Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened in closed session at 2.07 p.m.
1. Proposals to Update Legislation to Reform the Office of the Ombudsman
The Committee considered proposals to update legislation to reform the Office of the Ombudsman.
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.
Agreed: The Committee agreed a number of policy issues and agreed to consider all the decisions the Committee has made at its 20 June 2012 meeting.
Agreed: The Committee would consult with other statutory committees, the Public Accounts Committee, the Audit Committee, the Assembly Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman, OFMDFM, the Equality Commission and the Human Rights Commission on the agreed policy decisions.
The meeting moved into public session at 2.33 p.m.
2. Chairperson’s Business
Child Poverty Act – Annual Report
Agreed: The Committee would be briefed by the Child Poverty Alliance on the Child Poverty Act – Annual Report at next week’s meeting.
Briefing on the Review of Victims and Survivors Groups
The Committee considered a request from the Department that the briefing on the Review of Victims and Survivors Groups be held in closed session.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the briefing would be in public session, with the question and answer session in closed session.
Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Bill
The Committee considered a draft timetable for the Committee Stage of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Bill. The Committee also considered a list of key stakeholders provided by the Assembly’s Research and Information Service, a draft letter to stakeholders and a draft signposting advert.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to those organisations on the list of key stakeholders in the terms of the draft letter to seek their views on the Bill. Members also agreed to provide the details of any other stakeholders they wish to consult to the Committee Office. The Committee agreed a closing date of Friday 27 July 2012 for submissions.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson and the Clerk would agree a provisional Forward Work Programme in light of submissions received. The Committee agreed that a signposting advert would be placed into newspapers to invite written evidence at the commencement of the Committee Stage of the Bill.
Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.41 p.m.
Race Relations Amendment Order
The Chairperson advised Members that the motion to approve the Race Relations Amendment Order has been provisionally scheduled for Monday 25 June 2012.
Agreed: The Committee would write to the Department to seek clarification on what further steps officials are intending to take in terms of the impact of the Order on affected businesses here, how the relevant obligation is being complied with in other EU member states and whether protection could be extended further.
The Committee noted the list of current invitations.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2012
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 6 June 2012 was agreed by the Committee.
4. Matters Arising
Committee for Finance and Personnel
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel requesting the Committee’s views on its discussion paper “Maximising the Assembly’s Contribution to the Northern Ireland Budget Process”.
Agreed: The Committee would respond to the Committee for Finance and Personnel indicating that it agrees that the Assembly could add greater value if the issues set out in section 1 of the Discussion paper were addressed and that it supports the preferred option of agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Assembly and Executive.
List of Outstanding Issues
The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment suggesting that it take the lead in scrutinising the implementation of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan and that it would update relevant committees as appropriate.
Agreed: The Committee would advise the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment that it was content with this approach.
Community Relations Funding
The Committee considered a copy of correspondence from Mr Danny Kinahan MLA to the First Minister concerning delays in Community Relations funding.
Agreed: The Committee would write to the Department, enclosing a copy of the letter, advising that the Committee shares the concerns raised in the letter, and requesting to be copied into the response.
Committee Meeting on 27 June 2012
The Chairperson raised the possibility of rescheduling the Committee meeting on 27 June 2012 due to events at Stormont Estate on that day.
Agreed: The Committee would reschedule the 27 June 2012 meeting for either the morning of Tuesday 26 June 2012 or the morning of Thursday 28 June 2012.
6. Equality Commission
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland joined the meeting at 2.57 p.m.
Mr Maskey left the meeting at 2.58 p.m.
Mr Eastwood joined the meeting at 3.04 p.m.
Representatives from the Equality Commission, Mr Michael Wardlow, Mrs Evelyn Collins and Mr Darren McKinstry briefed the Committee on the Commission’s Equality Awareness Survey. A question and answer session followed.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland left the meeting at 3.51 p.m.
7. Victims and Survivors Service
A representative from the Victims and Survivors Service joined the meeting at 3.53 p.m.
Mr Nesbitt declared an interest in that he was the Chair of a selection panel which appointed Mrs Dorbie to the position of Secretary to the Victims and Survivors Commission.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 4.01 p.m.
Mrs Anne Dorbie, Transition Manager of the Victims and Survivors Service briefed the Committee on the work of the Victims and Survivors Service. A question and answer session followed.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 4.20 p.m
The representative from the Victims and Survivors Service left the meeting at 4.20 p.m.
8. Review of Victims and Survivors Groups – Risk Assessment and Audit
Departmental officials and Representatives from Community Relations Council joined the meeting at 4.21 p.m.
Departmental officials Mr Frank Duffy and Mr Fergus Devitt and Mr Tony McCusker and Ms Jacqueline Irwin briefed the Review of Victims and Survivors Groups.
The meeting moved into closed session at 4.24 p.m.
Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 4.39 p.m.
A question and answer session followed.
Departmental officials and Representatives from Community Relations Council left the meeting at 5.03 p.m.
9. Any Other Business
Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the updated Forward Work Programme.
10. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, on Wednesday 20 June 2012 at 2 p.m.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.04 p.m.
Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister