10 December 2012

NIABT Board of Trustees Meeting
Minutes of Proceedings
Session: 2012/2013
Date: Monday 10 December 2012
Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 5:10pm.


Chris Lyttle MLA                               Chair
Leslie Cree MBE MLA
Robin Newton MLA
John Rooney                                       Vice Chair
Michael Bell                                        NI Food and Drink Association
James Devlin                                       BT
Alec McRitchie                                   Bombardier Aerospace
Glyn Roberts                                       NIIRTA
John Stewart                                       Director of Information and Outreach
Dr Joanne Stuart OBE                                    Attrus Ltd

In Attendance:

Susie Brown                                        Head of Communications, Outreach and Education
Louise Close                                       Deputy Secretary
Ivor Gibson                                         Co-Ordinator
Peter Hall                                            Secretary


Dominic Bradley MLA
Phil Flanagan MLA
David McClarty MLA
Prof the Hon Dr James Haughey        Norbrook Laboratories
John O’Farrell                                     NIC-ICTU
Richard Stewart                                  Director of Corporate Services

  1. Apologies:

Apologies are noted above.

  1. Secretary:

As a result of an internal Secretariat move, the Secretary, Peter Hall will stand down from this role after this meeting. Susie Brown, Head of Communications in the Northern Ireland Assembly has been appointed as Secretary.

  1. Declaration of Interests:

No interests were declared by Board members in relation to the agenda items.

  1. Minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2012:

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed in principle, subject to two minor amendments being made.

  1. Matters arising:

The matters arising from the minutes formed substantive agenda items.

  1. BT Board Representation:

James Devlin from BT has informed the Secretary that he will be leaving BT in December 2012 to take up a secondment with another company. James will inform the Board when his BT position is filled as this person may be best placed to replace him on the Board whilst he is on secondment.

Agreed: James Devlin to inform the Board of the name of the BT representative who will replace him on the Board.

  1. Financial update:

The Chair led a discussion detailing the current financial position of the Trust.

Agreed: The Board was content with the financial update.

  1. Events:

The Board discussed the list of recent and forthcoming events. The Chair explained that Assembly Community Connect (ACC) is running a series of “Getting to know the Assembly” sessions on the last Thursday of the month and these would be of benefit to NIABT business members. Joanne Stuart had attended one of these sessions a few weeks ago and found it beneficial.

Agreed: Joanne Stuart will provide written feedback on learning points for businesses for these sessions.

  1. 2012 Westminster Programme:

The Board discussed the Westminster Programme feedback report. The feedback was extremely positive with the only causes for concern being the flight times and accommodation.

Agreed: Secretariat will consider travel and accommodation needs for future Westminster Programmes.

Secretariat will also consider reviewing the Programme content.

  1. 2012 Brussels Programme:                          

The Board discussed the recent Brussels Programme. Michael Bell provided verbal feedback to the Board in relation to the Programme. The Board suggested reviewing the accommodation and content of the Programme for future visits. Suggestions included involving organisations from other GB regions, holding an MEP event in advance in Parliament Buildings, garnering opinions of business members planning to attend the Programme and meeting with other regional governments. Other ideas included holding a pre planning meeting with attendees.

Agreed: Secretariat will consider accommodation needs in future European Programmes.

Secretariat will review the Programme content.

  1. President’s Dinner:

The Board discussed the President’s Dinner which will take place on the evening of 7 March 2013. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP has confirmed that she will attend as guest speaker.

  1. Membership applications:

The Board approved two membership applications. The Board also noted that two former business members had responded to exit proformas which were issued to them.

Agreed: The Secretariat will follow up with other lapsed members who have not replied to the exit proforma.

  1. SME Steering Group:

The Board discussed the SME Steering Group and decided that the views of SMEs should be garnered to ascertain how to best engage with them.

Agreed: The Secretariat will draft a questionnaire to be issued to SMEs.

  1. Large Business Steering Group:

The Large Business Steering Group met on 5 November. In an effort to engage with large businesses, a dinner will be held in the New Year.

Agreed: The Secretariat will arrange a dinner on 4 February for the Board to engage with representatives from large businesses.

  1. Bank Account Interest Rate Options:

The Board discussed a number of options for investing a portion of capital for a set period of time. However, concerns were raised about potentially tying up capital which may be needed during the term of the investment.

Agreed: The Secretariat will write to Danske Bank to establish penalties for early withdrawal from investment options.

  1. Coverage of NIABT events:

The Board discussed a paper on filming and transcription options for NIABT events in 2013.

Agreed: The Secretariat will check with the Head of Procurement regarding the issue of awarding filming and transcription contracts.

  1. Charitable status:

The Board discussed a letter from HMRC which related to the non-charitable status of the Trust. As HMRC are unable to provide further information at present, the Board requested that the Secretariat meet with the Chair of the Northern Ireland Charities Commission for advice.

Agreed: The Secretariat will arrange an informal meeting between the NIABT Chair and the Chair of the Northern Ireland Charities Commission.

  1. Any Other Business:

The Board discussed an invitation from the Clerk of the Employment Committee to NIABT business members to join the Employment and Learning Committee and representatives from Northern Ireland Universities in attending CERN in Geneva in March 2013.

The Board felt that it required more information on the potential business benefits of visiting CERN before making this available to NIABT business members. This information will be communicated to the Board via e-mail.

It was recommended that any business member attending the event should report back to the Board upon their return.

Agreed: The Secretariat will provide the Board with more information on potential business benefits of visiting CERN.

The Chair confirmed that the next meeting will be held on Monday 4 February at 5:00pm in Room 21.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 6:20pm.

Mr Chris Lyttle MLA
Chairperson, Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust
10 December 2012