Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 01 May 2012
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
1. Introduction and Apologies
1.1 Apologies had been received from Mrs Karen McKevitt.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2012
2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 24 April were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Matters arising
3.1 The Speaker reminded Members that the Business Committee is a closed meeting and that consequently there should be no comment about proceedings to the media, as it was unhelpful when trying to address genuine issues for the benefit of all Members.
3.2 Following a request at last week’s meeting for an update on likely Executive business which might be brought to the Chamber, junior Minister Anderson advised that Executive Ministers had considered the issue. The junior Minister reminded Members that Executive activity goes beyond plenary business and the number of Bills, to include the full range of extensive engagement which Ministers and their officials have on a continuous basis with the Assembly and its Committees. She further advised that following the agreement on the Programme of Government, a range of legislative proposals will increasingly be coming to the Assembly in addition to the Bills already introduced. Ministers will also give consideration to whether there are greater opportunities to advise the Assembly of aspects of their work through statements.
The Speaker acknowledged that legislation is only one element of Executive activity but noted that there had been few requests to make Ministerial statements since the Easter recess and therefore welcomed the junior Minister’s contribution.
4. Finalisation of Order Paper for the plenary meeting on Tuesday 8 May
4.1 Members noted that no additional Executive Business had been scheduled.
4.2 Members noted that a motion to change Committee Membership had been re-scheduled for Tuesday 8 May.
Private Members’ Business
4.3 Members noted that there were no requests for changes.
4.4 Junior Minister Anderson confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available.
4.5 The Order Paper was agreed.
5. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 14 May 2012
5.1 Members noted that apart from Question Time to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and to the Minister of Education on Monday 14 May no further Executive business had been scheduled.
5.2 Members noted that apart from Question Time to the Minister for Employment and Learning and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment no further Executive business had been scheduled on Tuesday 15 May.
5.3 Members noted that a motion from the Committee for Justice on its report on the Review of Judicial Appointments in Northern Ireland had been scheduled on Monday 14 May with the usual timings.
5.4 Members noted that a motion from the Committee for the Environment on the interim report on its inquiry into the management of used tyres in Northern Ireland had been scheduled on Tuesday 15 May with the usual timings.
5.5 Members further noted that a motion from the Committee for Employment and Learning on the transfer of Department for Employment and Learning functions had also been scheduled on Tuesday 15 May. Members agreed to allow for a 2 hour debate with 10 minutes to open and 15 minutes to wind.
Private Members’ Business
5.6 Members agreed to schedule one Private Members’ motion on Monday 14 May.
Under the system of allocation for Private Members’ motions the selection lay with the DUP.
The following motion was scheduled for Monday 14 May:
- ‘Public Services Rapid Reporting System’ (Mr J Spratt, Mr S Hamilton, Mr I McCrea).
5.7 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debate, with the usual speaking times.
5.8 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 15 May 2012. The selection lay with the DUP and the following topic was provisionally scheduled:
- ‘Consultation on the removal of special needs units at Knockmore Primary School, Lisburn’ (Mr J Craig).
Members agreed to schedule the topic as the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 15 May.
5.9 Junior Minister Anderson confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
5.10 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
6. Any other business
6.1 The Speaker referred Members to a letter from the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety requesting an exchange of his Question Time slot on 22 May with the Minister for Social Development on 29 May. Members approved the exchange.
6.2 The Speaker reminded members that when tabling motions it is good practice to have more than one signature on the motion, so that if one member is absent the item of business does not fall.
7. Date and Time of next meeting
7.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 8 May 2012 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.42pm.
Mr William Hay