Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 07 December 2011

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened in public session at 2.07 p.m.

1.  Apologies

As above.

2.  Consular Association Northern Ireland

Representatives from the Consular Association of Northern Ireland joined the meeting at 2.08 p.m.

Mr Eastwood joined the meeting at 2.18 p.m.

Lord Diljit Rana, Honorary Consul for India, Dr Christopher Stange, Honorary Consul for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Mr Nick Lestas, Honorary Commissioner for Cyprus briefed the Committee on the work of the Consular Association of Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed.

Representatives from the Consular Association of Northern Ireland left the meeting at 2.39 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the briefing paper from the Consular Association of Northern Ireland to the Department for comment and to write in support of the work of the Consular Association of Northern Ireland.

3.  Chairperson’s Business

Christmas Card List

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to send e-cards to those on the list and to those organisations who have given evidence to the Committee in the past year.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 2.42 p.m.

Committee Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

EU Panel Meeting

The Committee discussed its meeting of the EU Panel, which took place on Monday 5 December 2011.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek an update on all departments’ work in relation to the Barroso Taskforce.

4.  Draft minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2011

Agreed:  The draft minutes of proceedings of 30 November 2011 was agreed by the Committee.

5. Matters Arising

Committee for Social Development

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Department concerning the Belfast Butterfly Club to the Committee for Social Development.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

6.  Correspondence

Chairpersons’ Liaison Group

The Committee considered correspondence from the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group in relation to the Committee’s European Advisory Panel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group providing details of the Membership of the Committee’s European Advisory Panel.

House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee

The Committee noted correspondence from the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee advising of its evidence session on “Co-ordination of social security within the European Economic Area”.

Danish and Cypriot European Presidency Calendars

The Committee noted copies of the draft calendars for the Danish and Cypriot Presidencies of the European Union.

Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration

The Committee considered a response from the Department advising that it may be inappropriate for the Committee to formally meet with the cross-Party Group looking at the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration. The Chairperson advised that there had been discussions concerning an informal meeting and that the Committee office would look into this.

Strategic Investment Board

The Committee noted the Strategic Investment Board’s Annual Report and Accounts 2010-2011.

7. Any Other Business

Programme for Government

The Committee had a discussion in relation to how it may wish to consider the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to all statutory committees to seek their views on the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy and that it would collate a report on behalf of all statutory committees. The Committee also agreed to write to the Department to seek further information on the proposed date for debate on the Programme for Government and Investment Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to receive a briefing from the First Minister and deputy First Minister at next week’s meeting in open session. The Committee also agreed to meet with the Department’s relevant Commissioners to seek their views on the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy in January.

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

The meeting moved into closed session at 3.03 p.m.

8. Proposals to Update Legislation to Reform the Office of the Ombudsman

The Committee had a discussion in relation to the proposals to reform the Office of the Ombudsman.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Employment and Learning, the Universities and Colleges NI to seek their views in relation to the inclusion of further and higher education within the Ombudsman’s remit. The Committee also agreed to write to the Minister for Education concerning inclusion of schools within the Ombudsman’s remit.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 14 December 2011 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.45 p.m.

Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Chairperson,
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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