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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 24 May 2011

Venue: Room 21

The Chairperson welcomed members to the first meeting of the Committee.

Members agreed that meetings should, as a rule, be held in public session, unless otherwise agreed. 

The meeting moved into public session at 1.33pm.

1. Apologies

Mr Gerry Kelly
Mr Chris Lyttle 
Mr George Robinson
Mr Mervyn Storey

2. Committee Membership

Members noted theCommittee membership

3. Staff Contact Details

Members noted the contact details for the Committee Office staff.

The Chairperson introduced members to the Clerk and other members of the Committee Office staff.

4. Declaration of Interests

In line with Standing Order 69(4), the Chairperson reminded members that before taking part in any debate or proceeding of the Assembly or its Committees, a member shall declare any interest, financial or otherwise, which is relevant to that debate or proceeding, where such interest is held by the member or an immediate relative.

The Chairperson asked if members had any financial or other interests which are relevant to the work of the Committee to declare. 

Thefollowing interests were declared:

  • Jim Allister – Member of the Northern Ireland Bar
  • Samuel Gardiner – relevant interests are as recorded in the Register of Members’ Interests
  • Alban Maginness – Member of the Northern Ireland Bar (other relevant interests are as recorded in the Register of Members’ Interests)
  • Oliver McMullan – relevant interests are as recorded in the Register of Members’ Interests

5. Procedures

Members noted the following guidance papers:

  • Guide to the Powers and Operation of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees. The Chairperson referred members to paragraphs 46-49 regarding privilege and matters that are sub-judice.
  • Guide to the Role of Committee Chairpersons
  • Guide for Members on the Role and Functions of the Committee Office
  • Providing an effective Research Service to Committees – Good practice Guidelines

6. 2007 – 2011 Legacy Report and First Day Briefing

Members considered the 2007– 2011 Legacy Report summarising the work of the committee during the previous mandate. Members also considered a First Day Briefing paper prepared by the Clerk, outlining some issues the incoming committee may wish to take forward.

Members considered a briefing paper prepared by the Clerk, highlighting a number of issues and options in relation to the amendment of Standing Orders to provide for a Principal Deputy Speaker.

Agreed: It was agreed to hear briefings on this matter from Legal 
Services and the Research and Information Service at the next 

7. Draft Forward Work Programme

Members considered the draft Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: It was agreed that Committee meetings will have single item 
agendas until the work on the Principal Deputy Speaker has 
been completed.

Agreed: It was agreed that the meeting on 26 May 2011 would
commence at 4.00pm, and that further consideration would be 
given to the arrangements for future meetings on Thursdays.
Otherwise, members agreed to proceed as set out in
the draft Forward Work Programme, and to meet on the dates

Agreed: It was agreed that the Chairperson would write to Party Whips 
to request comments from their parties in relation to the 
Principal Deputy Speaker, for consideration at the next 

Members suggested bringing forward the briefings from Legal Services and the Research and Information Service to this meeting. It was agreed to suspend the meeting for ten minutes in order for the Clerk to check if this could be facilitated.

1.49pm Meeting suspended

2.00pm Meeting reconvened in public session with the following members present:

Ms Sue Ramsey (Chairperson) 
Mr Trevor Clarke (Deputy Chairperson) 
Mr Samuel Gardiner 
Mr Alban Maginness 
Mr Oliver McMullan 
Lord Morrow

The Chairperson informed members that the Research and Information Service could brief the Committee at today’s meeting, however, the Legal Services representative was unavailable. As the Committee wished to be briefed by Legal Services, followed by the Research and Information Service, it was agreed to hear both briefings at the next meeting.

8. Any other Business


9. Date, time and place of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting of the Committee would take place on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 4.00pm in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 2.02pm.

Sue Ramsey 
Chairperson, Committee on Procedures 
26 May 2011

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