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Committee Rooms: Upgrade

Assembly Commission – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:15 pm on 26th January 2009.

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Photo of Alastair Ross Alastair Ross DUP 4:15 pm, 26th January 2009

6. asked the Assembly Commission what plans it has to upgrade Committee rooms in Parliament Buildings.            (AQO 1925/09)

Photo of Séan Neeson Séan Neeson Alliance

As outlined in question for written answer 2970/09, following queries by Members over the past two years, the Assembly Commission tasked building management branch, the Information Systems Office, the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group and the central Committee office with trying to identify the facilities required by Members in Committee rooms. A project has been initiated by the central Committee office of the Clerking and Reporting Directorate to implement the recommendations agreed by the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.

An accommodation audit of Parliament Buildings is due to take place shortly, which will look at the current use of all rooms and consider options to ensure that the space is being put to best use. The audit will examine the size of Committee rooms, their usage and their facilities.

As part of the Assembly’s engagement strategy, the Commission intends to develop an additional Committee room in Parliament Buildings, which will have videoconferencing facilities and more seats for members of the public. Further to that, there are plans to implement improved audio and video broadcasting facilities in all Committee rooms, together with live streaming and recorded broadcasting of all Committees in public session, which will allow more members of the public to attend meetings virtually.

Photo of Alastair Ross Alastair Ross DUP

I am encouraged by the Member’s response, particularly with regard to having cameras to stream live Committee events. All Committee members will appreciate witnesses having the facility to make PowerPoint presentations. Can the Member give as an indicative time frame in which Committee rooms will be modernised?

Photo of Séan Neeson Séan Neeson Alliance

As I said in my initial reply, the Commission is carrying out an audit of all the rooms in the Building, from the first to the fourth floors. Last week, the group that has been established to carry out the audit had its first meeting. It is hoped that the audit will be finalised by the end of March.

The issue of PowerPoint presentations is continually being looked at. The Assembly Commission wants to further develop and enhance IT services in the Building, and that work is in progress.