Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 May 2012

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened at 11.05 am. in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 8th May 2012.

3. Matters Arising        

There were no matters arising.

4. Review of Parts III and IV of the Northern Ireland Act in the Context of Reviewing the Size of the NI Assembly and the Number of NI Departments.

The Chairperson advised Members that the purpose of this agenda item was for the Committee to further consider the written submissions received on the Committee’s Review, and in particular, from the Political Parties of the Assembly; to consider Assembly Research Papers commissioned by the Committee as part of the Review; and to consider legal advice (in closed session) commissioned by the Committee as part of the Review. 

Mr Stewart Dickson joined the meeting at 11.06am.

Mr Pat Doherty joined the meeting at 11.06am

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the papers before Members.

Mr Paul Givan joined the meeting at 11.08am

The Chairperson invited Mr Tim Moore, Senior Research Officer, Assembly Research Services to join the meeting. 

The Senior Research Officer joined the meeting at 11.10am.

The Senior Research Officer briefed the Committee on the Assembly Research Paper entitled ‘Electoral Constituencies – Further Information on Decoupling in Scotland’

This was followed by a question and answer session. 

The Senior Research Officer briefed the Committee on the Assembly Research Paper entitled ‘Committee Stages of Bills’.

This was followed by a question and answer session. 

The Chairperson thanked the Senior Research Officer for his briefings and attending the meeting.

The Senior Research Officer left the meeting at 11.24am

The Chairperson proposed that the  Committee consider agenda items Any Other Business and the Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting at this point and then move into closed session to allow the Committee to consider legal advice on the Review and to continue its detailed discussion on the written evidence received on the Review and, in particular, the five key issues set out in the ‘Call for Evidence’ paper.

Agreed: To consider Any Other Business and Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting and then to move into closed session.

5. Any Other Business

The Chairperson referred Members to a draft letter from the Committee to the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group (CLG) in relation to the Committee’s Review, and in particular, views on the Assembly’s committee system. 

Members discussed the draft letter.

Agreed: To incorporate a minor amendment to bullet point 4 in the draft letter and to issue the letter.   

The Chairperson referred Members to a response from the Clerk/Director General of the Assembly in relation to a Committee request for information on the Committee Stage of Bills.

Agreed: To note the response and to forward it, along with the Assembly Research Paper entitled ‘Committee Stages of Bills’, to the CLG as part of the Committee’s letter to CLG. 

The Chairperson referred Members to a response to the Committee’s Review from the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA).

Agreed: To note the response.

6. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee will be held on 29th  May 2012, at 11.00 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Committee moved into closed session at 11.30am. 

7. Review of Parts III and IV of the Northern Ireland Act in the Context of Reviewing the Size of the NI Assembly and the Number of NI Departments. 

The Committee considered legal advice that was commissioned to inform its Review and continued its discussions on Members’ views on the key issues of the Review, as set out in the Committee’s ‘Call for Evidence’ Paper.

Agreed: To consider an initial first draft of the Report on the Review at the next Committee meeting.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at  12.10pm.

Mr Stephen Moutray
Chairperson, Assembly and Executive Review Committee

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