Following the publication of the Panel’s first Determination in March 2012, talks were held with a number of political parties on the issue of the pooling of their support staff. This would allow a member of staff to be employed by one Assembly Member and to provide a service not only to that Member but also to a pool of Party colleagues.
The Panel considered this proposal in detail and has accepted that, subject to certain safeguards, this arrangement would:
• be an efficient and effective way of providing support to MLAs
• enable members to share specialist staff in an efficient and effective manner.
As currently drafted the March 2012 Determination does not facilitate such an arrangement. The Panel has therefore made a new Determination to amend the March 2012 Determination in order to enable a pooling arrangement to be put in place. The Assembly Commission and Assembly Members have been notified of this amendment. The Determination has been published on the Panel’s website. The new arrangements take effect on 1 January 2013 and will apply to the end of the current mandate. The Panel will publish a consolidated document early in the New Year.
Speaking on its decision to amend the March 2012 Determination, the Panel’s Chairman, Patrick McCartan said:
“The Panel took the unusual step to amend its Determination as a result of discussions with Assembly Members. We are anxious that MLAs’ staff support is managed in the most efficient and effective way and we are content that the Determination as amended will provide for this.”
Notes to Editors:
The Independent Financial Review Panel was established by the Northern Ireland Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act 2011. The Panel Members, who were appointed through an open competition, began work in July 2011.
The Panel Members are:
Patrick McCartan, CBE, MSc (Dist), FCIPD. (Chair)
Dr Henrietta Campbell CB, MD, FRCP
Alan McQuillan OBE BSc (Hons) MBA
The Panel is completely independent and not subject to any political control. Determinations made by the Panel are not subject to approval by the Assembly or the Assembly Commission.
Secretarial support for the Panel is provided by the Assembly Secretariat.
The functions of the Panel
The functions of the Independent Financial Review Panel are to make determinations in relation to the salaries and allowances payable to members of the Northern Ireland Assembly under section 47 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and also the pensions, gratuities and allowances payable under section 48 of that Act.
In exercising its functions, the Panel is required to:
- Ensure probity, accountability and value for money with respect to the expenditure of public funds;
- Secure for Assembly members a level of remuneration which fairly reflects the complexity and importance of their functions and does not, on financial grounds, deter people with the necessary commitment and ability from seeking election to the Assembly, and,
- Secure for Assembly members adequate resources to enable them to exercise their functions as members of the Assembly.
The Panel is fully independent and is not subject to the control of either the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Assembly Commission.
For information on the Independent Review Panel and its work visit http://ifrp.org.uk
For more information please contact:
Independent Financial Review Panel
Tel: 028 9052 1252