Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Tuesday, 08 November 2011
Venue: Room 21
1.42pm The meeting opened in public session with four Members present. The agenda items not requiring decisions to be taken were considered first.
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr George Robinson
2. Matters arising from minutes of meeting held on 11 October 2011
The Committee noted a paper from the Clerk in relation to commencement dates for Acts following Royal Assent and how these were determined. There was discussion around legislation from the end of the last mandate that had not yet been enacted.
3. Legislative Consent Motions
The Committee noted that, in line with the usual procedure, the latest draft
(Version 6) of the proposed Standing Order 42A on Legislative Consent Motions would now be submitted to the Legal Services Office. The Committee also noted that a final draft of the proposed Standing Order should be available for consideration at the next meeting scheduled for 13 December 2011.
4. Standing Order 27 – Voting/Divisions
The Chairperson informed Members that, as procedural advice and views had
not yet been received from internal stakeholders, no further information was
available in relation to proposed amendments to Standing Order 27. Members
noted the position.
5. Assembly Questions / Questions for Priority Written Answer
The Committee noted the response from the Speaker’s Office on arrangements
for answering Assembly Questions, which included statistics suggesting that
quantitatively, at least, no misuse of the system for submitting questions for
priority written answer existed.
The Committee also noted that figures, similar to those published in the response from the Speaker’s office, could be provided on a regular basis to allow Members to maintain a watching brief on the matter.
1.47pm Mr Lyttle joined the meeting. (Quorum of five).
The Committee considered correspondence from the Chairperson of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, outling amendments it believed should be made to Standing Orders in light of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (NI) 2011.
Agreed: It was agreed that the Clerk should begin the process of drafting the necessary amendments to Standing Orders in conjunction with the legislative draftsperson.
1.48pm The meeting moved into closed session.
7. Standing Orders regarding Committee for Justice – 49A, 49B and 59
1.50pm Jonathan McMillen from the Assembly Legal Services Office joined the meeting and briefed the Committee on the legal advice he had provided in relation to the proposed amendments to Standing Orders 49A, 49B and 59.
Agreed: The Committee agreed the motion to amend Standing Order 49A.
The Committee agreed the motion to amend Standing Order 49B.
The Committee agreed the motion to amend Standing Order 59.
Agreed: It was agreed that the Clerk should liaise with the Business Office in relation to the scheduling of the motions in Plenary.
1.52pm Mr Clarke joined the meeting.
8. Amendments to Standing Order 65(6) – Suspending a sitting in the case of grave disorder
Jonathan McMillen from the Assembly Legal Services Office briefed the Committee on the revised legal advice he had provided in relation to the proposed amendments to Standing Order 65(6).
Agreed: The Committee agreed the motion to amend Standing Order 65(6).
Agreed: It was agreed that the Clerk should liaise with the Business Office in relation to the scheduling of the motion in Plenary.
The Chairperson thanked Mr McMillen for the briefing.
1.56pm Mr McMillen left the meeting.
1.56pm The meeting moved back into public session.
9. Forward Work Programme
The Committee was content with the Forward Work Programme.
Agreed: It was agreed that from January to June 2012, the Committee would meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 1.30pm.
10. Any other Business
a) Meeting room
The Chairperson advised Members that the Assembly and Executive Review Committee (which meets in Room 21 prior to the Committee on Procedures) was expecting to have longer meetings from January 2012, meaning that it would not be vacating the room in time for the meeting of this Committee.
Agreed: It was agreed that the Committee would meet in Room 144 from January 2012.
b) Hand-held electronic devices
The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to recent developments in Westminster, where a debate on the Procedure Committee report on Use of Hand-held Electronic Devices had resolved that hand-held electronic devices (not laptops) may be used in the Chamber, provided that they are silent and used in a way that does not impair decorum.
Agreed: It was agreed that the use of hand-held electronic devices should be considered by the Committee, and added to the Forward Work Programme for 2012.
c) Topical questions
Mr Lyttle raised the issue of topical questions that are used in other legislatures.
Agreed: It was agreed that consideration should be given to adding the issue of topical questions to the Forward Work Programme.
11. Minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2011
Members agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2011.
12. Date, time and place of next meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting of the Committee would take place on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1.30pm in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.
1.57pm The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.
Chairperson, Committee on Procedures
13 December 2011