Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 09 November 2011

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in closed session at 10.04 am.

1. Briefing from Assembly Legal Service on Re-contracting for Apprenticeships NI and Training for Success

The Committee was briefed by a representative of Assembly Legal Service on the implications of the sub-judice rule in the Committee consideration of the re-contracting process for Apprenticeships NI and Training for Success.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

10.13 am Mrs Sandra Overend joined the meeting.
10.15 am Ms Michelle Gildernew joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a further briefing on the re-contracting process.

The meeting moved into public session at 10.25 am.

2. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

3. Chair’s Business

The Chairperson updated members with details of his attendance at various events and meetings on behalf of the Committee, including a meeting with representatives of the North West Regional College and the launch of the Northern Ireland Knowledge Economy Index.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the North West Regional College to request a copy of the Curriculum Audit relating to recent redundancies.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister regarding the Terms of Reference for the recent PWC Review of the North West Regional College.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from Mr Steve Orr, Director of NISP Connect.

4. Minutes of the meetings held on 19 October 2011 and 25 October 2011

Agreed: The minutes of both meetings were agreed.

5. Matters arising

The Committee considered a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the authors of the EURES report on cross-border undergraduate education.

6. Departmental briefing on the outcome of the October Monitoring Round.

A Departmental official joined the meeting at 10.33 am.

10.34 am Mr Chris Lyttle joined the meeting.

The Committee was briefed by Mr John Smith, Director of Finance, on the outcome of the Department’s October Monitoring Round submission.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

10.51 am Mrs Sandra Overend left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting further information on issues raised.

The official left the meeting at 11.01 am.

7. Briefing from the Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.02 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Bill McGinnis, Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills, and Professor Richard Barnett, Chair of the Employment and Skills Advisory Task Group, on the role of the Adviser and his latest Report.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

11.32 am Mrs Sandra Overend rejoined the meeting.

The representatives left the meeting at 11.54 am.

8. Departmental briefing on Essential Skills and Adult Literacy and Numeracy

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 11.55 am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Mary McIvor, Director of Further Education, Mr Daryl Young, Deputy Director of Further Education, Ms Harriet Ferguson, Head of Curriculum and Essential Skills Policy Branch, and Ms Angela Whiteside, Quality Improvement Adviser, on the Department’s Essential Skills strategy.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

12.28 pm Mr Thomas Buchanan left the meeting.
12.30 pm Ms Michelle Gildernew left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to express its concerns on a number of issues discussed.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 12.36 pm.

9. Briefing from Assembly Research and Information Service on potential locations for a Committee visit to Europe

The Committee was briefed by a representative of Assembly Research on locations in Europe with best practice examples of improvement in employment relating to economic and social growth, for consideration for a fact-finding visit.

12.38 pm Mr Chris Lyttle left the meeting.
12.39 pm Mr Thomas Buchanan rejoined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to defer consideration of this visit until the New Year, after further research had been completed.

1.02 pm Mr Alastair Ross left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson should attend an EU Employment Conference during a Northern Ireland Assembly Business Trust visit to Brussels.

10. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following Statutory Rules, on which the Examiner of Statutory Rules had no comment by way of technical scrutiny:

  • The Committee considered the Statutory Rule laid in Draft, The Labour Relations Agency (Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures) (Jurisdictions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011
    Question put and Agreed:
    “That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered the Statutory Rule laid in Draft, The Labour Relations Agency (Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures) (Jurisdictions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 , and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly.”
  • The Committee considered the Statutory Rule, SR 2011 No. 350: The Agency Workers Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.
    Question put and Agreed:
    “That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2011 No.350, The Agency Workers Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 , and has no objection to the rule.”
  • The Committee considered the Statutory Rule, SR 2011 No. 369: The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.
    Question put and Agreed:
    “That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2011 No.369, The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, and has no objection to the rule.”
  • The Committee considered the Statutory Rule, SR 2011 No. 372: The Further Education Teachers’ (Eligibility) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.
    Question put and Agreed:
    “That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2011 No.372, The Further Education Teachers’ (Eligibility) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011and has no objection to the rule.”
  • The Committee considered the Statutory Rule, SR 2011 No. 376: The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011. The Chairperson restated the opposition of his party to this Rule.
    Question put and Agreed:
    “That the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 2011 No. 376, The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, and has no objection to the rule.”

11. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Response from the Department on opportunities for EU engagement.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further information.
    Agreed: The Committee also agreed to write to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minster to request a copy of the overall Northern Ireland response.
  • Written briefing from the Department on the NI European Social Fund.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Copy of the Department’s response to the consultants’ report on the future sustainability of St Mary’s University College.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request for further information on the Training for Success programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider this response at agenda item 1.
  • Response from the Minister to the Committee’s request for his evaluation of Parkanaur College.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Response from the Minister to the role of the Attorney General in the re-contracting process of Training for Success.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Letter from the Department advising that, due to budgetary pressures, the Department has introduced a pause in recruitment to the Step Ahead programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Department on student living cost issues.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request for an update on the Programme Led Apprenticeship programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the response.
  • Update from the Department on Apprenticeships for November 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this update.
  • ECORYS Report from the Department on skills required for the next ten years.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this report.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on its procurement process for Training for Success.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request to attend staff briefing sessions on Welfare Reform.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to accept a written briefing.
  • Notes of decisions taken at the meeting of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group on 18 October 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this information.
  • Discussion paper from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Executive’s Review of the Financial Process.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that individual members should respond directly.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise Trade and Investment in response to the Committee’s request for further information on Framework Programme 7.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Post-19 Lobby Group requesting a meeting with the Committee to discuss transition issues for young people with learning disabilities.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a meeting.
  • Correspondence from employees and former employees of the North West Regional College regarding industrial relations issues at the College.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from a lecturer at Belfast Metropolitan College requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee on the wind turbine industry.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing.
  • Letter from Colleges NI thanking the Committee for sponsoring the Long Gallery event on 24 October 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the House of Lords Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee inviting submissions to its new inquiry on Europe’s Higher Education sector.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to prepare a submission.
    Agreed: The Committee also agreed to circulate the call for evidence to the local universities.
  • Correspondence from Learn and Grow to request a meeting with the Committee.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would be inappropriate to schedule a meeting.
  • Request from Advice NI for the Chairperson to speak at its AGM.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should speak at the event.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on prompt payment of invoices.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure on the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG).
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the (WPFG) delegation.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Regional Development on the Post-19 Lobby Group.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Learning Skills and Development Agency on the European Mathematics Project.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure requesting the Committee to forward to the Minister a letter inviting submissions to its Inquiry on maximising the potential of the Creative Industries.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Minister.
    Agreed: The Committee also agreed to write to the Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure requesting an opportunity to consult before the inquiry report is finalised
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise Trade and Investment on future university funding in Northern Ireland and its impact on the DETI budget.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from Training by Choice on funding issues.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the funding of four Thematic Desk Officer posts in Brussels.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Southern Regional College requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing.
  • Correspondence from the Minister to the Committee for Social Development on its Fuel Poverty event, copied to the Committee for information.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.

The Committee also noted a number of invitations received.

12. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme for the remainder of the calendar year.

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

13. Any Other Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content with the quotation from Assembly Broadcasting for filming the MasterChef event on 29 November 2011.

14. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 23 November 2011, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.16 pm.

Temporary Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
23 November 2011

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