Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 13 December 2011
Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings
1.30pm The meeting opened in closed session.
Mr Alban Maginness
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2011
Members agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2011.
3. Matters Arising
Items considered without a decision-making quorum
The Committee briefly revisited those items which had been considered at the
previous meeting without a decision-making quorum.
Agreed: It was agreed to discuss the following matters as substantive items on today’s agenda:
a) Commencement dates for Acts following Royal Assent
b) Legislative Consent Motions
c) Standing Order 27 – Voting/Divisions
1.33pm Mr Clarke joined the meeting.
The Committee agreed to consider the item on Assembly Questions and
Questions for Priority Written Answer under Matters Arising.
1.34pm Mr McMullan joined the meeting.
1.34pm Mr Storey joined the meeting.
Agreed: It was agreed to request that figures, similar to those published
in the response from the Speaker’s office, be provided on a six
monthly basis to allow Members to maintain a watching brief
on the matter. It was also agreed to give further consideration to this matter at the meeting scheduled for 17 January 2012.
4. Commencement dates for Acts following Royal Assent
1.40pm Mr Lyttle joined the meeting.
The Chairperson advised members of the preliminary work undertaken by the
Clerk in obtaining information on commencement dates for Acts following
Agreed: It was agreed to give further consideration to this matter at the meeting scheduled for 17 January 2012.
5. Legislative Consent Motions
1.44pm Jonathan McMillen from the Assembly Legal Services Office joined the meeting and briefed the Committee on the legal advice he had provided in relation to the proposed Standing Order 42A on Legislative Consent Motions.
Mr McMillen took the Committee through a paragraph by paragraph scrutiny of the proposed Standing Order, and answered Members’ questions.
1.57pm Mr Storey left the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed the motion on the proposed Standing
The Chairperson thanked Mr McMillen for the briefing.
6. Standing Order 27 – Voting/Divisions
The Committee considered legal and procedural advice in relation to suggested amendments to Standing Order 27 on Voting/Divisions.
Agreed: It was agreed to seek the views of the Speaker, the Business Committee and Party Whips before coming to a decision on this matter.
2.06pm The meeting moved into public session.
7. Consideration of Standing Order 69A – Assembly Commissioner for Standards
The Chairperson drew members’ attention to the latest draft of the proposed amendments to Standing Orders in light of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (NI) 2011.
The Chairperson informed members that the final draft version of the proposed amendments to Standing Orders should be available for consideration by the Committee at the meeting scheduled for 17 January 2012.
Agreed: It was agreed to consider the final draft of the proposed amendments to Standing Orders at the meeting scheduled for 17 January 2012. It was also agreed to invite the Chairperson and Clerk of the Committee on Standards and Privileges to the meeting of 17 January 2012.
8. Review of Forward Work Programme
The Committee considered a proposed Forward Work Programme, plus a briefing paper prepared by the Clerk, which provided the current status of each matter the Committee had agreed to consider at the meeting on 14 June 2011, and which had not yet concluded.
Agreed: It was agreed that the Forward Work Programme should also include the issue of topical questions, and a review of Standing Order 30 on types of Public Bills.
The Committee considered a letter from the Speaker which raised three further matters, as follows:
(i) A review of Standing Order 20(9) on Questions for Oral Answer
(ii) Time restrictions on legislative debates
(iii) Use of electronic devices in the Chamber
Agreed: It was agreed that issues (i) and (ii) should be added to the Forward Work Programme, and that the Research and Information Service should provide papers on each issue for consideration at the meeting scheduled for 21 February 2012.
The Chairperson advised members that the Committee had previously agreed to consider the use of electronic devices in the Chamber, and that it was scheduled to discuss this matter at the meeting in February 2012.
Agreed: It was agreed that the Research and Information Service should provide a paper on this issue for consideration at the meeting scheduled for 21 February 2012.
Agreed: Subject to the above amendments, the Forward Work Programme was agreed.
Agreed: The Committee agreed a response to the Speaker’s letter referred to at agenda item 8.
10. Any other Business
The Chairperson proposed that future Committee meetings commence at 1.00pm, with lunch provided at 12.30pm.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to the change in starting time.
11. Date, time and place of next meeting
It was agreed that the next meeting of the Committee would take place on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 at 1.00pm in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
2.16pm The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.
Chairperson, Committee on Procedures
17 January 2012