Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened in public session at 2.06 p.m.
1. Chairperson's Business
Irish Minister for EU Affairs
The Committee noted the reminder for the briefing from the Irish Minister for EU Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, which the Committee and the Assembly and Business Trust are hosting on 6 March 2013.
The Committee noted invitation to meet with students from the International Conflict Research Institute at the University of Ulster on Thursday 7 March 2013. Members will notify Committee staff if they are available to attend.
Workers' Educational Association (WEA)
The Committee noted the briefing paper in relation to the WEA visit on Wednesday 6 March 2013 in relation to its programme called "Leadership in a Shared Society". Members will notify Committee staff of their availability to attend a meeting with WEA.
Houses of Oireachtas EU Committee
Agreed: The Committee agreed that Committee staff would scope a visit to Dublin to meet with the Houses of the Oireachtas EU Committee after Easter recess.
National Children's Bureau
The Committee considered a request from the National Children's Bureau to brief the Committee on its work on measuring impact.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule in a briefing from the National Children's Bureau on its work.
"Towards a Childcare Strategy"
The Committee considered correspondence from the Department advising that officials are able to brief the Committee on the Department's publication "Towards a Childcare Strategy" at next week's meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule in the briefing at next week's meeting.
List of Invitations
The Committee noted the list of current invitations.
2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 20 February 2013
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 20 February 2013 was agreed by the Committee.
3. Matters Arising
St Patrick's Day
The Chairperson advised Members that Brenda Hale and Colum Eastwood would be representing the Committee at the St Patrick's Day events in Washington.
Programme for Government
The Committee considered a response from the Department in relation to the Committee's request to be briefed on the Department's progress against its Programme for Government commitments. The response advised that Ministers were keen that officials brief the Committee at its convenience.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule briefings from the Department on the progress of OFMDFM's Programme for Government commitments on 6 and 13 March 2013.
Desk Officers and Thematic Groups
The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to the Committee's letter welcoming the EU Desk Officers' mailings to thematic groups. The response advises that Desk Officers are to prepare a quarterly report to the Barroso Taskforce Working Group which will be provided to the Committee.
Committee for Education
The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Education advising that in relation to the Education Bill, the Minister for Education has written to OFMDFM indicating that he is to bring forward an amendment to the Executive that will give OFMDFM responsibility for all aspects of the Tribunal.
List of Outstanding Issues
The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.
Miss Fearon joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.
Departmental Savings Plans
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to the monitoring of Departmental Savings Delivery Plans.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 2.16 p.m.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for its comments on shortfalls and any measures they hope to take to address them. The Committee also agreed to ask how the savings will impact on frontline services within OFMDFM.
Mrs Hale left the meeting at 2.17 p.m.
Contested Spaces Project
The Committee considered correspondence from the Department providing an update in relation to the monitoring and evaluation of the Contested Spaces Project.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from Professor Knox, who carried out the evaluation.
Mr Eastwood re-joined the meeting at 2.19 p.m.
Maze/Long Kesh Update
The Committee considered correspondence from the Department providing January's update on progress at the Maze/Long Kesh site.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information on the likely timeframe for a decision on the planning application for the Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre.
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to the Department in relation to the job creation projects announced by Ministers in October 2012.
Post Project Evaluations
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel providing further information on outstanding Post Project Evaluations.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek its comments on their outstanding Post Project Evaluations.
5. Financial Forecasting
A Researcher from the Assembly's Research and Information Service briefed the Committee on a research paper in relation to OFMDFM's financial forecasting. A question and answer session followed.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 2.43 p.m.
Mrs Hale re-joined the meeting at 2.37 p.m.
Mr Givan left the meeting at 2.46 p.m.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek its views on the issues raised in the Research paper.
Mr Eastwood re-joined the meeting at 3.03 p.m.
Miss Fearon left the meeting at 3.08 p.m.
Researchers from the Assembly's Research and Information Service briefed Members on the principle of subsidiarity and provided an overview of the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure.
The meeting moved into closed session at 3.14 p.m.
7. Proposals to Update Legislation to Reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman
The NI Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman joined the meeting at 3.15 p.m.
Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 3.19 p.m.
Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 3.24 p.m.
Mr Givan re-joined the meeting at 3.33 p.m.
Miss Fearon re-joined the meeting at 3.37 p.m.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 4.03 p.m.
Mr Givan left the meeting at 4.04 p.m.
The Committee discussed with Dr Tom Frawley, Ombudsman and Mrs Marie Anderson, Deputy Ombudsman a range of issues in relation to the Committee's policy proposals.
The NI Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman joined the meeting at 4.18 p.m.
The Committee had a further discussion regarding its policy proposals.
Agreed: The Committee agreed a number of policy issues and agreed that it would consider the outstanding issues on 20 March for final decisions.
8. Any Other Business
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 6 March 2013 at 2 p.m.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.40 p.m.
Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister