Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 28 June 2011
Venue: Parliament Buildings
12.40p.m . The meeting opened in closed session
1. Arrangements for Chairing meetings of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group
The Liaison Group considered arrangements for chairing meetings of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
Noted: As agreed with party whips, the positions of chairperson and deputy chairperson will be rotated annually on the basis of party strength. The DUP has nominated Mr Jimmy Spratt to act as chairperson until June 2012 and Sinn Féin has nominated Mr Alex Maskey to act as deputy chairperson for the same period.
In the absence of Mr Spratt, the deputy chairperson, Mr Maskey, took the chair.
Apologies are detailed above.
3. Role of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group
Agreed: The Liaison Group considered and agreed a paper on the role of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group and what it seeks to achieve in fulfilling a practical liaison role in relation to the work of Assembly committees, helping to develop common approaches to common problems and promoting good practice.
4. Procedures for the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group
The Liaison Group considered the procedures adopted by the previous Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
Agreed: The Liaison Group agreed that the procedures adopted by the previous Liaison Group would continue to apply.
5. Guidance for office holders on the registration of gifts and hospitality
Noted: The Liaison Group noted a paper from the Clerk to the Committee on Standards and Privileges on the registration of gifts and hospitality by office holders.
6. Staff contact details
Noted: Contact details for the staff of the Liaison Group were noted.
7. Budgets for Committees and Business Efficiency
The Liaison Group received a briefing from Mr Trevor Reaney, Clerk to the Assembly / Director General, on the Business Efficiency Programme, and from Mr Damien Martin on business efficiency, previous committee expenditure and proposed budget allocations for the 2011/2012 financial year. It was noted that it had yet to be agreed by the Assembly Commission.
12.51pm Ms Michelle Gildernew MLA joined the meeting
12.52pm Mr Tom Elliott MLA joined the meeting
1.12pm Mr Kinahan left the meeting
Agreed: The Liaison Group agreed the budget proposals for 2011/2012 and to receive quarterly briefings on expenditure.
8. Members’ Development
Agreed: The Liaison Group received briefing from Nuala Dunwoody on the potential development opportunities for Assembly members and agreed that the Clerk and Research Officer to the Finance and Personnel Committee should brief the Liaison Group on DFP’s “review of the financial process in Northern Ireland” at the meeting of 20 September 2011.
Agreed: The Liaison Group agreed the need for development in the area of EU scrutiny and stressed the importance of committees becoming involved in the process at an early stage to ensure that they can influence policy development in Europe.
Agreed: The Liaison Group agreed that budget scrutiny would be a priority for members’ development.
9. Lessons Learnt from Committees in the 2007 – 11 Mandate
Noted: The Liaison Group noted a report of the previous Group in relation to lessons learnt from committees during the 2007-2011 mandate. The Group also noted that the key challenges identified in the report form the basis of the Liaison Group’s forward work programme.
10. Future Work Programme
Agreed: The Liaison Group noted and agreed the draft forward work programme for the 2011-2012 session.
11. Any other business
There were no other items of business.
12. Date, time and venue of next meeting
The next meeting of the Liaison Group will take place on Tuesday 20 September 2011 at 12.30 p.m. in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.
1.24 p.m. The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting.