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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 27 March 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.03am in public session. 

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that Agenda item 5 is recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 21 March 2012

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

David Hilditch joined the meeting at 10.04am

3. Matters Arising

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

DFP: Superannuation Bill Follow-up

The Committee noted the follow-up correspondence from DFP following the pre-introductory stage briefing on 7th March 2012.

Members considered a draft public notice calling for written submissions in relation to the Superannuation Bill.

Agreed: to publish the public notice in the media on Friday 30 March; and to allow six weeks for written submissions which will close at 4pm on Friday 11 May.

DFP: Letter in relation to the proposed Valuation Tribunal (Amendment No.2) Rules (NI) 2011

Members considered a letter from DFP stating that it was content with the proposed rule.

Agreed: to forward the DFP letter to the Committee for Justice for information.

William Humphrey joined the meeting at 10.07am

4. Superannuation Bill – Assembly Research Briefing

Members received a briefing from Assembly Research in relation to the Superannuation Bill.

Agreed: that the Committee will commission research into what constitutes good practice in terms of consultation including whether there are similar statutory requirements in other pieces of legislation. This will inform the Committee report on the Bill.

Agreed: that the economic impact and cost to the Executive of implementing the Bill will be considered as part of the Committee Stage scrutiny and that members will consider potential witnesses in relation to this issue in due course.

David Hilditch left the meeting at 10.12am

David Hilditch returned to the meeting 10.19am

Paul Girvan joined the meeting at 10.24am

William Humphrey left the meeting at 10.26am

William Humphrey returned to the meeting at 10.27am

Paul Girvan left the meeting at 10.29am

Paul Girvan returned to the meeting at 10.31am

Dominic Bradley left the meeting at 10.48am

5. Superannuation Bill – Trade Union Evidence Session

The Committee took evidence from the following witnesses:  Brian Campfield, General Secretary, Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA); Billy Lynn, Member of the General Council, NIPSA; Jim Caldwell, NI Secretary, First Division Association (FDA); Gareth Scott, Regional Organiser, Unite the Union and Alan Perry, Organiser, GMB.

Ross Hussey declared an interest as a member of the Unite Union.

Dominic Bradley retuned to the meeting at 10.50am

Adrian McQuillan left the meeting at 10.51am

William Humphrey left the meeting at 10.58am

Paul Maskey left the meeting at 11.37am

Agreed: to write to the panel of trade unions to follow up on any information requested during the session.

Agreed: to write to the Minister of Finance and Personnel regarding the position of the trade unions in relation to negotiations and to encourage engagement between DFP and the trade unions on the issues arising from the Bill, especially given that the outcome of any negotiations could help to inform the Committee’s deliberations during the Committee Stage of the Bill.

Agreed: that a future evidence session would be scheduled for DFP to provide an update on any negotiations with the trade unions.

6. Draft DFP Corporate Plan 2012-15 and Operational Plan 2012-13 – DFP Written Briefing

The Committee considered the draft DFP Corporate Plan 2012-15 and Operational Plan 2012-13.

Agreed: to forward a range of issues to DFP for a written response.

7. Implications of Budget 2012 for NI – DFP Written Briefing

The Committee noted correspondence from DFP regarding the implications of Budget 2012 for Northern Ireland, which had been received late from the Department and was tabled at the meeting.

Agreed: to consider the correspondence at the next meeting on 18 April, including the option of an oral briefing from DFP officials.

8. Correspondence

Members considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minster: Investing Activity Report.
    • Committee for the Environment: Waste Management Procurement Process.

    Agreed: to forward the memo to DFP for consideration.

  • DFP: EU and SEUPB Follow up;

Agreed: to schedule an evidence session with DFP and SEUPB before the end of the session and that a secretariat paper would be provided in advance.

  • DFP: Response to the Committee for Regional Development’s Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland.
  • DFP: Principal Civil Service Pensions Scheme (PCSPS) Follow-up.
  • DFP: PCSPS Amendment Scheme.
  • DFP: Minister’s response regarding the NICS Equal Pay Settlement;

Agreed: to write to DFP in relation to the following issues:

-  clarification as to whether DFP intends to defend any cases brought to court by retirees in light of the Abdulla v Birmingham City Council ruling, which appears to confirm a six-year timeframe for such claims; 

-   an indication of when DFP may reach a position on the robustness of the estimated costs of extending the settlement to other groups; and

-  to query how DFP can properly assess the business case for defensive legal action if the costs of addressing the anomalies have not yet been established.

  • Correspondence from member of the public regarding equal pay.
  • Letter from DSD to the Social Development Committee regarding the Green New Deal Group.
    • DFP: Aggregate Pay Response.
    • DFP: Deployment of Staff.
    • DFP: NI Civil Servants to be included in Comprehensive Pay & Grading Review.


9. 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 that the revised programme is published on the Assembly website.

10. Any Other Business

11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 18th March at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.08pm

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Committee for Finance and Personnel
18 April 2012

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