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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 October 2011

Venue: Parliament Buildings

12.32p.m. The meeting opened in closed session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 20 September 2011

The minutes of the meeting on 20 September 2011 were agreed.

3. Matters arising 

DFP’s consultation event on the Public Expenditure System

The Group noted a consultation event, hosted by the Department of Finance and Personnel, on the Public Expenditure System scheduled for 18 October 2011 at 1.15pm and agreed to conclude the meeting at 1.15pm so as to allow members the opportunity to attend the event.

12.34pm Mr Murphy and Mr Storey joined the meeting

4. Budget for Committees 

12.37pm Mr Givan joined the meeting
12.38pm Mr Maginness joined the meeting
12.39pm Mr Elliott and Ms Gildernew joined the meeting

The Liaison Group received an update on committee expenditure to date for the current financial year and an update on the outcome of the October monitoring round.

Agreed: The Group discussed a number of options in relation to its future role on the allocation of budgets for committees and agreed to consider the preferred option in further detail at a future meeting.

5. Use of Electronic Devices in Committee

The Liaison Group considered a paper on the use of electronic devices in committee meeting rooms by members and those seated in the public gallery.

Agreed: The Group agreed that permitting members to use electronic devices during meetings should be a decision for the chairperson of each committee. The Group also agreed to continue with the current arrangements for non-use of electronic devices by individuals seated in the public gallery.

Agreed: The Group agreed to request information from the Office of the Official Report (Hansard) on the impact of interference from electronic devices on the quality of recordings, to investigate the possibility of providing a solution to the issue of interference on the BBC’s Democracy Live coverage of committee meetings and on the possibility of providing small lockers for members of the public attending committee meetings.

6. Update on Electronic Committee Packs

12.57pm Mr Murphy left the meeting
12.59pm Mr Maginness left the meeting
1.01pm Mr Ross left the meeting

The Liaison Group considered the findings of a Members questionnaire on the use of electronic devices in committee and also received an update on the work of the Technology in Committees Working Group.

Issues of concerns raised by Members in relation to the provision of committee packs electronically included potential difficulties when working with large documents; the need to print some papers in the event of a device failing; and the varying availability and speed of broadband coverage in different locations with particular reference to rural areas.

1.05pm Mr Kinahan joined the meeting

7. Revised Future Work Programme

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

8. Any other business

The Liaison Group noted correspondence from the Patient and Client Council in relation to a number of reports issued by the Bamford Monitoring Group and the Patient and Client Council.

The Liaison Group noted correspondence from the Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in relation to its use of a rapporteur for its Inquiry into Research and Development.

The Group considered concerns in relation to the late provision of monitoring round submissions to committee that afford committees little or no time to scrutinise the submissions before the Department of Finance and Personnel’s deadlines.

Agreed: The Group agreed to raise these concerns with the Committee for the OFMDFM and the Committee for the Department of Finance and Personnel.

1.15pm  Mr Maskey left the meeting

9. Date, time and venue of next meeting

The next meeting of the Liaison Group will take place on Tuesday 15 November 2011 at 12.30p.m. in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

1.19pm  The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

Mr Jimmy Spratt, Chairperson
15 November 2011 

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