Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.02 am with the Deputy Chairperson in the Chair.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson's Business

The Committee considered correspondence from Mr Mike Nesbit MLA, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, to the Assembly Director General regarding the place left on the Committee's visit to Switzerland by the vacant Chairperson. Mr Nesbit has advised the Director General that the Committee may wish to consider offering the Chairperson's place on the visit to a member of the Assembly Research and Information Service.

10.06 am Mr Allister joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed not to offer the place to a member of the Assembly Research and Information Service and to cancel the flight and the train tickets and recover as much as is possible of the expenditure.

The Committee considered a possible date for the Assembly Legislative Trust workshop for committees on preparing questions.

Agreed: The Committee agreed, in principle, that a date should be arranged for the workshop which corresponded with a Committee's meeting.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4. Matters arising

There were no matters arising.

5. Briefing from the Minister for Employment and Learning on Education Maintenance Allowance and Departmental Priorities

The Minister and Departmental officials joined the meeting at 10.09 am.

The Committee was briefed by Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning, Mrs Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary and Mr Andrew Hamilton, Deputy Secretary, on the Education Maintenance Allowance and Departmental Priorities.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The Minister agreed to provide the Committee with further information on the on-going investigation into the duplication of funding under the employer support programme to Colleges.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a copy of the North West Regional College Action Plan in response to the recent Review of Industrial Relations at the College and to schedule quarterly briefings on this matter.

11.22 am Mr Lyttle joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Departmental briefing on the Disability Employment Service on Post 19 SEN Provision into the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Departmental briefing on the College Development Planning Process into the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Departmental briefing on the Steps 2 Success programme into the Forward Work Programme.

The Minister and Departmental officials left the meeting at 11.33 am.

6. Briefing from DMH Associates on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The representative joined the meeting at 11.33 am.

The Committee was briefed by Dr Deirdre Hughes, Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment & Skills and Chair of the National Careers Council in England on the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

11.22 am Mr Hilditch left the meeting.

11.43 am Mr Ramsey left the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

The representative agreed to provide further information on international examples of good practice.

11.57 am Mr Ramsey re-joined the meeting.

12.05 pm Mr Hilditch re-joined the meeting.

The representative left the meeting at 12.05 pm.

7. Departmental briefing on the Programme for Government Savings Delivery

The Departmental official joined the meeting at 12.05 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr John Smith, Director of Finance on the Programme for Government Savings Delivery Plans.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department providing it with a copy of correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel drawing attention to concerns raised by a number of departments about the potential impact of the implementation of Savings Delivery Plans on the delivery of frontline services for comment.
The Departmental official left the meeting at 12.23 pm.

8. Subordinate Legislation: SL1 - The Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

The Committee considered proposals for a Statutory Rule which will provide the statutory framework for the collection and repayment system for income-contingent repayment student loans.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Department to make the Rule.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

• The Committee considered correspondence from the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) on the review of teacher education in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a joint briefing with the Committee for Education on this issue.

• The Committee considered a response from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the work of the Children's University.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and forward it to the Children's University for information.

• The Committee considered a response from the Department regarding the Assembly Research and Information Service research paper on Financial Forecasting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the research paper.

• The Committee considered Momentum's manifesto on growth of the digital sector.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing with Momentum into the Forward Work Programme.

• The Committee considered a Learning and Skills Improvement Sector press release on Ofsted clashes with the Association of Colleges over the issue of the lack of consequences that face failing colleges.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the press release and include as part of the Committee's Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance in Northern Ireland.

• The Committee considered a response from the University of Ulster to the European Commission Press Release, 'Research and Innovation: Commission widens search for expert advisors for Horizon 2020'.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response.

• The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education regarding the Education Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

• The Committee considered a response from the University of Ulster regarding the closure of crèches.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing by the parents impacted by the crèche closure into the Forward Work Programme.

• The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education regarding the closure of the University of Ulster Crèche facilities.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the correspondence to the University of Ulster for comment and to request how the Department's decision regarding the closure of the crèches fits in with the Widening Participation Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Social Development, the Committee of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister for information.

• The Committee considered a Departmental response to correspondence from an individual regarding the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and forward it to the individual for information.

• The Committee considered a Departmental response to Committee request for additional information following the briefing on economic measures.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

• The Committee considered responses from the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure and the Committee for Social Development regarding the Redevelopment of former Erne Hospital Site.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the responses and to forward to South West College for information.

• The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Monitoring of Post Project Evaluations (PPEs).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to forward to the Department for a response on the outstanding PPE's.

• Queen's University Belfast response regarding European Commission Press Release, 'Research and Innovation: Commission widens search for expert advisors for Horizon 2020' and declining the invitation to attend the Committee's visit to Geneva 4 - 7 March 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to write to Queen's University Belfast requesting further information on its upcoming CERN event.

• The Committee considered correspondence from GEMS NI providing an additional submission to the Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to include as part of the Inquiry.

• The Committee considered correspondence from GEMS NI providing a brief background and Community Engagement Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

• The Committee considered an invitation from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and Northern Ireland Assembly Business Trust to a mid-term review with the Minister of State for European Affairs on the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 6 March 2013 in Room 115 Parliament Buildings.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

• The Committee considered an invitation from the Department for Employment and Learning - Software Testers Academy Graduation.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the invitation.

10. Forward Work Programme

• The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme up to 1 May 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content to schedule these briefings.

11. Any other Business

None.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday 13 March 2013 at 10:00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.29 pm.

Mr Robin Swann MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
13 March 2013

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