The Northern Ireland Assembly is in Recess. The Business Committee will meet on the 1st of September and the First Plenary Sitting is the 7th of September.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 26 June 2012

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 11.02 am. in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

Agreed: The Committee noted the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 12thJune 2012.

3. Matters Arising        

The Members noted a letter from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions regarding the Committee’s Review on the Size of the Assembly and the Number of Government Departments.

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 the Members that the purpose of this agenda item was to initially consider items under Part 1 of Committee’s Review and then move to discuss Part 2 – the Size of the Assembly and the Number of Government Departments respectively.

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the papers before Members

Mr Paul Givan joined the meeting at 11.06am.

Mr John McCallister joined the meeting at 11.07am.

Agreed: To issue a media operational notice to notify the press of the time of the motion for the debate of the Report in Assembly Plenary and to advise where the Report can be accessed on the Assembly AERC webpage. 

Agreed: To commission Assembly Research in relation to current government department structures in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Agreed: That the Committee secretariat compile and analyse the evidence received to date on the number of government departments for consideration at the first Committee meeting following summer recess.

The Committee discussed the possibility of receiving further written/oral evidence for Part 2 of the Review. 

Agreed: That Members consider this at the first Committee meeting following summer recess. 

5. Forward Work Programme

The Chairperson advised the Members that the purpose of this agenda item was to give some initial consideration to options for the Committee’s next review work after completion of Part 2 of the current Review.

The Chairperson referred the Members to the summary of Party Priorities for the Committee’s Review of Parts III and IV of the NI Act 1998 (compiled in mid-January 2012) and a letter from the Executive Party Leaders’ Group the Committee received and considered in April 2012. 

A SDLP Member highlighted his Party’s preference for the Committee’s next review work – that is accountable government and re-naming of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.   

Agreed: That Members consider with their respective Parties, their priorities  for the Committee’s next review work and to discuss the issue at the first meeting following summer recess.

6. Any Other Business

The Chairperson advised Members that in relation to Committee input on Freedom of Information (FoI) matters during summer recess, it is normal practice for committees to delegate authority to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.  The Committee would be advised of any such requests at the first available meeting following the recess period.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it is content to continue with this practice. 

The Chairperson wished Members a pleasant summer recess. 

7. Date, Time and Place of next Meeting

The next meeting of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee will be held on Tuesday 11th September, at 11.00am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.12am

Mr Stephen Moutray
Assembly and Executive Review Committee

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