Question Time: Northern Ireland Assembly Commission 18 March 2014

The Assembly Commission responded to questions including school visits; Commissioner for Standards; Parking; Inclusivity; and childcare allowance.

Fifty-two schools have visited Parliament Buildings since 2 January 2014.  Of those, 20 were primary schools, 29 were secondary schools and three were special schools.  In addition, one further and higher education college and 18 worldwide higher education institutions have visited for an education programme input. From January to December 2013, 198 schools visited Parliament Buildings.

The Assembly appointed an acting Commissioner for Standards on the passing of a motion from the Committee on Standards and Privileges.  As a result, the Assembly Commission has incurred travelling and accommodation costs totalling £346·84 to date.  The total is split is £271·84 for travel and £75 for accommodation.  A further sum of approximately £225 will be payable in respect of travel and accommodation costs arising from the acting commissioner’s attendance at the Committee on Standards and Privileges meeting on Wednesday 5 March.

On the issue of inclusivity the Assembly received a letter from the Equality Commission in October 2013 which stated:

"It has been encouraging to note that the Northern Ireland Assembly has sustained consistent progress in the implementation of their Equality Scheme and there is evidence of effectiveness in meeting the S75 duties.  There has been sustained engagement and consultation with those directly affected by the policies and this has been a key achievement of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s scheme.  A clear culture exists in the organisation that fosters co-operation with other parts of the public sector and those affected by statutory duty."

The Assembly provides a childcare allowance scheme for staff. The first tier is for children up to age five or school age, whichever is earlier, and is paid at a rate of £38·90 a week.  The second tier is for children up to age 14 and is paid at a rate of £18·90 per week.

You can read the full transcript on our website.

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