Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened in closed session at 2.03 p.m.
1. Chairperson's Business
Briefing on Older People's Strategy
The Committee considered correspondence from the Department advising that today's briefing on the Older People's Strategy had to be cancelled. The Committee also considered a response from the Head of the Civil Service in relation to late papers and the cancellation of briefings at short notice.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Head of the Civil Service to acknowledge his response and to advise that the Committee will take the issue forward with the First Minister and deputy First Minister.
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 2.09 p.m.
The Committee noted further information in relation to the Politics Plus workshop on Effective Questioning and Scrutiny.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to run the workshop on Wednesday 5 June 2013.
List of Invitations
The Committee noted the list of current invitations.
Houses of the Oireachtas EU Committee
The Chairperson provided further information in relation to the proposed visit to Dublin to meet with the Houses of the Oireachtas EU Committee.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit to Dublin to meet with the Houses of the Oireachtas EU Committee on a Thursday in May. The Committee also agreed to look at other briefings that it could have in Dublin in relation to victims and survivors of Abuse.
Explanatory Memorandum – Maritime Spatial Planning
The Committee considered a possible subsidiarity issue highlighted in the UK Government's explanatory memorandum regarding a proposal for a directive on Maritime Spatial Planning.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to liaise with the Committee for the Environment on this issue and to request input from the Assembly's Research and Information Service and the Assembly's Legal Services on possible subsidiarity issues.
Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.
Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.
Peace Monitoring Report
Committee noted that the latest Peace Monitoring Report had been published.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the author on the latest report.
2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2013
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 20 March 2013 was agreed by the Committee, as amended.
3. Matters Arising
HMRC Draft Equality Scheme
The Committee noted further information in relation to HMRC's draft Equality Scheme.
Child Poverty Annual Report
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department advising that the Child Poverty Annual Report was laid in the Assembly on 29 March 2013. The Chairperson advised Members that Departmental officials would brief the Committee on the Annual Report on 24 April 2013.
Mrs Hale joined the meeting at 2.17 p.m.
Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse
The Committee noted a copy of the statement made by the Chairperson of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse at the second public session of the Inquiry on 27 February 2013 summarising the work of the Inquiry up to that date.
The Committee considered correspondence from the Department providing a copy of the Department's consultation on the Inquiry's rules.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a briefing from the Department on the consultation document and to request that the Department brief the Committee again when their analysis of the consultation responses is complete.
Agreed: The Committee also agreed to invite the Chair of the Inquiry to brief the Committee on the Rule when the analysis of the consultation responses is available.
Departmental Financial Forecasting
The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information on the actions it has undertaken to improve financial forecasting in the Department.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Assembly's Research and Information Service for comment and oral briefing.
List of Outstanding Issues
The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.
Miss Fearon re-joined the meeting at 4.07 p.m.
Committee for Justice
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Justice advising that the Department of Justice has produced proposals for the rationalisation of the functions of the Office of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman. The correspondence also advised that the Committee for Justice was content with the proposal to retain the current duties and powers of the Judicial Appointments Ombudsman, but combine the role with the Public Services Ombudsman.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would consider this proposal within the Committee's proposals to reform the Office of the Ombudsman.
Investing Activity Report
The Committee noted March's Investment Strategy Investing Activity Report.
5. Age NI and Age Sector Platform
Representatives from Age NI and the Age Sector Platform joined the meeting at 2.26 p.m.
Mr Givan joined the meeting at 3.04 p.m.
Mr Moutray left the meeting at 3.14 p.m.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.15 p.m.
Mr Duane Farrell and Ms Edel Quinn from Age NI and Mr Eddie Lynch and Mr Robert Hasson from the Age Sector Platform briefed the Committee on their expectations in relation to the Older People's Strategy, which they had seen in draft, and on the need for legislation to prevent discrimination in relation to goods, facilities and services. A question and answer session followed.
Representatives from Age NI and the Age Sector Platform left the meeting at 3.21 p.m.
6. Evaluation of Contested Spaces Projects
Professor Colin Knox joined the meeting at 3.23 p.m.
Miss Fearon left the meeting at 3.24 p.m.
Professor Colin Knox briefed the Committee on the evaluation of the Contested Spaces Projects. A question and answer session followed.
Professor Colin Knox left the meeting at 3.59 p.m.
7. Any Other Business
The Committee considered the Forward Work Programme.
Agreed: The Committee agreed the format for its meeting & public engagement at the Balmoral Show at Maze Long Kesh on 15 May 2013. The Committee agreed to invite the Irish Football Association to present its work on Football for All at the Balmoral Show.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to sponsor the launch of a research report on Young People and Interfaces by the Community Relations Council and to discuss the issues arising with some of the young people involved in the Research.
8. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 17 April 2013 at 2 p.m.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.03 p.m.
Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister