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Functioning of Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

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Records of meetings

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6.—(1) The permanent secretary to a Northern Ireland department must ensure that relevant arrangements are put in place.

(2) “Relevant arrangements” are arrangements designed to ensure—

(a)that an appropriate written record of each relevant meeting is compiled by the civil servant, or one of the civil servants, attending the meeting,

(b)that, where an official Ministerial decision is made at a meeting other than a relevant meeting, an appropriate written record of the decision is compiled by a civil servant as soon as reasonably practicable after the decision is first communicated to a civil servant, and

(c)that the written records mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) are retained in accordance with the department’s policy on the retention and disposal of records.

(3) A “relevant meeting” is a pre-arranged meeting set up to conduct official business—

(a)where those attending include—

(i)at least one Minister, and

(ii)at least one civil servant serving in the department, or

(b)where those attending include—

(i)at least one special adviser,

(ii)at least one civil servant serving in the department, and

(iii)at least one person who is not a Minister, is not a special adviser and is not a civil servant,

but this is subject to subsection (4).

(4) The following are not relevant meetings—

(a)a meeting of the Assembly;

(b)a meeting of any committee of the Assembly other than the Executive Committee of the Assembly;

(c)a meeting of any sub-committee of the Assembly other than a sub-committee of the Executive Committee of the Assembly;

(d)a meeting within subsection (3)(a) where the official business does not include anything other than the presence of, or a presentation by, the Minister.

(5) An “official Ministerial decision” is a decision made by a Minister—

(a)under any statutory provision (as defined by section 1(f) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954),

(b)in exercising any of the prerogative or other executive powers of Her Majesty in relation to Northern Ireland, or

(c)otherwise in the course of official business.

(6) In this section “civil servant” means a person serving in the Northern Ireland Civil Service who is not a special adviser.

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