Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Thursday, 23 October 2008
Venue: Room 152, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened in public session at 10.05 a.m.
The apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2008
Mr Shannon asked that the agreement at the Committee meeting of 16 October 2008, to write to Ms Christine Bleakley, be recorded into the minutes.
3. Northern Ireland Events Company
The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr John Dowdall CB accompanied by Mr Rodney Allen, Director of Audit and Mr Paul Sweeney, Permanent Secretary, briefed the Committee on issues relating to the Northern Ireland Events Company. This was followed by a question and answer session. The Chair thanked Mr Dowdall for attending the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to move into closed session.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that Mr Reaney remain for the closed session.
10.45 a.m.Mr McNarry left the meeting.
The meeting moved into closed session at 10.45 a.m.
The Assembly’s Director of Legal Services, Mr Hugh Widdis provided legal advice and guidance to the Committee.
The meeting moved into open session at 11.05 a.m.
11.05 a.m. Mr McNarry rejoined the meeting.
4. Inquiry into the Development of a Museums Policy for Northern Ireland
The Committee was advised of an error made by the Department in respect of the date of the last meeting of the Heritage Sub Group.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department seeking
clarification on working groups established by the Department over the past five years.
Oral evidence session with the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure
Members took oral evidence from the Minister, Gregory Campbell MP MLA, and departmental officials Mr Colin Watson and Ms Hazel Campbell. A question and answer session followed.
The Minister agreed to forward the Committee details of the provision for material to be available in languages other than English at the Ulster Museum.
Agreed : The Committee agreed to ask the Clerk to produce a paper setting out definitions of policy, strategy and vision.
Hansard recorded the evidence session for publication in the Committee’s report.
5. Departmental Briefing on Budget Stocktake
The Committee noted the letter from the Chairperson of the Committee for Finance and Personnel relating to the Budget Stocktake.
Departmental officials, Ms Deborah Brown, Ms Hazel Campbell and Ms Linda Wilson briefed the Committee on the Department’s proposed return on the Budget Stocktake. A question and answer session followed.
The officials agreed to forward the Committee further details on the allocation of the capital budget for sport.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to ask the Department to meet with the Ulster Scots community and the Ulster Scots Academy Implementation Group, with the aim of producing an action plan for taking forward proposals more quickly. It was agreed that departmental officials would present this action plan to the Committee at its next meeting.
Agreed : The Committee agreed to consider the Department’s proposed return on the Budget Stocktake at its next meeting, and that departmental officials would be in attendance.
Agreed : The Committee agreed to consider its response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Budget Stocktake at its next meeting.
Hansard recorded the evidence session.
6. Matters Arising
OFCOM Review and UTV
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Deputy Chairperson, the Clerk and he had met with representatives from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Tuesday 21 October 2008 and drew the Committee’s attention to the Clerk’s report on the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the NUJ to brief the Committee when it considers the OFCOM consultation.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFCOM seeking a three month extension to its consultation.
Agreed : Members agreed to seek a meeting with the Michael Wilson, Managing Director of Ulster Television, to request a delay in the implementation of staffing cuts and to discuss UTV’s role as a public service broadcaster.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister, to seek his views on a broadcasting commission. It was agreed to ask the Minister for feedback on his meeting with Michael Wilson.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to ask Research Service for a paper on the Scottish Broadcasting Commission.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Northern Ireland Screen to seek information on any work it has previously done regarding a broadcasting commission.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Channel 4 to seek information on any work it has previously done regarding a broadcasting commission.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the consideration of the OFCOM consultation be brought forward, subject to the availability of the organisations due to give evidence.
The Chairperson advised that Members will receive an invitation to an OFCOM event being held on Thursday 13 November 2008.
12.56 p.m. Mr McNarry left the meeting.
Northern Ireland Events Company
Agreed : The Committee agreed that the Clerk would draw up a work programme for the Committee to scrutinise the role of the Department in its management of the Northern Ireland Events Company and its other arms length bodies.
Inquiry into the Development of a Museums Policy
Agreed : The Committee agreed that its discussion of evidence to date and consideration of proposed recommendations will be held in closed session.
7. Chairperson’s business
The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to the memo from the Clerk regarding the publication of Members’ attendance at Committee meetings.
The Chairperson referred Members to the Clerk’s note of the meeting between the Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, the Beat Initiative, the Department and the Arts Council on Thursday 16 October 2008.
The Committee was reminded of the meeting between the Chairperson and Committee Members with Roma Tomelty of the Centre Stage Theatre Company, on Thursday 23 October at 1.30 p.m. in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson advised the Committee that he had accepted an invitation from Ulster Rugby to attend the Ulster versus Munster rugby match at Ravenhill on Saturday 25 October 2008.
The Chairperson advised members that he had attended an event on Wednesday 22 October 2008 organised by Northern Ireland Screen and the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund. The event showcased upcoming productions. A copy of the programme was circulated to members of the Committee.
The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to a letter from the Chairperson of the OFMDFM Committee seeking the Committee’s views on the consideration of European issues.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister requesting
information on all the European policy issues which come under the remit of his Department.
The Committee noted the response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Committee’s request for the Executive to bring forward a Northern Ireland Climate Bill.
9. Forward Work Plan
Agreed : The Committee agreed that the consideration of the Budget Stocktake should be covered by Hansard at its next meeting.
10. Any Other Business
Mr McCausland advised the Committee of a press article relating to the publication of the evaluation of the Curriculum Development Unit for Ulster Scots at Stranmillis. He advised that the Chairperson of the Education Committee will seek to discuss the way forward with the Chairperson of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, to ensure that the report will be appropriately scrutinised.
11. Date and time of the next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure will be on Thursday 6 November 2008 at 10.30 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.04 p.m.
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure
6 November 2008