The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 21 February 2012

12.36p.m. The meeting opened in closed session.

Chairperson’s Business

The Deputy Chairperson discussed the developments to date in relation to the provision of committee meeting packs electronically and informed members that this meeting would be the first to test the use of electronic packs using hand-held tablet devices.  The Deputy Chairperson also requested that members provide feedback on the use of the electronic devices to allow the systems to be developed further to meet the needs of members in committee.

12.38pm Mr Storey and Miss McIlveen joined the meeting.

The Deputy Chairperson informed members of a short term change of committee clerk for the Chairpersons Liaison Group.

1.        Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.        Minutes of the meeting on 17 January 2012

The minutes of the meeting on 17 January 2012 were agreed.

3.        Cross cutting issues 

Members of the Liaison Group noted correspondence from the Justice Committee and from the Clerk on issues that cut across the remit of more than one committee.

Agreed: Mr Givan agreed to raise the issue again at the next meeting of the Justice Committee.  It was also agreed that the clerks of the relevant committees meet to determine how to take the issue forward.

12.54pm Mr Givan left the meeting.

4.        Effectiveness of the Assembly

The Group received briefing from Mr Hugh Widdis, Director of Legal Services, on the continuing work to enhance the effectiveness of the Assembly, particularly the elements of that work that relate to committees.

Agreed: The Group agreed to approve proposals for piloting standards-based scrutiny and the use of rapporteurs and that committees should consider relationships with relevant independent scrutiny bodies.

5.        Staffing

The Clerk Assistant provided an update on the management of current staffing difficulties within the Directorate.

1.24pm Mr Elliott joined the meeting.

6.        Revised Procedures for the Appointment of Specialist Advisers

The Liaison Group received briefing from Mr John Power, Head of Research and Information Service, and Mr Hugh Farren, Directorate Training and Development Coordinator, on proposed revisions to the current procedures for the appointment of specialist advisers by committees.

1.30pm Mr Murphy left the meeting.

Agreed: The Group agreed to approve the proposals, as outlined during the briefing, and also agreed to receive periodic updates on the development of the revised procedures.

7.        Electronic Committee Packs

The Group noted a paper and received an update on developments in the project to provide electronic committee packs for committee meetings.
Agreed: The Group agreed to provide feedback on the use of the electronic committee packs during this meeting.

1.50pm Mr Storey left the meeting.
1.51pm Ms McIlveen left the meeting.
1.54pm Ms Ramsey left the meeting.
1.55pm Mr Maginness and Mr Ross left the meeting.
1.56pm Ms Lo left the meeting.

8.        Revised Future Work Programme

Agreed: The Liaison Group noted and agreed the revised forward work programme for the 2011-2012 session.

9.        Any other business
No other items of business were discussed.

10.    Date, time and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the Liaison Group will take place on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at 12.30pm in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

1.57pm The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

Mr Alex Maskey, Deputy Chairperson
20 March 2012

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