Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened in public session at 2.10 p.m.        

Apologies

As above

1. Chairperson’s Business

Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules

The Committee noted the Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules commenting on the Sex Discrimination Order 1976 (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 in relation to gender neutral insurance benefits and premiums and raised no issues.

Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure in relation to co-ordinated committee visits to Londonderry, UK city of Culture.

Agreed: The Committee is content in principle to take part in a co-ordinated committee visit.

Workers’ Educational Association

The Committee considered a request from the Workers’ Educational Association to meet Members of the Committee during a visit it is undertaking on 6 March 2013.

Agreed: Members agreed to meet with the Workers’ Educational Association during its visit.

COSAC Chairpersons’ Meeting

The Chairperson advised Members that he has been invited, by the Chairperson of the Houses of the Oireachtas EU Committee, to attend a meeting of the COSAC Chairpersons in Dublin on 28 January 2013 as an observer. The Chairperson advised Members that he would be accepting the invitation.

Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Committee noted an invitation from Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure to attend an exhibition of Chinese art in the Long Gallery on 30 January 2013.

List of Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2013

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 9 January 2013 was agreed by the Committee.

3. Matters Arising

Small Business Research Initiative

The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to the Small Business Research Initiative.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Strategic Investment Board Portal

The Committee considered a response from the Department in relation to how the information on the Executive’s Investment Strategy Information Portal is monitored for accuracy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Japanese Cultural Centre

The Committee noted a response from the Department to Mr Storey MLA request to host an event to mark the achievements of Mr Jeff Balmer in relation to Japanese Culture.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Committee for Justice

The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Justice in relation to the consultation on the regulations to introduce gender neutral insurance benefits and premiums.

Mrs Brenda Hale joined the meeting at 2.17 p.m.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

Ombudsman Legislative Proposals

The Committee noted a response from the Department to the Committee’s proposals to update and reform the Office of the Ombudsman.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the response in detail when the Committee next considers the proposals.

Equality Commission

The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to the imbalance in the Equality Commission’s workforce.

Victims and Survivors Business Case

The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to the Committee’s request for sight of the business case for the Victims and Survivors Service.

4. Correspondence

Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure providing a copy of correspondence it had received from one of the Desk Officers in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive, on behalf of the Barros Taskforce Working Group.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that it be included on the “Social Cohesion Thematic Group” mailing list, and the mailing lists for the other thematic priorities, and to request details of the organisations on those mailing lists.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure advising of the Terms of Reference for its investigation into gaps in child protection and safeguarding across the Culture, Arts and Leisure remit.

Committee for Education

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education in relation to clauses of the Education Bill that are relevant to OFMDFM.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department of Education to request a briefing from officials on the clauses. The Committee also agreed to request a briefing from OFMDFM on its role under these clauses.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education to the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to some issues with the Education Bill and the Heads of Agreement.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the First Minister and deputy First Minister and agreed to inform the parties that it was content to be copied in on correspondence between them on this issue. 

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

The Committee noted a copy of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Equality Scheme.

IMTAC

The Committee noted correspondence from IMTAC advising of a consultation on its Work Programme for this year.

Assembly and Executive Review Committee

The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from the Assembly and Executive Review Committee to the Secretary of State in relation to “Government and Opposition”.

Investing Activity Report

The Committee noted a copy of January’s Investment Strategy Investing Activity Report.

EU Priorities Update

The Committee considered correspondence from Ministers providing a mid-year progress report against the Executive’s EU Priorities.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider this further at another meeting.

Ad-hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements, Welfare Reform Bill

The Committee considered a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Ad-hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements - Welfare Reform Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that due to the lateness of the response a draft letter to Ministers would be prepared for consideration at the Committee’s next meeting.

Financial Forecasting Data Outturn

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel providing an analysis of Financial Forecasting data.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to bring back this issue again at another meeting to allow Members time to consider the information.

Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to issues raised by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities.

5. Research Briefing on EU Issues  

Researchers from the Assembly’s Research and Information Service provided the Committee with an overview of a number of research papers on EU issues. A question and answer session followed.

Mr Givan joined the meeting at 2.53 p.m.

Mr McCallister joined the meeting at 2.56 p.m.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 2.56 p.m.

Miss Fearon left the meeting at 3.07 p.m.

6. European Issues – Briefing by Committee of the Regions Representatives

Cllr Trevor Cummings and Mr Francie Molloy MLA joined the meeting at 3.07 p.m.

Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 3.23 p.m.

Mr Moutray left the meeting at 3.33 p.m.

Cllr Trevor Cummings and Mr Francie Molloy MLA, Northern Ireland’s Representatives on the Committee of the Regions, briefed the Committee on European issues. A question and answer session followed.

Cllr Trevor Cummings and Mr Francie Molloy MLA left the meeting at 3.37 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to request sight of the briefings NILGA provides to Local Government representatives in advance of Committee of the Regions meetings.

7. Continuous Electoral Registration – Briefings by the Electoral Commission and Electoral Office

Ms Anna Carragher and Mr Seamus Magee joined the meeting at 3.38 p.m.

Mr Givan left the meeting at 3.38 p.m.

Ms Anna Carragher and Mr Seamus Magee, from the Electoral Commission briefed the Committee on its report on Continuous Electoral Registration in Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed.

Ms Anna Carragher and Mr Seamus Magee left the meeting at 4.18 p.m.

Mr McCallister left the meeting at 4.18 p.m.

Mr Graham Shields and Ms Jocelyn McCarley joined the meeting at 4.19 p.m.

Ms Bronwyn McGahan left the meeting at 4.27 p.m.

Mr Graham Shields, Chief Electoral Officer and Ms Jocelyn McCarley, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer briefed the Committee on their response to the Electoral Commission’s Continuous Electoral Registration Report. A question and answer session followed.

Mr Graham Shields and Ms Jocelyn McCarley left the meeting at 4.41 p.m.

8. Race Relations Order (Seafarers)

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 4.42 p.m.

Departmental officials, Mr Fergus Devitt and Mr Ken Fraser briefed the Committee on the Department’s research paper which highlighted how the issue of nationality based pay differentials in relation to seafarers is dealt with in other EU states and the implications of extending the legislation. A question and answer session followed.

Agreed: Officials agreed to provide further clarification on the average number of seafarers per vessel in the Chamber of Shipping sample, the average number of seafarers per Northern Ireland vessel and the implications for the estimated costs for Northern Ireland vessels. 

Departmental officials left the meeting at 4.54 p.m.

9. Any Other Business

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme. The Committee noted the draft programme for the Committee’s visit to Brussels.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that meeting packs for the meeting on 6 February would be issued on Monday 4 February.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 6 February 2013 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.59 p.m.

 

Mr Chris Lyttle MLA
Deputy Chairperson,
Committee for the Office
of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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