Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 February 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.02am in public session

Mr Girvan joined the meeting at 10.03am

1. Apologies.

Apologies are noted above.

Agreed: that Agenda item 4 is recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

Agreed: that Agenda item 6 is taken in closed session at the request of the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 8 February 2012

Agreed: that the minutes are published on the Assembly website.

3. Matters Arising

Table of Requests for Information from DFP

The Committee noted the table of requests for information from DFP which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

Barnett Formula- Decision on the way forward

Members considered a copy of the Official Report from last week’s evidence session with expert witnesses on the Barnett Formula.

Agreed: to proceed, in principle, with an inquiry into the Barnett Formula. A draft Terms of Reference will be prepared which will include engagement with the other devolved administrations that have carried out similar work in order to draw on their learning.

Agreed: to forward a copy of the Official Report of last week’s evidence session with expert witnesses on the Barnett Formula to DFP for comment.

Ministerial Statement: Funding Allocations

Members noted a copy of the 14 February statement from the Minister of Finance and Personnel on funding allocations.

Draft European Priorities: DFP Response

Members considered a response from DFP regarding the role of the Department in relation to the Draft European Priorities.

Agreed: to forward the DFP response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. Members should forward any additional comments to the Committee staff to be included as part of the response.

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 10.07am

The Chairperson left the meeting at 10.08am

The Deputy Chairperson took the chair at 10.08am

4. Revisions to the NI Civil Service Handbook and Disciplinary Procedures for Senior Officials – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from Derek Baker, Director of Personnel for the NI Civil Service, DFP.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr Hilditch joined the meeting at 10.11am

Mr Maskey returned to the meeting at 10.22am

Agreed: that members would reflect on the issues raised during this session and consider at next week’s meeting whether they are content with the Department’s proposed amendments to the NI Civil Service Disciplinary Procedures for Senior Officials. 

The Chairperson returned to the meeting and retook the chair at 11.05am

5. State Aid Issues – Briefing by Assembly Research and Information Service

Members received a briefing from the Assembly Research and Information Service on State Aid Issues.

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 11.14am

Agreed: that staff would review the previous research paper on Regional Aid Issues to determine whether it is relevant for members.

The meeting moved into closed session at 11.15am

6. State Aid Issues– DFP briefing

The Committee received a briefing from Mr Brian McClure, Director of European Division and Head of Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group, DFP; and Mr Stephen Moore, European Support Unit, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.  The briefing was held in closed session.

Mrs Cochrane joined the meeting at 11.20am

Mr Bradley returned to the meeting at 11.23am

The meeting moved into open session at 11.59am

7. Review of Rates Deferment Scheme for Pensioners and Draft Rates Deferment Scheme Regulations (NI) 2012– DFP Briefing 

The Committee received a briefing from the following DFP officials: Mr Brian McClure, Head of Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group and Dr Veronica Holland, Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group.

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 11.50am

Mr Bradley returned to the meeting at 11.55am

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 11.55am

Agreed: that members are content with the Minister’s proposal to close the Rates Deferment Scheme for Pensioners from 1 April 2012, which will require subordinate legislation.

8. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered three proposals for subordinate legislation:

SL1 - Superannuation (Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in NI) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under the Superannuation (Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in NI) Order (NI) 2012, and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

SL1 – Superannuation (Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Law Commission) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under the Superannuation (Commissioner of The Northern Ireland Law Commission) Order (NI) 2012, and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage. 

SL1 - Superannuation (Police Ombudsman for NI) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under the Superannuation (Police Ombudsman for NI) Order (NI) 2012, and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

9. Correspondence

Mr Hilditch returned to the meeting at 12.21am

Members considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Correspondence from member of the public regarding prompt payment of government invoices.
  • Correspondence from member of the public regarding equal pay.
  • DFP: Statutory guidance on forced marriages.
  • DFP: Air Passenger Duty.
  • DFP: Improving payment practices in the construction industry in Northern Ireland – public consultation on proposals.

 

Agreed: that members will await the outcome of the public consultation and will seek a written briefing from DFP when this has been completed.

  • DFP: Disposal of records schedule.

Agreed: to write to DFP requesting details on who is responsible for issuing guidance, centrally, for the disposal of records across the NI Civil Service and whether measures are taken to ensure consistency across departments.

  • DFP: Payday Loans.
  • DFP: Corporation Tax.

Members also noted the following piece of routine correspondence which was issued prior to the meeting:

  • Fuel Poverty Coalition’s Petition on Fuel Poverty.

 

10. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee Work Programme.

Visit to NI Direct

Members noted the transport arrangements that have been made for the Committees external meeting on the 29th February 2012 and that detailed arrangements will be e-mailed in due course.

Agreed: that the Committee Work Programme is amended to reflect decisions made today, and that the revised programme is published on the Assembly website.

11. Any Other Business

12. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 22 February at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.24pm

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
22 February 2012

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