ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.04am in public session. 

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that consideration of legal advice in relation to Equal Pay is held in closed session in line with normal protocol.

Agreed: that Agenda items 6 and 7 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 23 May 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.

DFP: EU Funding

In follow up to queries raised at last week’s meeting, members considered extracts of previous correspondence from DFP on issues relating to this matter.

Agreed: that members would raise further queries if issues were not adequately addressed in the previous DFP correspondence.

DFP: Land Law

Members noted correspondence from DFP regarding land law proposals and the performance of the Departmental Solicitors Office in providing papers to the Committee.

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 10.06am

The meeting moved into closed session at 10.07am

Equal Pay follow-up

The Committee received a briefing from Assembly Legal Services on the impact that a Supreme Court ruling on the Abdulla v Birmingham City Council case would have in terms of any potential breach of contract or equal pay cases in Northern Ireland.

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 10.12am

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 10.13am

Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.15am

Mr Maskey returned to the meeting at 10.16am

Mr Beggs joined the meeting at 10.24am

The meeting moved into public session at 10.27am

The Committee considered correspondence from DFP in response to issues raised at last week’s meeting.  Members also noted correspondence from a member of the public.

Members considered a draft Committee position, tabled by the Chairperson, on the grievances of the groups excluded from the 2009 Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Equal Pay settlement.

Agreed: the Committee position, as amended, on the grievances of the groups excluded from the 2009 Equal Pay settlement.

Agreed: to update and issue a press release to reflect the Committee’s position.

Agreed: to write to the Minister to convey the Committee position and to copy this letter to stakeholders.

Agreed: that the DFP correspondence of 29 May would be placed on the Committee’s website and copied to the Committee for Justice for information.

4. Departmental Targets 2011-12: Year-end performance against targets – DFP Briefing

The Committee received a briefing from the following DFP officials: Stephen Peover, Permanent Secretary and Colm Doran, Finance Branch.

Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.37am

Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 10.44am

Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 11.02am

Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 11.03am

Agreed: that the Departmental officials will provide written follow up information in response to queries raised during the briefing.

5. DFP Corporate Plan 2012-15 and Operational Plan 2012-13 – DFP Briefing

The Committee received a briefing from the following DFP officials: Stephen Peover, Permanent Secretary and Colm Doran, Finance Branch.

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 11.35am

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 11.40am

Agreed: that the Departmental officials will provide written follow up information in response to queries raised during the briefing.

6. Provisional Outturn 2011-12: DFP and Block Position – 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); Brigitte Worth, Acting Finance Director, Finance Division, Corporate Services Group and Peter Jakobsen, Central Expenditure Division, CFG.

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 11.54am

Mr McLaughlin left the meeting at 12.00am

Mr McLaughlin returned to the meeting at 12.01am

Agreed: that the Departmental officials will provide written follow up information in response to queries raised during the briefing.

7. 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, CFG and Jeff McGuinness, Central Expenditure Division, CFG.

Members raised concerns at the failure of the Department to provide the Estimates and Budget Bill and accompanying briefing paper in time for the session. It was noted that this could have implications for the forthcoming Committee decision on whether to grant accelerated passage to the Budget (No.2) Bill.

Agreed: that the Committee would revisit this subject at next week’s meeting.

8. Flexible Working- Research Briefing

Members received a briefing from bursary student, Aine Gallagher, on flexible working.

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 12.14am

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 12.14am

Agreed: that the Committee would consider draft Terms of Reference for a Committee Inquiry into flexible working at a later date.

The Committee thanked the bursary student for her contribution to supporting the work of the Committee and wished her well for the future.

9. Correspondence

  • Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure: Review of 2013-14 and 2014-15 Budget Allocations;
  • DFP: Dormant Accounts;

Agreed: that follow up queries will be forwarded to the Department for written response.

  • DFP: PfG Delivery Plans;
  • DFP: Bryson Charitable Group – Building Control Fees;

Agreed: that the information will be copied to the Committee for Social Development.

  • Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Report on the Committee’s Inquiry into Developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research and Development.

Agreed: that a view would be sought from DFP on the applicable recommendation within the Report to inform the plenary debate on 11 June 2012.

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 12.40am

The Committee also noted the following routine correspondence which was issued separately prior to the meeting:

  • Construction Materials Sector Report

10. 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.

11. Any Other Business

Agreed: that DFP will be asked to provide a formal written response to the Committee’s recent report on Air Passenger Duty within the normal 8 week timeframe.

Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 12.43am

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 12.44am

12. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 6 June 2012 at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.46pm

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

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