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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 28 September 2011

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened at 10.04am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that the evidence sessions at Agenda items 5 and 6 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 21 September 2011

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 the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

DFP: Initial Response to Committee’s Request for list of Respondees to Consultation Paper on the Large Retail Levy and Small Business Rates Relief

Members noted an initial response from DFP to its request for a list of respondees to the consultation paper on the large retail levy and small business rates relief.

DFP: Response regarding Parents Education as Autism Therapists

Members noted a copy of DFP’s response to Parents Education as Autism Therapists regarding the care of individuals with autism. A copy of the DFP response had issued to the Committee for Education as previously requested.

4. Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA): Overview, Priorities and Challenges – DFP Briefing

Members received a briefing from the following DFP officials: Dr Norman Caven, Chief Executive, NISRA, DFP; Mr Robert Beatty, Head of Census Branch and Dr James Gillan, Head of Economic Statistics Branch.

Mr Adrian McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.11am.

Ms Judith Cochrane joined the meeting at 10.35am.

Mr Pail Girvan joined the meeting at 10.35am.

Mr Mitchel McLaughlin left the meeting at 10.38am.

Mr Mitchel McLaughlin re-joined the meeting at 10.44am.

Mr Dominic Bradley left the meeting at 10.44am.

Mr Adrian McQuillan left the meeting at 10.46am.

Mr Dominic Bradley re-joined the meeting at 10.47am.

Mr Adrian McQuillan re-joined the meeting at 10.49am

5. Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Equal Pay Settlement – Evidence from Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance (CSPA)

Members took evidence from the following witnesses: Mr Ivan Baxter, NI Branch Secretary, CSPA; Mr Carson Wilson, Chair, N.I.Branch CSPA; Mr. Sam Caul, Member, N.I.Branch CSPA and Mr. Nixon Armstrong, Member, NIPSA Retired Members. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Members also noted correspondence from the National Pensioners Convention, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Age Sector Platform and members of the public on Equal Pay issues.

Agreed: that the Committee forward any reply received from the Minister to the correspondence sent following the meeting on 14 th September 2011 to CSPA when received.

Agreed: that the Committee re-affirms the position of the predecessor Committee on this issue.

Mr Adrian McQuillan left the meeting at 11.29am

6. October Monitoring Round: Departmental Position – DFP evidence session

The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Deborah McNeilly, Head of Finance Branch, Corporate Services Group and Stephen Rusk, Finance Branch, Corporate Services Group. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide more detailed background information on monitoring round returns going forward, including the history of bids/surrenders for the areas under consideration.

7. Subordinate Legislation

Members considered the following proposal from DFP for subordinate legislation:

SL1 – The Draft Rates (Microgeneration) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: that the Committee has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under the SL1 – The Draft Rates (Microgeneration) Order (NI) 2011, and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

8. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  • Committee for Education: Prompt Payment Policy;
    Agreed: that DFP is requested to provide an update on current policy regarding prompt payment of invoices by government departments, including current performance against targets.
  • Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minster: Investing Activity Report;
  • Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Implementation of the recommendation from the Report by the Committee for Employment & Learning on Training for Success;
    Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP and request that the Committee is copied into the reply to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  • DFP: Response from Central Procurement Directorate;
    Agreed: to request further information from Central Procurement Directorate regarding the benchmarking of key performance indicators, and to ask Assembly Research and Information Services to investigate the use of models for measuring multiplier effects from public procurement elsewhere, which might be applied in Northern Ireland.
  • Note from the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group’s Meeting on 20 September 2011;
    Agreed: to write to the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group requesting more information on changes to the budget for committees for 2011-12.
  • DFP: Response regarding Corporation Tax;
    Agreed: to ask Assembly Research and Information Services to undertake initial scoping work on how HM Treasury is calculating the costs associated with applying devolved corporation tax powers in Northern Ireland and to identify potential sources of expert advice to the Committee on this matter.

9. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

NI Direct project

Agreed: to schedule a briefing from DFP on the progress of the NI Direct project.

Agreed: that the work programme is amended to reflect decisions made today, and 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 5 October at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.09pm.

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Committee for Finance and Personnel.
5 October 2011 

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