Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Good evening


    That's all for today.

    Join us again tomorrow when we'll have live coverage of the Health Committee including briefings from the British Medical Association and representatives of Northern Ireland's GPs.

    The committee meets at 10:00.

    Until then, you'll find the latest coronavirus updates on the BBC News NI live page.

    Stay safe and we'll see you in the morning.

  2. 'Shouldn't we ask for more funding?'

    Colin McGrath thanks the witnesses and the members vote to approve the rules.

    We're due to hear briefing from TEO officials on the work of the Brexit Sub -Committee.

    The members have a written submission but due to COVID-19 precautions that's going to happen another time.

    Some of the members aren't happy.

    Mike Nesbitt asks about funding. He says it appears from the briefing paper that ithe executive's policy is to ask for the same funding it had from the EU to continue after Brexit.

    Colin McGrath

    "Why have we put ourselves through the past four years for the funding status quo? Should we not more ambitious and wish to be better off?"

    "Good luck with the notion that we could be better off," says Martina Anderson.

    She says there have been thousands of groups and organisations that have been dependent on EU funding.

    Colin McGrath runs quickly through some additional committee business.

    He says they won't be meeting until 22 April when they will have a briefing from officials on the budget.

    After a brief discussion on how the committee should proceed in these times of social distancing Mr McGrath ends the meeting.

  3. COVID-19 advice 'changing day by day'

    Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson raises the issue of coronavirus and how it may impact the timeframe of the HIA Rules process.

    Dr Browne says the "advice is changing day by day, and things are tightening day by day".

    "We’re aware of developments and we’re trying to take those into account as much as we can," he adds.

    Martina Anderson

    "There is no doubt some of the restrictions that are in place are going to have an impact on the flow of information," he says, adding that some of that information comes from PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland).

    He says while some of that information has been "digitised" not all of the work on that has been complete.

    Dr Browne adds that as much of the process is being dealt with online, but says there are aspects that can't be.

    He says there will be further discussions with ministers to consider the current COVID-19 situation in relation to this matter.

  4. Technical fault

    We are currently experiencing interference with the audio equipment in the committee room. Please bear with us while we attempt to rectify this.

  5. Applicants will have support of a solicitor'

    The DUP's Christopher Stalford as "cleanly and as quickly as possible with the minimum of stress".

    He wants to know if any group or individual has raised concerns.

    Christopher Stalford

    Dr Browne says they can't give a blanket guarantee that no-one in the groups they are dealing will have a problem with the process.

    "Some of them may struggle with some of these kind of bureaucratic-type processes," he says.

    The official says that applicants will have the support of a solicitor.

  6. 'Don't accept tight timeframe'

    The UUP's Mike Nesbitt says he "doesn't accept" that the Executive Office (TEO) is "up against a tight time frame".

    He says "some of us sat in this room in 2013, which is seven years ago, discussing the establishment of the HIA inquiry".

    "It's been clear for over seven years this piece of legislation would be required."

    He then asks Mr Johnston to what extent the rules have been co-designed with victims and survivors.

    Mike Nesbitt

    Gareth Johnston says the "co-designs with victims and survivors hasn't focused so much on these rules because they are technical, they are legal and we've had legal specialists working on them".

    But he does highlight that there "has been an important co-design process running earlier this year".

    He says that co-design process has been "about the practical things that victims and survivors are going to encounter".

  7. 'Committee up against the clock to approve rules'

    Committee chairman Colin McGrath of the SDLP says this is a very "emotive issue".

    He says it has been hanging around for quite a length of time and "people are looking for conclusion in it".

    Mr McGrath says there's a lot of detail in the rules and the committee doesn't have time to go through them in detail as they are now "up against the clock".

    NI Assembly

    Dr Browne says the rules have been developed with the victims and survivors groups and Mr Justice Colton, who is to lead the redress board, has gone through the rules in great detail.

    Colin McGrath observes that everyone involved in the process of putting together the rules has had plenty of time to consider them "except us".

  8. 526 consultation responses

    The Executive Office's Gareth Johnston then explains some of the detail behind the rules.

    He says there was a consultation and that 526 responses were received, most of which he says "dealt with policy issues" while concerns over the "procedural rules themselves didn't feature in the consultation responses".

    Gareth Johnston

    Mr Johnston outlines some of the documents required from applicants, such as a birth certificate and the "same form of identity required to vote," as well as some of the powers that the panel could use to "compel the giving of evidence where institutions refused to reply" to initial contact.

    He also discusses the setting of payment rates for solicitors, which are based on two considerations.

    He says these were created on the basis that "victims and survivors don't have to pay for advice," and to "discourage solicitors submitting applications which simply don't meet the criteria".

  9. 'Putting flesh on the bones of the HIA Act'

    Dr Browne outlines the latest development of the Historical Institutional Abuse redress scheme.

    The compensation scheme was among the recommendations in the final report of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry.

    It examined allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.

    Today, the members are to consider the rules that will direct the redress board's procedures.

    Mark Browne

    Dr Browne says the rules "put flesh on the bones of the Historical Institutional Abuse Act 2019".

    He says they deal with matters such as how applications for redress are made, what information is required to support an application and how decisions are communicated.

  10. Separate tables and reduced number of members

    The committee chair Colin McGrath opens proceedings before welcoming officials from the department.

    Dr Mark Browne and Gareth Johnston from the Executive Office are invited to sit at two tables separated at the end of the committee table to outline the Historical Institutional Abuse Rules.

    Colin McGrath

    The committee room looks slightly different from usual as there are significantly fewer MLAs in the room, in keeping with social distancing guidelines.

    NI Assembly
  11. On today's agenda

    This is how things look in terms of what's coming up today at the Committee for the Executive Office, but as we know - the agenda may well change as the day progresses.

    NI Assembly
  12. Good afternoon

    Welcome to today’s live coverage of business from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    This afternoon we’ve got the Executive Office Committee from Room 30 at Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

    The meeting kicks off at 14:00 - do stay with us.