Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 21 June 2011
Venue: Room 106
1. Introduction and Apologies
1.1 Apologies were noted from Mr S Dickson and Mr R Swann.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2011
2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 14 June were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Matters arising
3.1 Members noted that the issue raised by Lord Morrow on the continuation of plenary business over lunchtime on Tuesdays would be discussed under agenda item 5.
4. Finalisation of Order Papers for Week Commencing 27 June 2011
4.1 Members noted that, in addition to business already scheduled, two Legislative Consent Motions had been scheduled on Monday 27 June 2011; the first from the Minister of Finance and Personnel on the Finance (No.3) Bill; and the second from the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the Protection of Freedoms Bill.
4.2 Members noted that, in addition to business already scheduled, a Legislative Consent Motion on the Welfare Reform Bill tabled by the Minister for Social Development had been scheduled on Tuesday 28 June.
4.3 Junior Minister Bell advised Members that the Minister for Regional Development may wish to make an oral Ministerial Statement on Monday 27 June.
4.4 Members noted that the Committee for Employment and Learning motion on the Higher Education Tuition Fees had now been tabled; agreed to schedule the debate on Monday 27 June; and agreed to allocate two hours to this debate, as requested by the Committee, with the usual timings.
4.5 Members agreed to schedule a Commission motion relating to the appointment of members as the Trustees of the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme, on Tuesday 28 June. As with previous motions of this nature, members agreed to treat this as a business motion.
4.6 Members also noted a request from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to schedule a motion on Caesarean Section rates. Members agreed to schedule the motion on Tuesday 28 June with the usual speaking times.
Private Members’ Business
4.5 Members noted that the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had written to the Speaker to advise that she is now unavailable to respond to the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 28 June, agreed by the Committee last week, as she has a meeting with the Treasury about Corporation Tax.
4.6 Sinn Féin agreed to select a different topic as the Adjournment Debate. The following topic was selected:
- Abandonment of the Jobs and Benefits Project in Strabane (Ms M Boyle).
Members agreed to schedule the topic as the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 28 June.
4.7 Members noted that the motion cuts across two Ministerial portfolios (DSD and DEL). Junior Minister Bell confirmed that the relevant Ministers would be available to respond to the debate.
5. Oral Question Rota September 2011 – Christmas Recess
5.1 Members agreed the rota for Oral Questions from September 2011 until the Christmas Recess as presented.
6. Continuation of plenary sittings over Tuesday lunchtime
6.1 The Clerk briefed members on the issues around the continuation of plenary business over lunchtime on Tuesdays, as raised by Lord Morrow at the previous week’s meeting.
6.2 Mr Ramsey and Mr Weir remarked on the usefulness of the Tuesday lunchtime suspension for All Party Groups; and the importance of clarity and certainty in the scheduling of plenary business to allow such groups, and parties, to plan effectively.
6.3 All members undertook to consult with party colleagues and bring their views back to the Committee immediately after the recess.
7. Any Other Business
7.1 In response to a number of points of order raised recently by Members during plenary, the Speaker asked the junior Ministers to remind their Executive colleagues that Members expect answer s to all their written questions, and particularly to priority written questions, within the timescales set out in Standing Orders.
7.2 Members requested a breakdown of the number of late responses to written questions in the format provided on previous occasions.
8. Date and Time of next meeting
8.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 6 September 2011 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 1.02pm.