Official Report (Hansard)

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Assembly and Executive Review Committee

 

Northern Ireland Act 1998: Review of Parts III and IV

 

Due to time constraints, this report has not been subjected to the usual Hansard editorial process.

 

 The Chairperson: The aim of this session is to allow the Committee to discuss and consider the final draft of the report on our review of the size of the Assembly and the draft motion for debate in the Assembly plenary sitting of the report.

 

I propose that we consider and agree the final text of the draft report, section by section.

 

Are members content with paragraphs 7 to 27 in the "Introduction" section of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Are members content with paragraphs 28 to 38 in the "Committee's Approach to the Review" section of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Are members content with paragraphs 39 to 118 in the "Committee Consideration" section of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Are members content with paragraphs 119 to 136 in the "Conclusions" section of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Are members content with paragraphs 1 to 6 in the "Executive Summary" section of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

 

The Chairperson: Are members content with appendices1 to 6 of the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Members, the final version of the report will be proofread before it is ordered to be printed.  Are members content that the Committee secretariat makes any changes to typos and the format of the report as and when necessary?  These changes will not affect the substance of the report and will be purely for formatting and accuracy of text purposes.

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Members, the extract of Minutes of Proceedings and Minutes of Evidence from today's meeting will have to be included in the report.  Are members content that I, as Chairperson, approve the extract of the minutes of today's meeting for inclusion in the report?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Are members content that the first edition of today's Hansard should be included in the report as there is insufficient time for members to review the transcript and provide comments?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: The Committee secretariat has received requests that the Secretary of State and the First Minister and deputy First Minister would like to receive a copy of the final embargoed report as soon as possible.  Are members content that the Committee secretariat forwards an embargoed electronic version of the report as soon as it becomes available, with an appropriate covering letter from me, as Chairperson, to the Secretary of State and the First Minister and deputy First Minister?

 

Mr McDevitt: Out of courtesy, should we not send it to all party leaders?  I understand that this matter is debated at the party leaders' meetings.

 

Mr Campbell: For the avoidance of doubt and possible dispute in the future, how are we defining "party leaders"?

 

Mr McDevitt: The people who attend the party leaders' meetings.

 

Mr Beggs: Should we be going wider than that?  It is going out to every Assembly Member before very long, so why not give it to all party leaders in the Assembly.

 

The Committee Clerk: For clarification, this is an earlier version.  The printed hard copy will be available to all 108 Members a few days later.

 

Mr Beggs: The electronic version could be forwarded.

 

Mr McDevitt: This is a Committee of the Assembly, not a Committee of the Executive.  Therefore, sending our report to the First Minister and the deputy First Minister, as heads of the Executive, and to the Secretary of State seems to me to be a bit discourteous to the other party leaders in the Assembly.

 

The Committee Clerk: Does the Committee mean party leaders in the Assembly?

 

The Chairperson: Are we agreed on that?  Does that include independent members?

 

Mr Beggs: We should send it to every Assembly Member when it is available.

 

The Committee Clerk: It will be sent to them eventually.

 

The Chairperson: OK, including independent Members.  Are we agreed?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: We now move to the consideration of a draft motion for a debate of the report in an Assembly plenary sitting, which is included in members' packs.  At this point, the Committee secretariat has received an indication that the day for the motion to be debated will be Monday 25 June.  Are members content with the wording of the draft motion for debate in the Assembly plenary sitting?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Finally, are members content that the Committee should order its report on Part I of the review to be printed following today's meeting and that hard copies be kept to a minimum in the interests of efficiency; and are members content that a note be put in the Business Office today, signalling that a manuscript copy of the report will be laid in the Business Office by close tomorrow?

 

Members indicated assent.

 

The Chairperson: Members, I advise you that the report should be returned by the printer and distributed to all MLAs early next week.  It will, of course, be embargoed until the commencement of the debate in plenary sitting, which will hopefully be confirmed today by the Business Office after its meeting this afternoon.

 

Mr Beggs: For clarification:  when the report is complete, will we, as Committee members, get an early electronic version as well?

 

The Committee Clerk: Members — that is the 108 Members — have requested to receive hard copies or electronic versions.  Both versions will be available.

 

The Chairperson: Thank you, members.

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