End of Session Report 09/10

1.0 Remit and Powers

1.1 The Assembly and Executive Review Committee was established as a Standing Committee in May 2007 to review the functions of the Assembly and the Executive Committee as outlined in Section 11 the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006.

1.2 Section 29B of the 1998 Act directs that The Committee is expressly required to consider the operation of section 16A to 16C of the Act.

1.3 The powers of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee are expressed in Standing Order 59 of the Assembly’s Standing Orders. This gives the Committee the power detailed in section 44 (1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;

SO 59 (2) The committee may -

(a) exercise the power in section 44(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;1

44 (1) The Assembly may require any person –
to attend its proceedings for the purpose of giving evidence: or to produce documents in his custody or under his control, relating to any of the matters mentioned in subsection (2).
(2) Those matters are –
Transferred matters concerning Northern Ireland:
Other matters in relation to which statutory functions are exercisable by Ministers or the Northern Ireland departments.

2.0 Membership

2.1 The Assembly and Executive Review Committee has eleven members including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson with a quorum of five. The membership of the Committee is as follows:

Mr Jimmy Spratt (Chairperson) 1

Mr Alex Maskey (Deputy Chairperson) 2,9

Mr Fred Cobain 8

Mr Nigel Dodds 4

Mr Simon Hamilton 3

Mr Danny Kennedy

Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr Conall McDevitt 10

Mr John O'Dowd

Mr Ian Paisley Jnr 3

Ms Margaret Ritchie 6,11

1 Mr Jeffrey Donaldson resigned from the Committee with effect from Tuesday, 26 February 2008 and was replaced by Mr Jimmy Spratt on 04 March 2008
2 With effect from 20 May Mr Alex Maskey replaced Ms Carál Ní Chuilín
3 With effect from 15 September 2008 Mr Simon Hamilton replaced Mr Ian McCrea and Mr Ian Paisley Jnr replaced Mr George Robinson
4 With effect from 15 September 2009 Mr Nigel Dodds replaced Mr Nelson McCausland
5 With effect from 15 January 2010 Mrs Carmel Hanna resigned as an MLA
6 With effect from 26 January 2010 Mr Declan O'Loan replaced Mrs Carmel Hanna
7 With effect from the 31 March 2010 Mr Alan McFarland stood down from membership of the Committee
8 On 19 April 2010 Mr Fred Cobain was appointed as a Member of the Committee
9 On 13 April 2010 Mr Alex Maskey replaced Mr Raymond McCartney as Deputy Chairperson. Mr Raymond McCartney remained as a Member of the Committee
10 With effect from Monday 24 May 2010 Mr Conall McDevitt replaced Mr Alex Attwood
11 With effect from Monday 7 June 2010 Ms Margaret Ritchie replaced Mr Declan O'Loan

2.2 The Committee has four members of staff to provide its secretariat functions:

  • Hugh Farren Committee Clerk
  • Linda Gregg Assistant Assembly Clerk
  • Tara McKee Clerical Supervisor
  • Andrienne Magee Clerical Officer

3.0 Key Activities, Outputs and Achievements 2009-2010

3.1 The Agreement at Hillsborough Castle on 5 February 2010 set out, among other things, a proposed timetable for the devolution of policing and justice matters. In accordance with Section 4 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the first stage of the process was to be the tabling, jointly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, of a resolution requesting devolution.

3.2 In advance of the debate on the resolution and cross community vote which took place in the Assembly on 9 March 2010.The Assembly and Executive Review Committee decided to publish its Second Report on the Arrangements for the Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters in time to inform Members of its consideration of relevant matters.

3.3 The Second Report on the Arrangements for the Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters was published on 9 March 2010.

3.4 The report considered a number of matters including the financial implications of the devolution of policing and justice matters; the role of the Attorney General; the arrangements for the appointment, and removal, of judicial office holders; North/South policing and justice agreements; parading; the Public Prosecution Service; and the Justice Ministers position in the Northern Ireland Executive.

3.5 In total the Committee held 27 meetings. 12 of the 27 meetings were wholly or partly held in Closed Session. The dates of those meetings and reasons for being held in Closed Session are as follows:

  • 29 Sept 2009 – The meeting opened in Closed Session to secure a briefing from the Specialist Adviser regarding the financial implications of the devolution of policing and justice matters. The meeting then moved into Public Session.
  • 20 Oct 2009 – The meeting opened in Closed Session to discuss information received regarding the financial implications of the devolution of policing and justice matters. The meeting then moved into Public Session.
  • 3 Nov 2009 – The meeting was held in Closed Session to receive a briefing from the Specialist Adviser and departmental officials regarding the devolution of policing and justice matters.
  • 10 Nov 2009 – The meeting was held in Closed Session to secure a briefing from First Minister and deputy First Minister on the negotiated financial settlement of the devolution of policing and justice matters.
  • 17 Nov 2009 – The meeting opened in Closed Session to discuss the issue of Christmas Cards. The meeting then moved into Public Session.
  • 15 Dec 2009 – The meeting was held in Closed Session to receive briefings from NIO and NI Court Service officials on the Intergovernmental Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, Protocols and Concordats.
  • 12 Jan 2010 – The meeting opened in Public Session and then moved into Closed Session to discuss the meeting of the 15 Dec 2009.
  • 19 Jan 2010 – The meeting opened in Closed Session and then moved into Public Session.
  • 26 Jan 2010 – The meeting opened in Public Session and then moved into Closed Session to consider a revised draft concordat on the Independence of the Judiciary in Northern Ireland.
  • 23 Feb 2010 – The meeting opened in Public Session and then moved into Closed Session to a draft Second Report on the Arrangements for the Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters.
  • 25 Feb 2010 – The meeting was held in Closed Session for the final reading of the Second Report on the Arrangements for the devolution of Policing and Justice Matters.

4.0 Likely Key Priorities for the 2010 – 2011 Session

4.1 The Committee is expected to address the following:

  • the matter of Dual Mandates held by Members of the Assembly,
  • the work of the proposed Efficiency Review Panel,
  • the operation of the Ministerial Code,
  • the power to refer Ministerial Decisions to the Executive Committee, and
  • the Assembly voting system, designations and cross-community voting .

ANNEX A

Assembly and Executive Review Committee – Expenditure for the period 1 September 2009 – 31 August 2010

Budget area

Details

Expenditure

Committee Travel - committee members and staff travel and subsistence in relation to visits and meetings outside Parliament Buildings


N/A

Printing of committee reports

Includes the cost of committee reports on:

  • Second Report on the Arrangements for the Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters

£7027.13

Advertising – the cost of public notices relating to committee inquiries, the committee stage of bills and meetings held outside Parliament Buildings

Includes the cost of public notices in relation to:

  • Second Report on the Arrangements for the Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters

N/A

Consultancy support - the cost of specialist advisers appointed by the committee and commissioned research

Specialist adviser to the Committee on the financial implications of the devolution of Policing and Justice matters.

£17106.25

General expenses

Cost of refreshments for committee meetings, working lunches, seminars, room hire and witness expenses

£1282.18

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