Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened in closed session at 2.04 p.m.
1. Forward Work Programme
The Committee considered the revised draft forward work programme.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to take a briefing from the Rural Community Network on the draft Disability Strategy at today’s meeting and briefings from Disability Action and the Equality Commission on this issue on 21 November 2012.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to reschedule the briefing from the Department on the extension of protection against discrimination on the grounds of age until the New Year and a reschedule a briefing from the Equality Commission on the same issue.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Department on 28 November in relation to the introduction of Gender Neutral Insurance Benefits and a briefing from the Equality Commission on this issue on 21 November 2012.
Agreed:The Committee considered a request from the Department to postpone the briefing scheduled for 28 November on the Monitoring of the Programme for Government. The Committee agreed not to reschedule the briefing.
The meeting moved into public session at 2.08 p.m.
2. European Issues
Mrs Diane Dodds MEP and Ms Martina Anderson MEP joined the meeting at 2.09 p.m.
Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.10 p.m.
Mrs Diane Dodds MEP and Ms Martina Anderson MEP briefed the Committee on their work and upcoming European issues. A question and answer session followed.
Mrs Diane Dodds MEP left the meeting at 2.52 p.m.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 2.56 p.m.
Mrs Hale left the meeting at 2.57 p.m.
Mr McCallister joined the meeting at 3.07 p.m.
Ms Anderson MEP left the meeting at 3.15 p.m.
3. Chairperson’s Business
Committee Stakeholder Event
The Committee considered a short report of the stakeholder event held on Wednesday 7 November 2012.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department regarding rural-proofing of the Social Investment Fund and the Shared Spaces Programme.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to request a research paper from the Assembly’s Research and Information Service on rural proofing.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request its assessment of Employers for Childcare’s report, Counting the Cost, and to request Department’s views on the report.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities on the issues it raised at the stakeholder event.
Miss Fearon left the meeting at 3.20 p.m.
European Parliament Information Office
The Committee noted an invitation from the European Parliament Information Office in the UK to attend an event on 16 November 2012 on the future of EU funding..
Rock the Vote
The Committee noted the invitation to a presentation from Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote.
Committee for Employment and Learning
The Committee noted an invitation from the Committee for Employment and Learning to a presentation by Dr Stephen Myers, Director of Accelerators and Technology ant CERN.
Employers for Childcare
The Committee noted an invitation from Employers for Childcare to attend the launch of the Northern Ireland Childcare Cost Survey 2012 on Monday 26 November 2012.
Agreed:The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson would agree this issue.
Child Poverty Alliance
The Committee considered a request from the Child Poverty Alliance for a copy of the Department’s response to their analysis of the Child Poverty Act Report.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the Department’s response to the Child Poverty Alliance.
List of Invitations
The Committee noted the list of current invitations.
4. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2012
Agreed:The draft minutes of proceedings of 24 October 2012 was agreed by the Committee.
5. Matters Arising
The Committee noted a report on the meeting of the ECUK Forum in Parliament Buildings on 22 October 2012.
Mrs Hale re-joined the meeting at 3.26 p.m.
Mr Givan left the meeting at 3.26 p.m.
The Committee considered a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the Committee’s request for the Department’s view on the steps being undertaken by the Equality Commission to address the religious imbalance within its workforce.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to bring the issue up when Ministers are next before the Committee.
Miss Fearon re-joined the meeting at 3.32 p.m.
Investment Strategy Update
The Committee considered an update report on the Investment Strategy showing progress up to September 2012.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward the update to relevant statutory committees.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 3.33 p.m.
Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department advising of two further proposed amendments to Clauses 9 and 19 of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill.
The Committee also noted a copy of the amendments which were tabled on Tuesday 13 November by the Department.
Committee for Justice
The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Justice in relation to the Committee’s consultation on its proposals to reform the office of the Ombudsman.
List of Outstanding Issues
The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.
Committee for Regional Development
Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward a response from the Department to the Committee for Regional Development in relation to Shop Mobility Funding.
Committee for the Environment
Agreed:The Committee agreed to forward a response from the Department to the Committee for the Environment in relation to concerns regarding the European Commission’s proposed Road Worthiness Package.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to postpone consideration of the Committee for the Environment’s correspondence regarding the Planning Appeals Commission and George Best City Airport.
Assembly and Executive Review Committee
The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from the Assembly and Executive Review Committee to the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the Committee’s Review of the number of Northern Ireland Government Departments.
Email from Member of the Public
The Committee considered an email from a member of the public in relation to the recent shooting of David Black.
Agreed:The Committee agreed that party leads would address this correspondence.
Business in the Community
The Committee noted a copy of Business in the Community’s “CR Matters” magazine.
The Committee noted a copy of the latest issue of the Community Relations Council’s “Shared Space: Journal on peace, conflict and community relations in Northern Ireland”.
7. SEUPB Consultation on Peace Funding
Representatives of the Rural Community Network joined the meeting at 3.39 p.m.
Mr Michael Hughes and Ms Ali McAllister from the Rural Community Network briefed the Committee on issues arising from SEUPB’s consultation on lessons learned from Peace III and the themes and delivery structures for an anticipated Peace IV. A question and answer session followed.
8. Draft Disability Strategy
Mrs Hale left the meeting at 4.15 p.m.
Mr Michael Hughes and Ms Ali McAllister from the Rural Community Network briefed the Committee on its response to the consultation on the draft Disability Strategy. A question and answer session followed.
Representatives of the Rural Community Network left the meeting at 4.30 p.m.
9. Any Other Business
The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that he attended an Ofcom briefing on its research into postal services.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request its views on Consumer Focus Post’s report “A front office for government services: the Post office network in Northern Ireland”.
Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to request an update from the Department on the timing of the proposed amalgamation of Consumer Focus Post with the Consumer Council.
10. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 21 November 2012 at 2 p.m.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.31p.m.
Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister