Members of the Commission addressed the Chamber during today’s Question Time. Jim Allister asked for an update on the cost and timescale of the project to redevelop the roof of Parliament Buildings. Pat Ramsey answered the question on behalf of the Commission explaining that Tracey Brothers was appointed to the year-long project in April 2014 with work beginning in May 2014. The contractor is confident that, despite a few setbacks, work will be completed on schedule. The cost of the project will be around £5.4m.
Mr Ramsey also answered Michaela Boyle’s question on the cost of maintaining a PSNI presence in Parliament Buildings. Mr Ramsey revealed that a service level agreement exists between the Assembly Commission and PSNI on the provision of policing. The PSNI applies charges on a monthly basis at national rates. Following discussions between the Commission and the PSNI a number of changes were proposed that should see a significant reduction in costs. The changes, which came in effect at the start of November, should see the yearly cost reduced from £523,000 to £364,000.
Members of the Commission also answered questions on gender equality within the secretariat, savings in the Assembly budget and the vacant Speaker position.