Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings
The meeting commenced at 2.01 p.m. in closed session.
The Committee agreed that all meetings should be held in public session unless otherwise agreed by the Committee.
2.04 p.m. The Committee moved to public session.
No apologies were received.
2. Committee membership
The Committee noted its membership. The Committee agreed the delivery arrangements for meeting packs.
3. Staff Contact details
4. Declaration of interests procedures
The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to the guidance on the Declaration of Interests and reminded Members that:
“under Standing Order 69(4) there is a requirement that, Before taking part in any debate or proceeding of the Assembly or its Committees, a member shall declare any interest, financial or otherwise, which is relevant to that debate or proceeding, where such interest is held by the Member or an immediate relative’”.
Ms Paula Bradley made a declaration that she is employed by the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.
Mr Jim Wells made a declaration that it had been announced in the media that he would be taking over the role of Minister for Health, Social Services & Public Safety in 2 years time.
Mr Mark H Durkan made a declaration that he was formerly a local government representative on a Local Commissioning Group.
Members noted guidance papers on:
- Powers and Operations of Statutory Committees
- Role of Chairperson
- Role and Functions of Committee Office
- Research Services
The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to the issues of privilege and sub-judice. The following was read into the record:
‘Under Section 50 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, for the purposes of the law of defamation, absolute privilege applies equally to:
• the making of a statement in proceedings of the Assembly; and
• the publication of a statement under the Assembly’s authority.
This privilege also extends to meetings of the Committee. Members should note however that privilege does not extend to press conferences or statements made to the press’.
‘Sub-judice falls under Standing Order 73 of the Standing Orders for the Assembly. Sub-judice applies from when a criminal charge (or charges) is brought, or from when notice of an appeal is lodged to the time that the verdict and sentence have been announced, or from when a civil action is listed for trial until judgement is given. In such cases, the matter awaiting adjudication should not be prejudiced by comment in a public session of a committee meeting’.
2.15 p.m. Mr John McCallister joined the meeting.
6. Guidance on timescales for interaction between Assembly committees and departments
The Committee noted the document.
The Committee noted a glossary of terms provided by the Department.
7. 2007 – 2011 Legacy Report
The Committee noted a legacy report covering the Committee’s work over the last mandate.
8. Responses to issues raised by the previous Committee
The Committee noted responses received to issues raised by the previous Committee. The Committee agreed to seek guidance on providing copies of responses to former Members of the Assembly.
9. Subordinate legislation: Delegation of technical scrutiny to the Examiner of Statutory Rules
The Clerk briefed the Committee on subordinate legislation procedures.
The Committee agreed the following motion:
“That the Committee for Health, Social Services & Public Safety, under Standing Order 43, resolves to delegate to the Examiner of Statutory Rules the technical scrutiny of statutory rules referred to the Committee under the above mentioned Standing Order.
The Committee further resolves that in carrying out this function the Examiner shall be authorised to report his technical findings on each statutory rule to the Assembly, and to the relevant Department, as well as to the Committee itself and to publish his report.”
10. Proposed Statutory Rules
The Committee considered the Food Additives (Amendment) (No2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and agreed that the Food Standards Agency should proceed to prepare this Statutory Rule.
The Committee considered the Plastic Kitchenware (Conditions and Imports from China) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and agreed that the Food Standards Agency should proceed to prepare this Statutory Rule.
11. Statutory Rules. SR 2011/ 164 - 166
The Committee took evidence from:
Diane Taylor Human Resources Directorate, DHSSPS
Catherine Donnelly Human Resources Directorate, DHSSPS
A question and answer session ensued.
2.33 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy joined the meeting.
The Committee agreed to write to the Minister expressing its concern at the Department’s handling of this legislation.
The Chairperson put the motion that:
The Committee had considered SR 2011/164 - The Health and Social Services Trusts (Membership and Procedure) Amendment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
The Committee divided: Ayes7; Noes 2; Abstentions 2.
Ms Michaela Boyle
Mr Mickey Brady
Ms Michelle Gildernew
Mr Mark H Durkan
Mr Kieran McCarthy
Mr Sam Gardiner
Mr John McCallister
Mr Gordon Dunne
Mr Jim Wells
Ms Paula Bradley
Mrs Pam Lewis
The motion was agreed.
The Committee considered SR 2011/165 - The Regulation and Improvement Authority (Appointments and Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
The Committee considered SR 2011/166 - The Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (Establishment and Constitution) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
12. Statutory Rules. SR 2011/ 153 – 154
The Committee considered SR 2011/153 - The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
The Committee considered SR 2011/154 - The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and had no objection to the Rule subject to the report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
13. Departmental Brief
The Committee noted a Departmental first day brief.
The Committee agreed to invite the Minister to brief it on his priorities at its meeting on Wednesday 8 th June 2011.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the publication of a Speech, Language and Communication Therapy Action Plan.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the publication of a consultation on UK Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Strategy.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the outcome of a consultation on regulation of unlicensed products containing nicotine.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the launch of the Service Framework for Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Care.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the transfer of responsibility for childminding and daycare provision from the Department of Education and agreed to return to this matter at its next meeting.
The Committee noted a consultation document on the Western Health and Social Care Trust’s Personal & Public Involvement (PPI) strategy.
The Committee noted correspondence from the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust regarding its Draft Corporate Plan 2011-2015.
The Committee noted correspondence from the General Medical Council regarding a seminar on good management practice and prescribing for doctors.
The Committee noted correspondence from Business in the Community seeking a meeting with the Committee and agreed to invite the organisation to a reception for healthcare related groups to be arranged in the autumn.
The Committee noted correspondence from Age NI seeking a meeting with the Committee and agreed to invite the organisation to an informal meeting.
The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Seamus Hughes and the BDA regarding subordinate legislation in relation to the regulation of private dentistry and agreed to return to this matter at its next meeting. The Committee also agreed to write to the Department for an update on the issue.
The Committee noted an invitation to the seminar ‘Where now for Health in Northern Ireland?’ being held in the Stormont Hotel on 1st June 2011. The Chairperson advised that she would not be attending.
The Committee noted a copy of the NI Social Care Council News March 2011.
15. Draft Forward Work Programme
The Committee agreed that the following issues be included in the forward work programme:
- A visit to Altnagelvin hospital.
- A presentation from Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT) on 1 June 2011.
- Report on the independent inquiry into the recall of dentistry patients.
- RQIA report on the reporting arrangements for x-rays.
- Departmental briefing on current and capital budget, including the implications of the McKinsey report and PEDU review of the Department.
Members of the Committee discussed other issues which they would wish to be taken forward:
- Child protection and the sharing of information
- The outcome of the review of consultants’ bonuses due in July 2011
- Recruitment of staff in rural areas
- Fire and Rescue Service – funding for Desertcreat training colleage and efficiency issues
- Care of the elderly and domiciliary care packages
- Respite facilities for carers
- Staff morale
- Departmental capital priorities
The Committee agreed to write to the Department asking it to reconsider its decision regarding funding for music therapy.
The Committee agreed to write to the Health & Social Care Trusts regarding the funding of posts by private agencies.
The Committee agreed to host a reception in the Long Gallery in the autumn to facilitate meetings with stakeholder groups.
The Committee agreed to hold monthly informal meetings to facilitate meetings with stakeholder groups.
The Committee agreed it was content that the Chair would meet with groups on behalf of the Committee as required.
16. Draft Press release
The Committee agreed a press release.
17. Any Other Business
No other business was discussed.
18. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 1 st June 2011 at 2.00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.21 p.m.