Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Monday, 14 January 2013

Venue: Room 29 Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 1.34 pm in public session           

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairpersons Business

There was no Chairpersons Business.

Mickey Brady and Bronwyn McGahan joined the meeting at 1.37pm

3. Draft Minutes of the meeting of 7th January 2013 and 8th January 2013

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meetings held on 7th January 2013 and 8th January 2013 were agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising

5. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Examiner of Statutory Rules and agreed to return to this item during its deliberations.

Agreed:  Members noted correspondence from the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People and agreed to respond to the Commissioner, thanking her for her offer to brief the Committee, but explaining that it was unable to accept it due to our very restricted timeframe

6. Consideration of Committee Position

Members reviewed their considerations of the main Human Rights and Equality issues that were highlighted in Committee meetings of 7 and 8 January 2013.  

6.1 The adequacy of the EQIA

Tom Elliott left the meeting at 1.57pm.

Agreed: Members agreed that they were encouraged that the Department is working on data deficits and agreed that the NI Equality Commission should play a monitoring role in the continuing work on the EQIA. 

Bronwyn McGahan left the meeting at 2.13pm

Lord Morrow left the meeting at 2.14pm

Colum Eastwood left the meeting at 2.18pm 

6.2 Regulations 

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the affirmative resolution procedure should be used in some of the regulations that will flow from this legislation.  

Colum Eastwood re-joined the meeting at 2.24pm 

6.3 Sanctions

Tom Elliott re-joined the meeting at 2.30pm

Paula Bradley left the meeting at 2.31pm

Agreed: Members agreed the wording of a recommendation to address issues raised in relation to sanctions in the Welfare Reform Bill. 

Paula Bradley re-joined the meeting at 2.38pm 

2.39 p.m. The meeting moved into private session.

7. Briefing from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Commission representatives joined the meeting at 2.39p.m. 

Professor Michael O'Flaherty, Chief Commissioner; Mr David Russell, Deputy Director; and Mr Colin Caughey, Policy Officer, provided the Committee with their views on the application of the Westminster Human Rights Memorandum in relation to the NI Welfare Reform Bill.  

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Bronwyn McGahan re-joined the meeting at 2.52pm

Lord Morrow re-joined the meeting at 3.05pm

Human Rights Commission representatives left the meeting at 3.23p.m.

3.26 p.m. The meeting moved into public session.

8. Consideration of Committee Position

The Committee returned to agenda item six to conclude its discussions on a Committee position.

6.4 Nominated Claimants

Agreed: The Committee agreed the wording of a recommendation to address issues raised in relation to nominated claimants in the Welfare Reform Bill.

6.5 Universal Credit

Agreed: Members agreed the wording of recommendations to address issues raised in relation to Universal Credit in the Welfare Reform Bill.

6.6 Lone Parent Conditionality

Agreed: The Committee agreed the wording of a recommendation to address issues raised in relation to lone parent conditionality in the Welfare Reform Bill.

Colum Eastwood left the meeting at 3.45pm

6.7 Benefit Cap

Agreed: The Committee agreed that no recommendation should be made in relation to the benefit cap.

6.8 PIP/DLA

Tom Elliott left the meeting at 3.48pm

Colum Eastwood re-joined the meeting at 3.52pm

Peter Weir left the meeting at 3.52pm

Agreed: The Committee agreed on the wording of recommendations to address issues raised in relation to the impact of PIP / DLA in the Welfare Reform Bill.

Peter Weir re-joined the meeting at 3.56pm

6.9 Housing Benefit

Allistair Ross left the meeting at 4.08pm

Agreed: The Committee agreed the wording of recommendations to address issues raised in relation to housing benefit in the Welfare Reform Bill.

Colum Eastwood left the meeting at 4.21pm

6.10 Other Issues

Noted: The Committee noted clarification in relation to the UN Convention on the rights of a child.

Noted: Members noted the further information on the post legislative monitoring arrangements as provided by the Welfare ReformGroup.

Noted: The Committee noted the background information on the distributional impact analysis provided by the Human Rights Commission NI.

Tom Elliott re-joined the meeting at 4.26pm

Noted: Members noted the clarifcation from the Department for Social Development in relation to the impact of income from lodgers on benefit entitlement.

6.11 The Committee discussed the question as to whether the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill are in conformity with the requirements for equality and the observance of human rights.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to this question at its next meeting..

9. Forward Work Programme

Noted: Members noted the Committees Forward Work Programme.

10. Any Other Business

Noted: Members noted that they were still awaiting a response from the OFMDFM Equality Unit.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday, 15th January 2013 in Room 144 at 1.30pm.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.36pm.

Mr Trevor Lunn MLA
Chairperson, Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity of Equalities Requirements, Welfare Reform Bill
Tuesday 15th January 2013

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