Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.01am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are noted above.

2. Chair’s Business

10.03 Mr Jim Allister joined the meeting

  • The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would not speak on behalf of the Committee in the Plenary debate on the Draft Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice on Time Off for Trade Union Duties and Activities.
  • The Chairperson reminded members that the Parliamentary Affairs team from the University and College Union would be available to meet with them after the Committee meeting.
  • The Committee agreed that the study visit and meeting at Queen’s University on 14 March 2012 should commence at the earlier time of 9.45 am.

 

3.  Minutes of the meeting held on 15 February 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4.  Matters arising

  • The Committee considered a summary of responses to the consultation on the dissolution of DEL.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the arrangements for the planned stakeholder event in April, and to defer further consideration of this issue until its next meeting.

  • The Committee noted a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.
  • The Committee considered information relating to a proposed visit to Detroit and San Diego.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would not proceed with this visit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to convey its thanks to Ms Mary Walshok, CONNECT San Diego, and to the staff of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, for their help in preparing background information for the visit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to include this issue in its legacy report.

5.  Briefing from Queen’s University, Belfast, and the University of Ulster on the transfer of functions of the Department for Employment and Learning 

 Representatives joined the meeting at 10.16 am.

The Committee was briefed by Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Professor Richard Barnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster and Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, on options for the transfer of the functions of the Department for Employment and Learning to other departments.

10.21 am Mr Thomas Buchanan joined the meeting

10.31 am Mr Fra McCann joined the meeting

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session when the representatives agreed to provide a copy of the Queen’s University Junior Prospectus.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.16 am.

11.16 am Mr Pat Ramsey left the meeting

11.16 am Mr Fra McCann left the meeting

11.16 am Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting

11.16 am Mr David McIlveen left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to contact Mr Pat O’Neill and First Derivatives to gain an industry perspective on the dissolution of DEL.

6. Departmental briefing on the work of Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division 

Officials joined the meeting at 11.18 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Colin Jack, Director of Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division, Mr Tom Evans, Head of Employment Relations Policy and Legislation Branch, and Mr Stephen Jackson, Head of Strategy and Equality Policy Branch, on the work of Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

11.19 am Mr Pat Ramsey rejoined the meeting.

11.22 am Mr Sammy Douglas rejoined the meeting.

11.23 am Mr Fra McCann rejoined the meeting.

11.25 am Mr Barry McElduff left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the junior Ministers for further information on the reports of the European Priorities Steering Groups.

11.51 am Mr Alastair Ross left the meeting.

11.58 am Mr Barry McElduff rejoined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further information on a number of issues raised during the briefing

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the Hansard transcript of the briefing to the Minister for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Minister to provide an oral briefing on the proposed strategies for youth unemployment and for young people not in education, employment or training before these strategies are presented to the Executive.

12.15 pm Mr Jim Allister left the meeting.

12.16 pm Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting.

7. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 8.

The Committee considered the SL1 proposal for The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

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

8. Correspondence

The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 9.

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Response from the Department enclosing stakeholder responses to the BIS Call for Evidence in relation to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note these responses.

  • Response from the Department on the criteria for assistance with childcare costs for participants on the Graduate Acceleration Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence, and to forward it to Mr John McCallister MLA for information.

  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request for information on the discontinuance of its Professional Software Scheme

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.

  • Response from the Department to the Committee request for reports produced by PWC as part of the longitudinal study of the Learner Access and Engagement Pilot Programme

     Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Written briefing from the Department on its vision for the Further Education sector

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this briefing.

  • Response from the Department on restrictions placed on subsistence costs for Queen’s University students participating in the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence and to forward it to Professor Suzi Jarvis, University College Dublin, for information.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel enclosing a quarterly report on DEL Post Project Evaluations (PPEs)

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

  • Correspondence from Employers for Childcare on the value of social enterprise and requesting to brief the Committee

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule an informal meeting with the organisation.

  • Correspondence from the University of Ulster on UCAS applications for 2012 entry

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister enclosing the DEL Investment Activity Report for February 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on its inquiry into Innovation, Research and Development

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Copy of the response from Age NI to the Draft Programme for Government 2011- 2015 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the proposed review of Budget allocations for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Note of the key issues discussed and decisions taken at the meeting of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group held on 21 February 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Correspondence from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First on the dissolution of the Department for Employment and Learning

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.

  • Response from the Department on funding issues for the Employment Services Board for West Belfast and Greater Shankill

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Employment Services Board for West Belfast and Greater Shankill for information.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Employment Services Board for West Belfast and Greater Shankill to brief the Committee.

12.20 pm Mr Pat Ramsey left the meeting

9. Departmental briefing on the work of the Strategy, European and Employment Relations Division 

The Committee returned to agenda item 6.

Officials left the meeting at 12.22 pm.

10.  Departmental briefing on responses to the consultation on the Blacklisting of Trade Union Members

Officials joined the meeting at 12.24 pm

The Committee was briefed by Mr Tom Evans, Employment Relations Policy & Legislation Branch, Mr Conor Brady, Employment Relations Policy & Legislation Branch, and Mr Andrew Dawson, Employment Relations Policy & Legislation Branch, on responses to the consultation on the Blacklisting of Trade Union Members.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Officials left the meeting at 12.32 pm.

11.  Any Other Business

There was no other business.

12.  Date, time and place of next meeting

The Committee noted that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday, 14 March 2012, at 9.45 am in Riddel Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.33pm

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
14 March 2012

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