NIABT Board of Trustees Meeting – Wednesday 5 July 2017

NIABT Board of Trustees Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2017/2018

Date: Wednesday 5 July 2017

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 4.05 pm


Conor Murphy MLA ,Chair

Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI, Vice Chair

Roy Beggs MLA

Michael Bell, NIFDA

Nicola Bothwell, NB Chartered Communications

Chris Brown, Brown O’Connor Communications

Jonathan Buckley MLA

Gareth McGrath, Director of Parliamentary Service

Richard Stewart, Treasurer

In Attendance:

Maeve Donnelly , Secretary

Louise Close, Deputy Secretary

Gillian Barker, Minute taker


Norah- Anne Barron, Pi Communications

Claire Bailey MLA

Sinead Bradley MLA

Trevor Lunn MLA

Barry Turley, PR and Public Affairs

1. Apologies:

Apologies noted as above.

2. DUP Board Nomination:

  • Board members welcomed the DUP nomination to the NIABT Board – Jonathan Buckley MLA.

3. Declaration of Interest:

  • No declaration of interests where made.

4. Adoption of previous minutes and matters arising:

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

  • There was one matter of interest. An email dated 4 July 2017 from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland confirmed that the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust is a registered charity.
  • The Charity Number is NIC101632 and filing date to submit its accounts and reports is by 31 March 2018.

5. Correspondence:

  • Board to note that RES have decided not to renew their membership.
  • A request was received from Eileen Mullen of Strictly Boardroom on 25 April 2017 that the NIABT host a training event for the project.

Agreed: The Board agreed to host a training event on Friday 12 January 2018 in Parliament Buildings at a cost of £150.00. 

Agreed: Board agreed not to take on an apprentice from Strictly Boardroom at this time, but would review this decision in the future.

6. China Report:

  • The content of the report including the key findings and actions was very well received by the Board.

Agreed: It was agreed that the report should be shared with Committee Clerks, Invest NI and the China Stakeholder Group facilitated by Belfast City Council.

7. Financial Update:

  • The Board noted the current balance of the bank account (£31,517.57). Payments of £100 were pending.

8. Future Governance Arrangements:

  • Gareth McGrath, as Director of Parliamentary Services outlined three proposed options for the future governance arrangements for the NIABT; keep the status quo, outsource the governance and management of the Trust or reform the Trust in order to reduce the cost of governance.
  • He informed the Board that a new Northern Ireland Assembly Engagement Strategy was being developed and the decisions from this meeting on the future of NIABT would be reflected in this new strategy.
  • Gareth concluded by saying that in his opinion Option 3 in the paper was the best way forward for the future governance of NIABT.
  • There followed an exchange of views as to the best way forward for the NIABT.
  • Following the discussion, the Chair put to the Board:

‘In principle, are you in agreement to move forward with Option 3 of the report and that proposals will be developed for the transition to this new governance model.  The paper will also include guidelines on the legal and financial implications of NIABT and provide shape and content of the new model. The transition paper will be brought to the next meeting of the Board and put to the Board members for a decision.’

  • A vote was taken: 2 Against; 9 For (4 via proxy).

Agreed: It was decided that there was agreement in principle to proceed with investigations into the implications of moving forward with Option 3.

Agreed: The Board also agreed to write to the 160 members of the NIABT to inform them that at today’s meeting authority was given, in principle, to explore a new model for the governance of NIABT.

Meeting ended at 5.15 pm