Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 09 May 2012

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened in closed session at 2.09 p.m.

Apologies

As above.

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

The Committee considered legal advice in relation to proposals to update legislation to reform the Office of the Ombudsman.

Mr Eastwood joined the meeting at 2.40 p.m.

Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 3.02 p.m.

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 3.10 p.m.

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 3.16 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed a number of policy issues and agreed to seek further information in relation to some options.

The meeting moved into public session at 3.29 p.m.

2. Chairperson’s Business

Child Poverty Act – Annual Report

The Committee noted that the Child Poverty Act – Annual Report, had not been considered by the Executive at its previous meeting. The Committee agreed to raise this issue with junior Ministers when they attend the Committee on 23 May 2012.

Observation of the Electronic Count at the Scottish Local Government Elections

Mr Eastwood gave the Committee an overview of the visit to Edinburgh to observe the electronic counting system at the Scottish Local Government elections. The Chairperson advised that there will be a demonstration of the system at Belfast City Hall on Thursday 31 May 2012.

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Committee considered a request from the Equality Commission to brief the Committee on the findings of its latest Equality Awareness Survey on 13 June 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule the briefing from the Equality Commission in to its Forward Work Programme.

Committee Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 2 May 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 2 May 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

Proposals to Abolish the Department for Employment and Learning

The Committee considered the responses from statutory committees in relation to the proposals to abolish the Department for Employment and Learning.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the responses to the Department for information.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would speak on behalf of the Committee regarding its consultation with other committees and the Equality Commission and its response to the Department.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed that it would be more appropriate for political parties to address these proposals and that it would not therefore make any comment on them.

Review of Judicial Appointments in Northern Ireland

The Committee noted a response from the Department advising that it would not be making any response to the Review of Judicial Appointments in Northern Ireland.

Investing Activity Report

The Committee considered a response from the Department in relation to the Investing Activity Report and providing a copy of total spend to date on its capital projects.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek clarification from the Department on the information provided.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Committee noted a response from the Commissioner for Children and Young People providing further clarification on figures for enquiries to its legal and casework team.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee considered the list of outstanding issues.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department in relation to the outstanding responses, to remind the Department that the Committee expects responses from the Department within the agreed timescales and if this is not possible then to ask that the Committee should be advised of the reason for delay and the expected date of response.

5. Correspondence

Committee for Social Development

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Social Development to the Department in relation to the Welfare Reform Advisory Group.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department.

Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to the Department providing a copy of a briefing paper from Business in the Community.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department.

Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to the role of PEDU in the monitoring of the Programme for Government.

Committee for the Environment

The Committee noted an invite from the Committee for the Environment to attend a stakeholder event on the Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill.

Disability Strategy

The Committee noted a copy of the consultation document on the Department’s “Strategy to improve the lives of disabled people – 2012-15”.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to confirm its request for a summary and analysis of the consultation responses following the consultation.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.45 p.m.

6. Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund joined the meeting at 3.45 p.m.

Ms Joanna McDowell and Ms Amanda Doherty from the Big Lottery Fund briefed the Committee on its work in Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed.

The Big Lottery Fund left the meeting at 4.14 p.m.

7. Any Other Business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the updated Forward Work Programme.            

EU Panel Meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next EU Panel meeting would take place on Monday 25 June 2012 and that the subject for discussion would be Horizon 2020.

8. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday 16 May 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.15 p.m.

Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Chairperson,
Committee for the Office
of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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