recorded above.

Agreed: that the evidence session at Agenda items 5 is recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 8 December 2010

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

3. Matters Arising

Draft Budget

Members noted that the Minister of Finance and Personnel was expected to make a statement on the Draft Budget during today’s plenary session.

Agreed: that the Secretariat will issue a commissioning note to the other statutory committees once a formal announcement on the Draft Budget has been made, allowing them as much time as possible to scrutinise their departments’ budget proposals, while taking into consideration the stages that this Committee must undertake in preparing a co-ordinated report on the Draft Budget by the Executive’s deadline.

Agreed: that the draft motion for the “take note” debate on the draft Budget is laid in the Business Office noting that the requested date may be subject to change, depending on the consultation period for the Draft Budget.

Dr Farry joined the meeting at 10.13am.

Agreed: that the Finance Minister is invited to brief the Committee soon after recess on the Draft Budget, and again, before the end of the budgetary process.

Agreed: to invite the economists, who have given evidence to the Committee on the outcome of the Spending Review 2010 and Budget 2011-15, to provide a written update on any relevant issues once the Draft Budget is published.

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.

Resource DEL: Administrative Cost Controls

Members noted an Assembly Research paper on Resource DEL: Administrative Cost Controls which had been presented at last week’s meeting.

Agreed: to request DFP to provide the breakdown data on administrative and programme expenditure referred to in the research paper.

Agreed: to copy the research paper to the other statutory committees suggesting that they may wish to request the same type of information from their departments as part of their budget scrutiny.

Apartment Developments’ Management Reform Bill: Briefing note from the NI Law Commission

Members considered a briefing note from the NI Law Commission regarding the Apartments Developments’ Management Reform Bill and noted that Alistair Ross MLA had requested a copy of the paper.

Members also noted that Kieran McCarthy MLA no longer intended to move Second Stage of this Private Members Bill.

Agreed: to copy the NI Law Commission paper to Kieran McCarthy MLA and Alistair Ross MLA for information.

4. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered SR 2010 No.382 – The Building (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 and the Seventh Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules, which raised no issues by way of technical scrutiny.

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered SR 2010 No. 382 The Rates (Unoccupied Property) (Prescribed Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 and has no objection to the Rule.

5. DFP Progress on PSA & Business Targets: DFP Evidence Session

Members held an evidence session with the following DFP officials: Mr David Orr, Corporate Services Director, Corporate Services Group and Dr Norman Caven, Chief Executive and Registrar General, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Members noted correspondence from the Department explaining that Mr Richard Pengally, Public Spending Director, Central Finance Group was unable to attend today’s evidence session due to other work commitments.

Mr Girvan joined the meeting at 10.20am.

Dr Farry left the meeting at 10.27am.

Agreed: that any issues outstanding from the evidence session will be followed up in writing.

Members agreed to take agenda item 8 next.

6. Correspondence

The following items of correspondence were noted:

  • Registrar General Northern Ireland Annual Report 2009
  • DFP: Minister’s reply to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) regarding the European Investment Bank
  • DFP: Industrial Derating – Recycling of Manufacturing Rates Revenue

Agreed: to write encouraging DFP to undertake further exploration of the issue, in particular the proposal for a manufacturing skills levy, and liaise with the Department for Employment and Learning and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Agreed: to copy the DFP correspondence to the Committee for Employment and Learning and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for information.

Agreed: that Secretariat staff will give consideration to the most appropriate approach for examining the issues surrounding State Aid and report back to the Committee.

  • DFP: Pensioner Rate Deferment Scheme

Agreed: that the Committee welcomes the update and continues to support this scheme.

  • COFMDFM: Investment Strategy Report
  • Stakeholder Engagement:
    • Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development;
    • Committee for Regional Development;
    • COFMDFM;
    • Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure;
    • Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; and
    • Committee for Social Development.
  • DFP: NI Civil Service Art Collection;
  • DFP: NI Housing Council Report;

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Social Development for information.

  • DFP: North Sea and Channel Regions;
  • Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety: Autism Bill;

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Minister of Finance and Personnel, requesting that the Department’s response is copied to the Committee.

  • DFP: Presbyterian Mutual Society Assistance Package;

Agreed: to copy the correspondence to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for information

  • DFP: Liaison with Economists;

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the economists that raised this issue, offering them an opportunity to respond.

  • DFP: Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Amendment no.2) Scheme (NI) 2010

Members noted a proposal that routine papers – such as invitations, circular press releases and external documents provided for information – be circulated via email before the meeting instead of being included in packs.

Agreed: that this approach is taken forward for a trial period.

Members agreed to take agenda item 6 next and proceed with the remaining items of business in order.

7. Census 2011

The Committee received a briefing on the preparation of Census 2011 from Dr Norman Caven, Chief Executive and Registrar General, NISRA and Robert Beatty, Head of CENSUS, Census Office for Northern Ireland, NISRA.

Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 10.43am.

Agreed: that any issues outstanding would be referred to the Departmental officials in writing.

8. Civil Registration Bill: Proposed Amendments

This evidence session was postponed as, in line with new arrangements, the Department has written to the Attorney General for his views on the legislative competence of the Bill and no reply has been received to date.

9. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme and noted that, due to the Committee’s heavy workload immediately after recess, it will be necessary to hold all day meetings on 12 and 19 January.

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

10. Any Other Business
11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 January 2010 at 10.00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting ended at 10.58am.

Jennifer McCann, Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
12 January 2011

08 December 10 / Menu

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