Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 17 January 2012
Venue: Room 144
1.02pm The meeting opened in closed session.
Mr Chris Lyttle
2. Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2011
Agreed: Members agreed the draft minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2011.
3. Standing Order 69A etc – Assembly Commissioner for Standards
1.03pm Alastair Ross, Chairperson of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, and Paul Gill, Clerk to the Committee on Standards and Privileges, joined the meeting and briefed members on the required amendments to Standing Orders in light of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (NI) 2011. This was followed by a question and answer session.
Angela Kelly from Assembly Legal Services was also in attendance.
The Committee conducted a paragraph by paragraph scrutiny of the proposed amendments to Standing Orders.
1.10pm Mr Maginness joined the meeting.
1.18pm Mr Storey joined the meeting.
1.26pm The Chairperson thanked Mr Ross, Mr Gill and Ms Kelly for the briefing, and they left the meeting.
Agreed: The motion to amend Standing Order 69A was agreed, as amended. The motion to amend Standing Order 69C was agreed, as amended. The motion to amend Standing Order 57(1) was agreed.
Agreed: As the scheduling of these motions in Plenary needs to coincide with the appointment of the Assembly Commissioner for Standards, it was agreed that the Clerk should liaise with the Committee on Standards and Privileges and the Business Office in relation to scheduling.
1.27pm The meeting moved into public session.
4. Assembly Questions
The Committee considered a briefing paper, which outlined some approaches used in Westminster to try to address the issue of late responses to written questions.
Agreed: It was agreed that the report on a pilot exercise by the Procedure Committee of the House of Commons into this matter, should be obtained, and that the issue would be considered further when the report becomes available.
Agreed: It was agreed to give further consideration, at the next meeting, to the statistics on departmental response times to questions for written answer.
The Committee discussed the possibility of using adjournment debates as a means of raising issues relating to Assembly Questions.
Agreed: It was agreed that a briefing paper on this issue should be produced, for consideration at the next meeting.
5. Commencement dates for Acts following Royal Assent
The Committee considered a briefing paper which outlined the information that is available to Members regarding commencement dates for Acts following Royal Assent.
Agreed: It was agreed that the briefing paper should be circulated to all MLAs for information.
6. Review of Standing Order 30 – Types of Bills
The Chairperson outlined an issue in relation to the types of Bills referred to in Standing Orders.
Agreed: It was agreed that this matter warranted further consideration, and that further advice should be provided for consideration at the next meeting.
1.40pm Lord Morrow left the meeting.
There was no correspondence.
8. Plenary debate on proposed Standing Order on Legislative Consent Motions
The Chairperson reminded Members that the Plenary debate on Standing Orders for Legislative Consent Motions was scheduled for 24 January 2012.
9. Any other Business
It was suggested that, if possible, Committee meetings should be arranged so that they do not coincide with meetings of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
10. Date, time and place of next meeting
As the scheduled meeting dates coincide with meetings of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group, it was agreed that the Chairperson would advise members of the date of the next meeting of the Committee at a later date.
1.44pm The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.