Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Southern Regional College, Newry Campus

The meeting opened in public session at 10.25 am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson advised the Committee that, given the volume of business in Plenary, Hansard cannot continue to report on all briefings in Committee meetings without a clear business need.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4. Matters arising

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee noted that the lunch with Queen’s University Belfast to celebrate its high ranking in the Sunday Times University Guide 2013 will be on 23 October at 12.30pm in the Member’s Dining Room, Parliament Buildings.

10.29 am Mr Allister joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that Members would inform the Clerk if they will be attending the lunch.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and of the Committee for Health to the lunch with Queen’s University Belfast.

  • The Committee considered an Assembly Research and Information Service briefing paper on UK Youth Employment and Training Services.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to note the briefing paper.

  • The Chairperson advised Members that the Assembly’s Information Systems Office has confirmed that access to the Committee Inquiry project centre via a tablet device is not possible at this time due to security issues but are currently working to resolve these issues.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to investigate the matter further.

  • The Chairperson advised Members to bring their Inquiry packs to next week’s meeting to allow staff to update the contents.

5. Briefing from the Southern Regional College Newry

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.34 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Mr John Quinn, Director of Workforce Development & External Affairs, Mr Jim O’Hagan, Director of Finance and Corporate Services and Mr Gerry Devlin, Director of Curriculum and Student Services.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

11.10 am Mr Anderson left the meeting.

The representatives agreed to provide the Committee with further information on a range of issues raised during the briefing.  

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for Education regarding the withdrawal of “ear-marked” funding to schools for the Entitlement Framework and the potential implications for the significant partnership arrangements that have been developed between FE Colleges and schools over the last 10 years. 

11.14 am Mr Anderson rejoined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for information on its review emphasising the promotion of indigenous companies.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department on the implications of the reclassification of Colleges to Non-Departmental Public Bodies and the likely date for the resolution of the issues.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.23 pm.

12.23 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

6. Briefing from UNISON on the University of Ulster outsourcing.

Representatives joined the meeting at 12.24 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mrs Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining and Representation, Mrs Nuala Conlon, Area Organiser and Mrs May McWilliams, University of Ulster Jordanstown Branch.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department asking it to explore why the Memorandum of Understanding had been unilaterally set aside; why fair and reasonable access to the decision making process had not been provided; why issues raised with the Equality Commission had not been addressed; and why access to contracts proposed under the TUPE process had not been given.  The Committee also agreed to provide the Department with a copy of the UNISON briefing paper.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the University of Ulster providing it with a copy of the UNISON briefing paper and requesting that it respond to the issues raised in an expeditious manner given the timescales involved.

The representatives agreed to provide the Committee with further information on issues raised during the briefing.

Representatives left the meeting at 1.02 pm.

7. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

1.05 pm Mr Ramsey left the meeting.

  • Ministerial response to the Committee request for information on the time lapse between the Steps to Work and the Steps 2 Success Programmes

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister regarding its continued concerns about the time lapse between the Steps to Work programme finishing and the Steps 2 Success programme commencing and to ask what options are being considered to address the gap and what the Department would do if there was a legal challenge.

  • Departmental response to Committee request for information on the budget allocations for adult apprenticeships.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response.

  • Departmental response to the Committee request that the Department should provide additional funding for Armagh Planetarium.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response and forward it to the Armagh Planetarium for information.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Justice detailing its responses to issues raised by  Committees regarding the draft Community Safety Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment providing Invest NI’s response regarding the Seventh EU Framework programme and job creation as a result of services provided by Invest NI.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response.

  • Correspondence from Training for Women Network (TWN) Limited requesting to meet with the Chairperson to discuss ESF funding issues.

Agreed: The Committee agreed for the Chairperson, deputy Chairperson and any interested Members to meet informally with TWN.

  • Ministerial correspondence regarding the legislative proposals for the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Belfast Metropolitan College’s response to the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence and to include it as part of the inquiry.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the accuracy of Departmental financial forecasting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the nature of the information provided.

  • Departmental response regarding issues with First4Skills.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response and forward it to the former employee who raised the issues for information.

  • Correspondence from a member of the public regarding issues in relation to the entry requirement criteria for a Course at Northern Regional College.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Northern Regional College for comment and to request information on what the enrolment practices are.

  • Invitation to a series of knowledge exchange seminars on Welfare Reform: Implications and Options from October 2012 - May 2012 in Parliament Buildings.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

  • Assembly Research and Information Service research paper on Scottish Universities Proof of Residence.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the research paper.

  • Europa Information Memo on the ERASMUS programme and its budget.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department for comment.

8. Draft Forward Work Programme

  • The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 23 January 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Departmental briefing on the Programme for Government Delivery Plans on 24 October 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Departmental briefing on the January Monitoring Round on 12 December 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the National Association of Head Teachers to make a submission to the Committee’s Inquiry.

  • The Committee considered the briefing scheduled with the Belfast Metropolitan College Football Academy.

Mr Hilditch declared an interest as he is the Chairman of Carrickfergus Rangers Football Club.

9. Any Other Business

None.

10.  Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 24 October 2012, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.12 pm.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
24 October 2012

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up