Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 29 May 2012

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 15th May 2012.

3. Matters Arising        

The Chairperson advised Members of  a response letter from the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group (CLG) regarding views considered by the current AERC Review of the Size of the Assembly on the subject of the committee system.

Agreed: To note the letter and that it be included in the  Committee’s Report on the Review.

A Member raised the subject of the recording of attendance of Members at the AERC meetings during the course of the Committee’s consideration of and deliberations on the current Review. 

The Committee Clerk advised that Members’ attendance has been recorded and reflected in the minutes of proceedings and minutes of evidence for all the Committee’s meetings regarding the current Review.  

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 continue its detailed discussion on the written evidence received on the Review and, in particular, the key issues set out in the ‘Call for Evidence’ paper and the initial first draft of the Report.

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

4. Any Other Business

There were no other items of business.

5. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee will be held on 12th  June 2012, at 11.00 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Committee moved into closed session at 11.08am. 

Simon Hamilton joined the meeting at 11.08am. 

6. 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 and to consider the initial first draft of the Committee’s Report. 

The Committee discussed points raised in a letter that was issued to AERC Members from the Chairperson on 17th May 2012 regarding Political Parties’ views on the number of MLAs and decoupling. 

The Committee considered a draft ‘options paper’ that primarily provided options (under both coupled and decoupled models) for the Assembly in terms of the number of constituencies, possible multipliers for the number of MLAs per constituency, implications, practicalities for implementation and timing implications for the next Assembly election (2015).  Members commented that the draft ‘options paper’ was useful in that it clearly set out some of the options discussed. 

Stewart Dickson joined the meeting at 11.30am. 

The Committee considered an initial first draft of the Committee’s Report on the Review of the Size of the Assembly

Agreed: Content with the appendices included in the initial draft Report and that the Committee office update the appropriate appendices accordingly. 

Agreed: Content with the Committee Consideration section of the Report to date. 

Agreed: To consider a final draft of the Committee’s Report on the Review at the next Committee meeting.

Agreed: To consider a draft motion for debate in Assembly Plenary of the Report at the next Committee meeting. 

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at  11.36am.

Mr Stephen Moutray
Chairperson
Assembly and Executive Review Committee

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