Northern Ireland Assembly seeks new insurance brokers
The Stormont Assembly has advertised for an insurance broking and risk management service, days after a court ordered damages against an MLA over a defamatory and untrue tweet.
The successful bidder will source and place insurance contracts and should be able to display a knowledge and understanding of insurance needs specific to a legislature, the tender said. The current contract comes to an end next month.
Mr Justice Stephens awarded Tom Elliott £48,750 in compensation following a tweet by Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan. The defamatory comment related to Mr Elliott's conduct during his previous career as a soldier.
Mr Flanagan is engaged in separate legal action with insurers used by assembly members over a refusal to indemnify him.
The Assembly advert said the "service provider should be able to display a knowledge and understanding of insurance needs that would be specific to a legislature".
It envisaged the contract lasting for two-and-a-half years and beginning on April 1.
It added: "Subject to satisfactory performance, two contract extensions of 12 months duration may be offered."
The successful bidder will provide insurance broking services and insurance risk management advice for the Assembly, its members and their staff, and the Assembly Commission and its staff.
Mr Elliott, a former Ulster Unionist leader and the party's current MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, sued over the contents of a tweet in May 2014.
He had just been interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show.
Mr Flanagan, a Sinn Fein Stormont MLA in Fermanagh, commented on the interview on social media.
Although the comment was taken down within an hour, the message was read by 167 of Mr Flanagan's followers, the court judgment said. Six people retweeted it.
First Minister Arlene Foster and victims' campaigner Ann Travers told Mr Elliott about the tweet.
An Assembly spokeswoman said: "The Assembly Commission undertook the last procurement exercise for its insurance brokering and risk management services in 2011.
"The current contract is due to come to an end on 31 March 2016; therefore the Assembly Commission is undertaking a planned procurement exercise to appoint new insurance brokers."