Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 January 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.04am in public session

1. Apologies.

Apologies noted above.

Agreed: that Agenda items 6, 7 and 8 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

Agreed: that Agenda items 4 and 5 are taken in closed session in line with normal protocol.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 11 January 2012
Agreed: that the minutes are published on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising

Table of Requests for Information from the Department of Finance and Personnel

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

Rates (Amendment) Bill

The Committee considered a revised response from DFP to the Committee’s Report on the Proposed Large Retail Levy and the Expansion of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme

Agreed: that the response is published on the Committee’s webpages in line with previous practice.

Members also considered a response from DFP to a number of Committee queries in relation to the Rates (Amendment) Bill.

Agreed: that the Committee writes to DFP to reinforce the Committee’s view that the non-domestic revaluation, which forms part of the wider economic strategy, should be in place by 2015 as outlined in the Committee’s Report.

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 10.05am

The Committee moved into closed session at 10.07am

4. Corporate HR Issues – DFP Briefing

The Committee received a briefing from the following DFP officials: Derek Baker, Director of Personnel for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), Corporate HR; Grace Nesbitt, Head of HR Policy, Pay and Pensions Division, Corporate HR; Mark Bailey, Pay and Grading Review Team, Corporate HR; and Oswyn Paulin, Departmental Solicitor, Departmental Solicitors Office.

Mrs Cochrane joined the meeting at 10.10am

Mr Hilditch returned the meeting at 10.14am

Mr Humphrey joined the meeting at 10.17am

Mr Girvan joined the meeting at 10.20am

Mr Girvan left the meeting at 10.46am

Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 10.52am

Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.55am

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 10.55am

Agreed: to write to the Finance Minister to reiterate the Committee’s previous request that urgent work is undertaken by DFP to estimate the costs of extending the Equal Pay settlement to PSNI civilian staff, NIO secondees and NICS retirees.

5. Executive’s Review of the Financial Process – Final Consideration of the Committee’s co-ordinated Response

Members considered a final draft of the report on the Committee’s co-ordinated response to the Executive’s Review of the Financial Process.

Mr Bradley returned to the meeting at 10.57am

Agreed: that paragraphs 1 – 6 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraph 7 stands part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 8 – 10 stand part of the Report;

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 11.00am

Agreed: that paragraphs 11 – 13, as amended, stand part of the Report;

Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 11.06am

Agreed: that paragraphs 14 – 16, as amended, stand part of the Report;

Mr Maskey returned to the meeting at 11.10am

Agreed: that paragraphs 17 – 19 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 20 – 22 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 23 – 25 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 26 – 32 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 33 – 34 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that an additional paragraph is inserted after paragraph 37;

Agreed: that paragraphs 35 – 41 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 42 – 45 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 46 – 49 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 50 – 54 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 55 – 56 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 57 – 58 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 59 – 60 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 61 – 66 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 67 – 69 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that paragraphs 70 – 73 stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that the Executive Summary stands part of the Report, subject to a consequential amendment;

Agreed: that the Appendices stand part of the Report;

Agreed: that the Report, as amended, be the Second Report of the Committee for Finance and Personnel to the Assembly for session 2011-12;

Agreed: that the Report on the Response to the Executive’s Review of the Financial Process in NI, as amended, be printed.

Agreed: to table a motion for a plenary debate on the Report. The draft wording of the motion will be considered at the Committee’s meeting on 25 January 2011.

Members were advised that typescript copies of the agreed Report will be laid in the Business Office within 24 hours for the attention of all MLAs. Printed copies of the report will be issued to all MLAs in advance of the plenary debate.

The Committee moved into public session at 11.24am

6. Account NI and Prompt Payment of Government Invoices – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Paul Wickens, Chief Executive, Enterprise Shared Services (ESS); and John Crosby, Director of Finance, ESS.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Members noted correspondence from Dolores Kelly MLA regarding payment of government invoices.

Mrs Cochrane left the meeting at 11.44am

Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 11.45am

Agreed: to write to Dolores Kelly MLA to outline the improved protections for sub-contractors, which were recently announced by the Finance Minister, as discussed by the Committee today.

Agreed: to write to the Finance Minister to request details on the action being taken to encourage departments to bring non-departmental public bodies and other arm’s-length bodies into the Account NI system, for the purpose of improved monitoring of the prompt payment of government invoices.

7. Outcome of January Monitoring Round – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Michael Brennan, Head of Central Expenditure Division; Peter Jakobsen, Central Expenditure Division; and Brigitte Worth, Head of Financial Management Branch, Finance Division, Corporate Services Group.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr Hilditch left the meeting at 11.50am

Agreed: to write to the Finance Minister to request details of the plans to engage with the Assembly and its committees on the Executive’s review of departmental allocations for 2013-14 and 2014-15, as outlined in the Minister’s statement of 17 January 2012.

8. Chancellor’s Autumn Statement: Implications for NI – DFP Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Michael Brennan, Head of Central Expenditure Division and Peter Jakobsen, Central Expenditure Division.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr McLaughlin left the meeting at 12.17am

Mr Hilditch returned to the meeting at 12.20 am

9. Subordinate Legislation

Members considered one piece of subordinate legislation:

SR 410 – The Superannuation (Commissioner for Older People for NI) Order (NI) 2011

The Committee noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had no issues to raise by way of technical scrutiny.

Agreed: That the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered The Superannuation (Commissioner for Older People for NI) Order (NI) 2011and has no objection to the rule.

The Committee also noted that three proposals for subordinate legislation regarding superannuation for posts within the Department of Justice (DOJ) remit had been withdrawn, pending further consideration by the DOJ.

10. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  • DFP: LPS Follow up to evidence session on 7 December;
  • DFP: Outcomes-based model of child poverty reduction;
  • DFP: Sexual Orientation Strategy;

Agreed: to forward the DFP correspondence to The Rainbow Project.

  • DFP: Damages (Asbestos-related conditions) (2011 Act) (Commencement) Order (NI);
    • Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister: Review of arm’s-length bodies.

Members noted the following routine correspondence emailed on Monday 16th January.

  • Friends of the Earth Campaign Launch - 31st January 2012

 

11. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

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

12. Any Other Business
13. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 25 January at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.23pm

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
25 January 2012

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