Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting began at 2.04 pm in closed session.
1. Subsidiarity – Maritime Spatial Planning
The Committee was briefed by the Assembly's Research and Information Service and by Assembly Legal Services in relation to subsidiarity issues raised by the proposed EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning.
Leslie Cree joined the meeting at 2.14 p.m.
Megan Fearon joined the meeting at 2.25 p.m.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to inform the House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee that the Committee was of the view that the proposed Directive broadly adhered to the principle of subsidiarity.
The meeting moved into public session at 2.27 p.m.
Apologies as detailed above.
3. Chairperson's Business
Change of Committee Membership
The Chairperson thanked Mr Paul Givan for his contribution to the work of the Committee and welcomed back Mr Jimmy Spratt to the Committee.
The Committee also noted Mr Spratt's Declaration of Interests.
List of Invitations
The Committee noted the list of all other current Committee invitations
UK Minister of State for Europe
The Committee noted a draft programme for the visit of the UK Minister of State for Europe, Rt Hon. David Lidington MP, on Wednesday 8 May 2013.
Committee for Finance and Personnel
The Committee noted a message from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding a briefing that it will receive on 1st May from the Commissioner for Older People on rate rebate replacement arrangements.
Freedom of Information
Members considered media reports in relation to the Department's performance in responding to Freedom of Information requests.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a briefing on how the Department deals with Freedom of Information and Data Protection requests.
Fair Employment Legislation
Members considered the motion debated and approved in the Assembly on Monday 22 April 2013 calling for the removal of the exception relating to teacher appointments in the Fair Employment legislation.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Ministers to request further information on how they propose to address this issue.
The Committee considered an extract from the Press Gazette referencing Northern Ireland's position in terms of press regulation.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request legal advice on this issue.
4. Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 17 April 2013
Agreed: The draft minutes of the proceedings of the 17 April 2013 were agreed by the Committee.
5. Matters Arising
Responses to "Towards a Childcare Strategy"
Members noted correspondence from MENCAP and from Save the Children providing their responses to the Department's consultation on the "Towards a Childcare Strategy" document.
List of Outstanding Issues
Members noted the list of outstanding issues.
Age Discrimination Legislation
Members noted correspondence from the Department advising that the delay in progressing the Age GFS Legislation does not have any wider implications in relation to legal obligations under treaties and conventions.
Social Investment Fund
Members considered again correspondence from WomensTec regarding the composition of the Social Investment Steering Groups which the Committee had previously forwarded to the Department.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to pursue a response from the Department.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek an update briefing from the Department on the progress of the Social Investment Fund.
Committee for Education
The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Education providing a written update from the Minister of Education in relation to the progress of the implementation of a Delivering Social Change Signature Project to establish 20 additional nurture units in schools.
Committee for Employment and Learning
The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning in relation to correspondence received from a member of the public on employment litigation involving the Department of Employment and Learning.
Big Lottery Fund
The Committee noted correspondence from the Big Lottery Fund providing further information on the most recent grants made through the Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme.
7. National Children's Bureau (NCB)
Representatives from the National Children's Bureau joined the meeting at 2.39 p.m.
Chris Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.40 p.m.
Ms Celine McStravick, Northern Ireland Director of NCB, Ms Frances Molyneaux, Northern Ireland Assistant Director and Mr Richard Nugent briefed the Committee on NCB's work in Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed.
Megan Fearon left the meeting at 3.10 p.m.
The Representative from the National Children's Bureau left the meeting at 3.15 p.m.
Alex Maskey left the meeting at 3.15p.m.
The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 3.15 p.m.
The Chairperson reconvened the meeting at 3.21p.m.
8. Child Poverty Annual Report
Departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.21 p.m.
Departmental officials Mr Frank Duffy, Mr Joe Reynolds and Ms Janis Scallon briefed the Committee on the Executive's Child Poverty Annual Report for 2012/13. A question and answer session followed.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to receive further information from the Department regarding the monitoring of the six signature projects and how they contribute towards the reduction of child poverty.
Jimmy Spratt left the meeting at 3.50p.m.
Chris Lyttle declared an interest as a member of the East Belfast Social Investment Zone Steering Group.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to receive further information regarding the super output areas and neighbourhood Renewal Areas.
Departmental officials left the meeting at 4.14 p.m.
9. Committee EU Priorities for 2013 – Draft Report
The Committee considered the draft Report on Committees' EU Priorities for 2013.
Agreed: The Committee agreed paragraphs 1-10 of the report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed paragraphs 11-13 of the report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed paragraphs 14-17 of the report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed paragraphs 18-21 of the report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed the Table of Contents of the report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed an amendment to Appendix 1 and to include Appendix 1, as amended, in the Report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to include Appendix 2 in the Report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to include Appendix 3 in the Report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Report be printed.
10. Any Other Business
Members considered the forward work programme.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek a briefing from the children and young people's sector regarding age discrimination.
11. Date, Time and Location of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 1 May 2013 at 2pm.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.18 pm
Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister