Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Tuesday, 07 May 2013

12.36pm The Chairperson opened the meeting in closed session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 19 March 2013

The minutes of the meeting on 19 March 2013 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Chairpersons noted a paper and briefing from the Clerk in relation to committee correspondence with other departments/ministers.
Agreed: Members considered the recommendations contained within the paper and agreed that, prior to writing to another department/minister, the relevant committee clerk would liaise with clerking colleagues to ensure that the subject matter in question is not under consideration or due to be considered by the lead committee and that any agreed correspondence should be copied to that committee. Equally any response to said correspondence should be copied to the lead committee for information.

12.37pm Ms Lo joined the meeting
12.38pm Ms Ramsey joined the meeting

4. Attorney General participation in proceedings of the Assembly

Chairpersons noted a paper and briefing by Alison Ross, Clerk to the Committee on Procedures, in respect of the Committee's inquiry into the Attorney General's participation in proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

5. Review of Financial Scrutiny

Chairpersons noted a paper by Damien Martin, Clerk Assistant, in respect of the Committee for Finance and Personnel's recommendations to improve financial scrutiny. Damien Martin; Shane McAteer, Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel; and Eileen Regan, Senior Research Officer briefed Members on the progress of the Project Team which has been established to progress the recommendations.

12.50pm Mr Frew joined the meeting
Ms Ramsey expressed her appreciation for the on-going development work through the Politics Plus programme.

6. Roof Project - Update

12.52pm Mr Swann joined the meeting

Chairpersons noted a written briefing by David Lynn, Head of Building Services, on the Parliament Buildings Roof Refurbishment Project.
Mr Stephen Welch, Director of Facilities, briefed the Group on the implications of the project for Members, staff and Committees of the Assembly.
There was some discussion around the possibility of carrying out this work during recess periods and the relocation of staff, should the need arise, to facilitate the work. Members also discussed the possibility of raising awareness of other benefits of the project such as the environmental and socio-economic impacts.

1.12pm Mr Moutray left the meeting

7. Committee Review Group

Members noted a briefing paper by the Chairperson, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Committee Review Group, in respect of the establishment and work of the CRG.
Gareth McGrath, Director of Clerking, updated Members on the work of the Group.

Agreed: Members noted the progress of CRG to date and agreed that no substitution procedures were required for the remaining three meetings of the Group.

8. Staffing Update

Damien Martin, Clerk Assistant, updated Members on the recent staff changes.

9. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: Members noted, and agreed, a draft forward work programme for the Chairpersons' Liaison Group.

10. Any other business

Programme for Government
Chairpersons noted tabled correspondence between the First and deputy First Minister and Mr Chris Lyttle MLA in respect of the delivery and monitoring of the Programme for Government. Members noted that Committee Clerks had been consulted on the matter and had indicated that they were broadly satisfied that Departments were providing the information requested by Committees on PfG delivery.

Agreed: Members agreed that the Clerk to the Group would liaise with Mr Lyttle in respect of the consultation with Clerks to establish whether any further action was required.

Committee Pilot
Damien Martin, Clerk Assistant, briefed Members on the Committee Team Pilot which had been proposed by the Business Efficiency Project and would include a proposal to create a Senior Assistant Clerk position. Chairpersons noted the Committees which would be included in the initial pilot.

Strategic Planning for Committees
Mr Martin asked Chairpersons to consider a proposal for a planning week for Committees at the beginning of the new session which would seek to assist committees in developing strategic forward work programmes.
Agreed: Members agreed that a paper examining the proposal would be prepared for the next meeting of the Group.

1.32pm Mr Frew left the meeting

Communications with Europe
Members noted Mr McGlone's concern in relation to the delivery of information by Departments in relation to European issues. Ms Dunwoody, Clerk Assistant, updated Members on the on-going work of the EU Scrutiny project and agreed to discuss the matter further with Mr McGlone.

11. Date, time and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the Liaison Group is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 18 June 2013 at 12.30pm in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

1.35pm The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

Mr Alex Maskey, Chairperson
18 June 2013

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