ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.06am in public session. 

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that Agenda items 5 and 7 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 6 June 2012

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

3. Matters Arising

Table of Requests for Information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP)

The Committee noted the table of requests for information from DFP which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

Mr Humphrey joined the meeting at 10.06am

The meeting moved into closed session at 10.07am

4. Accelerated Passage for Budget (No. 2) Bill – Procedural and Legal Advice

The Committee received a briefing from Assembly legal services and Assembly research.

Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 10.13am

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 10.23am

Mr Hilditch returned to the meeting at 10.27am

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 10.49am

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 10.49am

Mr Humphrey left the meeting 10.50am

Mr Humphrey returned to the meeting at 10.54am

The meeting moved into open session at 11.08am

5. Main Estimates and Budget (No. 2) Bill – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee held an evidence session with the following DFP officials: Michael Brennan, Head of Central Expenditure Division, Central Finance Group (CFG) and Jeff McGuinness, Central Expenditure Division, CFG.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Minister of Finance and Personnel, which advised that the relevant papers had not been provided for the two previous evidence sessions due to an oversight within the Private Office. Members raised concerns in this regard and in terms of whether the Committee has been consulted appropriately on the Bill to meet the requirements for a decision to grant accelerated passage under standing order 42(2).

As an alternative to deciding on accelerated passage at today’s meeting, the Chairperson outlined a potential option whereby the Committee could call the Minister of Finance and Personnel to appear at its meeting on 20 June to fully explain why the necessary papers were not provided as required. The Committee could defer its decision on whether to grant accelerated passage until after it had heard from the Minister. This option would mean that the Second Stage of the Bill scheduled for 19 June would not be moved. Mr Bradley proposed that this option be agreed by the Committee.  

Mr Girvan proposed an opposing option that the Committee should agree today that the Bill should proceed by the accelerated passage procedure.

Question put: that the Second Stage of the Budget (No. 2) Bill, which is scheduled for Tuesday 19 June, should not be moved, and that the Minister should appear before the Committee on Wednesday 20 June to give a full and plausible explanation of the reasons for the delay in providing the relevant papers. In the intervening period, members will give further consideration to the papers and notify the Committee staff of any additional questions or issues that should be put to DFP. The Committee will defer its decision on whether to grant accelerated passage until its meeting on Wednesday 20 June; and this decision will be taken in light of the evidence session with the Minister and on the basis of whether the Committee is satisfied that there has been appropriate consultation with it on the Bill as required by standing order 42(2).

The Committee divided: Ayes 6; Noes 3; Abstentions 0.

AYES

Mr Murphy, Mr Bradley, Mr Beggs, Mr Cree, Mr Maskey, Mr McLaughlin

NOES

Mr Girvan, Mr Hilditch, Mr Humphrey

ABSTENTIONS

None

As the question was accordingly agreed, Mr Girvan’s opposing proposal was not put to the Committee.

Agreed: a press release for issue, outlining the agreed Committee position on the request for accelerated passage.

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.29pm

6. DFP Briefings: Outcome of Informal Consultation on Strategic Direction for the use of Future EU Funding; and Common European Sales Law

Agreed: that, due to the time constraints arising from the need to schedule Agenda item 5 into today’s business, the evidence sessions at Agenda items 6 and 8 will be postponed until a future date; and that the associated briefing papers will be copied to the other applicable Assembly committees for information.

7. EU Structural Funds – DFP and SEUPB Evidence Session

The Committee held an evidence session with the following witnesses: Maura Young, European Division, CFG, DFP; Martin Tyrrell, European Division, CFG, DFP; Pat Colgan, Chief Executive, Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) and Shaun Henry, Director, SEUPB.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard. 

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 12.37pm

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 12.42pm

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 12.43pm

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 1.07pm

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 1.07pm

Mr Beggs declared an interest as his father is a member of the North East Partnership with involvement in the Gobbins Project.

Agreed: that the witnesses will forward information as requested during the evidence session.

Agreed:  that Mr Maskey will contact Committee staff regarding potential follow-up correspondence to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.  

8. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  • DFP: Report on responses to public consultation on amendments to Scheme for Construction Contracts;
  • Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (ETI): Sustainable Energy Action Plan;

Agreed: to reserve the option of a future evidence session with DFP officials on this matter; and to request an update on the ETI Committee’s scrutiny of the Action Plan.

  • ETI Committee: Invest NI and End of Year Flexibility;

Agreed: to forward to DFP as requested.

  • DFP: Monitoring of Departmental Savings Delivery Plans;

Agreed: to copy to the other Assembly statutory committees for information and to pursue any issues with their respective departments.

  • ETI Committee: European Regional Development Fund and Energy Efficiency;

Agreed: to forward to DFP as requested.

  • DFP: Inquiry into Developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research and Development;

Agreed: to forward to the ETI Committee for information.

  • Social Development Committee regarding SR 2012/215 – The Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007 (Disclosure of Social Security Information) Regulations (NI) 2012 Tab 15; and
  • Public Accounts Committee (PAC): Memo to CFP regarding MOR on Gateway Process.
  • PAC: rate levy inquiry

Agreed: to copy the briefing papers for the Land and Property Service evidence session on 20 June to PAC for information.  

9. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

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

10. Any Other Business

There were no other items of business.

11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 June 2012 at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.22pm

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
20 June 2012

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