Minutes of Proceedings Wednesday 17th February 2016

Session: 2015/2016
Date: Wednesday 17th February 2016
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 4:05pm.

Robin Newton MLA Chair
Leslie Cree MBE MLA
Phil Flanagan MLA

Norah-Anne Barron, Pi Communications
Michael Bell, NI Food & Drink Association
Nicola Bothwell, NB Chartered Marketing
Chris Brown, MCE PR
Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI, Vice Chair
Barry Turley, Barry Turley PR and Public Affairs
Dr Gareth McGrath, Director of Parliamentary Services

In Attendance:
Louise Close Deputy Secretary
Ivor Gibson Co-ordinator

Judith Cochrane MLA
Alban Maginness MLA
Claire Sugden MLA
Susie Brown Secretary
Noel Brady Consult NB1 Ltd
John O’Farrell ICTU
Richard Stewart Treasurer

1. Apologies:
Apologies are noted above. Stephen Kelly had also sent apologies that he would be delayed as a result of traffic congestion.

2. Declaration of interests:

  • No members declared an interest in any of the agenda items.

3. Adoption of previous minutes:

Agreed: The Board agreed to the contents of the minutes of the previous meeting.

4. Matters arising:

  • The Chair advised that the majority of matters arising from the last meeting formed the agenda items for tonight’s meeting.
  • The issue of car parking for Board members in the Upper Car Park had been raised with the Ushering Services team within the Assembly who advised that with the exception of Board members with mobility issues, car parking passes would not be permitted.

5. Board membership:

  • The Chair commented that Dr Gareth McGrath has been appointed as Director of Parliamentary Services which includes responsibility for Outreach, therefore recommended that Gareth be appointed to the Board.

Agreed: The Board agreed that Dr Gareth McGrath be appointed to the Board with immediate effect.

6. Financial update:

  • The Chair referred the Board to a copy of a financial update for the year to date. This update included information regarding outstanding membership payments.

Agreed: The Board were content with the financial update. The Board also requested that a copy of the Reserves Policy be brought to the next meeting for discussion. The acting Secretary agreed to redistribute a paper on the Board’s application for charitable status to Dr McGrath for information.

7. Membership:

  • The Board considered several membership applications. They also considered one member who have not paid membership fees for 2015/16 and who are now ready to be excluded from membership.

Agreed: The Board agreed to approve all of the membership applications and also agreed to the removal of the member who had not paid their 2015/16 membership fees.

Stephen Kelly joined the meeting at 4:19pm.

8. Strategic Planning Day:

  • The Board discussed the concept of hosting a strategic planning away day following the formation of the new Board in June 2016.

Agreed: Stephen Kelly, Michael Bell and Barry Turley all agreed to consider this issue and present a paper to the Board at its next meeting. The Board also agreed not to engage an external facilitator for the strategic planning day.

9. Membership analysis:

  • The Chair referred the Board to the membership analysis paper which was discussed.

Agreed: The Board agreed that the information contained should be used to form the basis for the strategic planning day.
The Board also discussed how best to recruit members when a large number will be members of existing umbrella bodies who are already business members, this issue will also be explored within the strategic planning event.

10. President’s Dinner:

  • The Board discussed the President’s Dinner which was planned for later on in the evening.

11. Recent events and forward work plan:

  • The Board discussed recent events and also a paper from March 2015 which contained a list of proposed events from a Board sub group meeting.

Agreed: This information will be fed into the strategic planning event.

12. Induction Pack for new Board members:

  • The Board discussed the forthcoming retirement of the Speaker and NIABT President, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA and several MLAs which would result in at least three new Board members following the 2016 Assembly election.

Agreed: The secretariat will compile an updated induction pack for new Board members joining the Board in June 2016. The Chair also requested that letters be drafted to the outgoing President and three MLA Board members to mark their contribution to the Trust.

13. China Programme:

  • The Board discussed the paper on the upcoming China programme in the autumn of 2016.
  • Staff from the Confucius Institute attended the meeting to present a cultural awareness training session.

Agreed: The Board agreed the dates of the programme should be from 25th October to 5th November so as to minimise the impact on MLAs Plenary duties. The Board also agreed to fly out of Dublin and to offer the choice of class of flight, either economy or business class, up to the individual business members, allowing each a £500 subsidy.

14. Any Other Business

  • The Chair invited the Board to join him in the Private Dining Room immediately after the meeting where the Board would be met by the Chinese Consul General, NIABT President and other guests in advance of the President’s Dinner.
  • The Chair confirmed that the next Board meeting would be held on Monday 20th June 2016.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:15pm.

Robin Newton MLA