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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 29 February 2012

Venue: NI Direct, Causeway Exchange, Bedford Street, Belfast

The meeting opened at 10.40am in public session. 

1. Apologies

Apologies are noted above.

Agreed: that Agenda item 6 is held in closed session in line with normal protocol.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 22 February 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 (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.

EU Structural Funds

Members received an update from the Chairperson following a meeting with the Chairperson of the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) regarding potential Assembly input to the efforts to secure future EU Structural Funds, in particular a PEACE IV programme.

Mr William Humphrey declared an interest as a member of the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister

Agreed: to forward a request from OFMDFM for DFP officials to brief the EU Panel meeting on Monday 5 March 2012 to the Department.

Agreed: to forward any relevant DFP correspondence to OFMDFM in advance of the EU Panel meeting.

The Committee considered draft letters to DFP and SEUPB addressing issues arising from the evidence sessions on 22 February 2012 regarding EU Structural Funds.

Agreed: to forward the letters to DFP and SEUPB and to copy the correspondence to OFMDFM.

Agreed: that members are to notify the secretariat of any individual queries which need to be raised with SEUPB regarding the issue of letters of offer to specific organisations.

The Chairperson left the meeting at 10.45am

The Deputy Chairperson took the chair at 10.45am

David Hilditch joined the meeting at 10.46am

4. Revisions to the NI Civil Service Handbook – Disciplinary Procedures for Senior Civil Servants

The Committee considered its position on the Department’s proposed amendments to the NI Civil Service Handbook following the initial considerations on 15 February 2012.

Agreed: that a draft response to DFP will be prepared for consideration at next week’s meeting, reflecting the issues discussed at today’s meeting.

Agreed: that the previous research paper on how such disciplinary matters were dealt with in other jurisdictions would be included for consideration with the draft response at next week’s meeting.

The Chairperson returned to the meeting and retook the chair at 10.58am

5. NI Direct Overview and Progress Report – Briefing by NI Direct Officials

The Committee received a briefing from the following NI Direct officials: Tom Kennedy, Director and Kathryn Semple, Business and Operations Manager.

Agreed: that the NI Direct officials would raise the issue of the proposed used of 0300 numbers in addition to the 101 number with their sponsor group and would provide a written update to the Committee on this and other issues raised during this session, including plans for the promotion of NI Direct.

Paul Girvan joined the meeting at 11.11am

The meeting moved into closed session at 11.21am

6. Equal Pay settlement – Briefing by Rosemary Connolly, Solicitor

The Committee received a briefing from Rosemary Connolly, Solicitor and Sam Caul, Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance. 

Members also considered correspondence from a civil servant requesting information in relation to secondees and equal pay.

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP for a response.

The meeting moved into open session at 11.47am

7. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following proposal for subordinate legislation:

SL1 - The Rates (Small Business Hereditament Relief) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under The Rates (Small Business Hereditament Relief) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012, and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

SR 2012/46 – The Rates (Regional Rates) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee has considered The Rates (Regional Rates) Order (NI) 2012 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly.

SR 2012/47 – The Rates (Microgeneration) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee has considered The Rates (Microgeneration) Order (NI) 2012 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly.

8. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  • DFP: Public Service Agreements (PSAs) and Tackling Social Disadvantage.
  • HM Treasury Consultation on draft legislation for Finance Bill 2012 – Air Passenger Duty.
  • Age NI: Response to draft Programme for Government.
  • SEUPB: Media Coverage January 2012 – February 2012.
  • DFP: Disposal of Records Schedule.

Agreed: to write to DFP to request an interim report on the work being carried out in relation to the disposal of records project.

  • Note of Chairperson’s Liaison Group.

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

  • Report from Strictly Boardroom on corporate governance titled “Asleep on the Job”.

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 7 March at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Chairperson thanked the NI Direct officials for their hospitality in facilitating the Committee meeting.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.55am

Dominic Bradley
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for Finance and Personnel
7 March 2012

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