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September Monitoring Round

8 September 2010
Members present for all or part of the proceedings:
Ms Jennifer McCann (Chairperson)

Mr David McNarry (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry
Mr Simon Hamilton
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Declan O’Loan
Ms Dawn Purvis

Ms Deborah McNeilly ) Department of Finance and Personnel
Mr Adrian Doherty )
The Chairperson (Ms J McCann):

I thank Ms McNeilly and Mr Doherty for staying for our discussion on the September monitoring round. I ask you to keep your opening remarks brief; we have other correspondence to cover and we must be out of the room by 1.15 pm.

Ms Deborah McNeilly (Department of Finance and Personnel):

The key issues for the Department in the September monitoring round include, first, the funding of the 2011 census, for which we registered a pressure of £1·9 million. That is the balance of the funding required to run the census next March; we secured £2 million in the June monitoring round.

The second resource pressure identified by the Department, which we touched on briefly earlier, is for the transitional rates relief that is payable to district councils following the change in the cap on domestic properties. This is the final year of the transitional rates relief, and we have had no funding baseline for that relief following the implementation of the legislation.

On the capital front, we have some pressures in enterprise shared services associated with the need to pay the HR Connect milestone, a small portion of which is due this year. We must also improve service delivery in Account NI, which has to keep maintaining its system; we would not have had a baseline for ongoing improvements.

Reclassification requirements continue to be an issue for the Department because transfers from other Departments have come in under other resource and we cannot use those funds unless they are in administration.

Since the paper was sent to the Committee we have continued to review the progress of the various business areas. When we submit our September monitoring return tomorrow I hope that I will be able to reduce the census bid to under £1·5 million, because of some de minimis internal reallocations that I can make. I also expect at this time to identify a capital reduced requirement as a result of the sale of the Stoney Road property, which we touched on during our June monitoring session. We are now able to put forward a reduced requirement in excess of £1·4 million in capital as part of the September monitoring round.

The Chairperson:

I have only one question. When you briefed us on the June monitoring round, you said that an additional £2·2 million in capital could be realised once the sale took place, but the asset was not identified; did that happen?

Ms McNeilly:

Yes. The £1·4 million that we hope to put forward tomorrow as a reduced requirement will have come from that sale. The sale went through at £2·2 million; we are just checking the budgeting treatment to determine what we declare as a reduced requirement. I expect to identify some more to put forward. The property was sold for £2·2 million and we are just clarifying how much of the budgeting treatment we can put back to the centre. I expect the full amount to go back to the centre; I am just not sure into what categories.

The Chairperson:

If no other members have any questions, I will thank you, Deborah and Adrian, for your time. We will probably write to you about some issues that were not brought up today.