Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened at 11.03 a.m. in public session

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 22 November 2011.

3. Matters Arising          

No matters were raised.

4. Correspondence

The Committee considered correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Justice enclosing the Departments’ draft consultation on the governance and accountability of the Public Prosecution Service.

11.04 am Mr Givan joined the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

5. Review of Parts III and IV of the Northern Ireland Act

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the purpose of this agenda item was for the Committee to consider and agree its priorities in relation to its immediate Review of Parts III and IV of the Northern Ireland Act and to receive a further briefing from Assembly Research and Information Service on the subject of the structure of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the electoral systems for the Scottich Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

11.07 am         Mr Dickson joined the meeting.

11.09 am         Mr Campbell joined the meeting.

11.15 am         Mr Hamilton joined the meeting.

11.19 am         Mr Hamilton left the meeting.

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the papers before the Committee, highlighting the responses received from Political Parties represented on the Committee and correspondence from the Green Party and the Traditional Unionsit Voice.

The Chairperson invited the Deputy Chairperson to give an oral presentation on his Party’s viewpoint of the priorities for immediate review.  The deputy Chairperson set out his Party’s viewpoint and undertook to follow this up with a paper to Committee.

The Chairperson advised Members that there would appear to be some level of agreement that the Committee reviews the area of the size of the Assembly and the number of Northern Ireland departments.

A Member raised that the issue of coterminous Assembly and Westminster constituencies should also be included within the scope of the review

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Committee Secretariat should draft a proposed work plan of a review in this area for Committee consideration at a future meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek legal advice relating to this area – such as matters relating to a reduction in the number of MLAs.

Agreed: The Committee agree to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister to clarify what work is being done or planned for 2012 in relation to a reduction in the number of Government departments post-2015 by OFMDFM and/or the Efficiency Review Panel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to respond to the Green Party and the Traditional Unionist Voice thanking them for their views.

The following representative from the Assembly’s Research and Information Service joined the meeting:

Raymond McCaffrey – Research Officer

The representative briefed the Committee on information requested relating to the structure of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the electoral systems for the Scottich Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

This was followed by a question and answer session.

The Research Officer undertook to clarify some of the points raised by the Committee.          

6. Any Other Business

No items were raised.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee will be held on 31 January 2012, at 11.00 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at  11.49 am

Mr Stephen Moutray
Chairperson, Assembly and Executive Review Committee

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