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NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY
COMMITTEE ON PROCEDURES
Clerk to the Committee:
The meeting commenced at 1.20 p.m.
Mr I Davis, Mr M Morrow.
The minutes of the Committee meeting held on 11 September 2002 were agreed and signed by the Chairperson.
Committee Work Plan
In response to Rev Dr McCrea's suggestion at the last meeting, Members were provided with a calendar detailing dates for future Committee meetings up to March 2003 and likely agendas.
The Chairperson raised the matter of non-attendance at meetings. He emphasised the importance of attendance particularly as the Committee was in the throes of two Inquiries and would be conducting a number of evidence sessions over the coming weeks. He encouraged Members to speak to their colleagues to encourage their attendance. He referred to a particular anomaly within the Committee where a Member who did not have a good record of attendance had been appointed to the Committee on behalf of the smaller parties but had since taken the Whip of another party. Following discussion, the Clerk was instructed to speak to the Member concerned and discuss with him future dates of meetings.
The Chairperson referred Members to the briefing paper which summarised the key findings of the Assembly Questions questionnaire and contained a list of possible questions for the evidence session on 2 October 2002. The Chairperson advised that Sir Reg Empey, the BBC and the Principal Clerk of Business were scheduled to appear. However it was possible that other Ministers could also give evidence. The Chairperson also advised that he had met with the Speaker who had indicated his agreement to give evidence to the Committee on 15 October.
The Chairperson referred Members to the briefing paper on the time period to be included in Standing Orders for the re-run of the D'Hondt procedure if a nominating officer fails to nominate a replacement or the nominated Minister does not take up office.
Members agreed to consult their parties. It was also agreed that the Committee would make a decision on this issue at the next meeting.
The Chairperson referred Members to the briefing paper. The Clerk outlined the issues involved. Following discussion it was agreed that the Chairperson should write to the Commission seeking its views on the following;
Inquiry into Committee Systems and Procedures
The Clerk tabled a preliminary report from researchers of their interviews with Members and Clerks. He advised that a number of Members had still to be interviewed. It was therefore anticipated that the report would be formally presented at the meeting on 15 October 2002.
Visit to Europe 11 - 14 November 2002
Members were asked to confirm their availability for the visit.
The next meeting of the Committee would be held on Wednesday 2 October 2002 to take oral evidence on Assembly Questions
The meeting adjourned at 1.35pm.
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