Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

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

Apologies

As above.

1.  Northern Ireland Memorial Fund

Representatives from the Memorial Fund joined the meeting at 2.12 p.m.

Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.27 p.m.

Mr Nesbitt joined the meeting at 2.27 p.m.

Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 2.47 p.m.

Representatives from the Memorial Fund, Mr Dennis Licence, Mr Wallace Forde, Mrs Jane Wells and Mrs Carolyn Mada briefed the Committee on the Fund’s work and the transition to the new Victims and Survivors Service. A question and answer session followed.

Representatives from the Memorial Fund left the meeting at 2.58 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Ministers to request that the Department respond, as a matter of urgency, to the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund in relation to the possible underspend in the Memorial Fund’s budget.             

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 3.00 p.m.

2.  Chairperson’s Business

Child Poverty Briefing

The Chairperson advised Members that the briefing by officials on the Report on the Child Poverty Strategy, which was scheduled on the Forward Work Programme, would not be taking place as the Report is not yet ready.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister requesting an urgent explanation why the Department has failed to meet its reporting obligation under the Child Poverty Act, when it expects to lay the Report and what measures will be put in place to ensure that future reports are laid in time.   

Older People’s Strategy

The Chairperson advised Members that the briefing on the report on the Older People’s Strategy, which was scheduled on the Forward Work Programme, would not be taking place.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information on the delay in bringing the strategy forward.   

Integrated Services for Children and Young People

The Committee considered a paper from the Board of Integrated Services for Children and Young People in relation to their work and funding for their work.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request its comments on the issues raised and to highlight the urgency of the issue.  

NICS Live 2012 Invitation

The Committee noted the invitation to attend the NICS Live Event on Tuesday 24 April, 2012 in the Waterfront Hall.

Children’s Law Centre Invitation

The Committee noted the invitation to attend the Children’s Law Centre Annual Lecture on Thursday 3 May 2012 in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Committee Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

3.  Draft minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 14 March 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

Draft European Priorities

The Committee noted a response from the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regarding the Committee’s comments on the Executive’s draft 2012-13 European Priorities document.

Barroso Desk Officers

The Committee noted a response from the Department confirming that all four of the Barroso Desk Officers are all now located in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels.

Proposed Abolition of Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Employment & Learning providing a list of stakeholders consulted by the Committee on the proposed dissolution of the Department and the transfer of its functions together with a table summarising stakeholders’ views on the alignment of certain DEL responsibilities with the responsibilities of DE, DETI and other departments

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to remind the Department that the Committee awaited a response to its request of 8 March 2012 for information on the Department’s consultation on the proposed abolition of DEL and to confirm the Committee’s request for a briefing on the consultation responses received.

Abolition of Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee considered a memo from the Committee for Education requesting a summary of consultation responses provided by the Committee for Employment & Learning.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the summary of responses to the Committee for Education.

Abolition of Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel enclosing copy correspondence from the Department for Finance and Personnel regarding its role in the abolition of the Department for Employment & Learning, including the potential need for a Budget Bill.

Public Procurement EU Directive Proposal

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment requesting to continue to be kept informed of any additional information received by the Committee on the proposal for an EU Directive on Public Procurement.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

5.  Correspondence

Re-profiling of Capital Expenditure

The Committee noted correspondence from OFMDFM on the Executive’s approach to addressing the financial implications of the decision by the Irish Government to revise their financial commitment to funding the A5 and A8 road schemes.

ILEX Regeneration Company Accounts

The Committee noted correspondence from the Comptroller & Auditor General regarding the financial statements of ILEX Urban Regeneration Company for the year ended 31 March 2011.    

Irresponsible Drinks Promotions Regulations Consultation

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department for Social Development containing the consultation document on draft Regulations that will ban certain drinks promotions.

Alleged Abuse at Lissue House and Forster Green Hospitals

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety in relation to allegations of abuse at Lissue House and Forster Green Hospitals.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to the Department. 

Scottish Parliament’s European Priorities for 2012

The Committee considered a report from the Convener of the European & External Relations Committee in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the recent publication of their European Priorities for 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk would review the Report for relevance to the Executive’s draft European Priorities and report back to the Committee.

Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland- Investing Activity Report March 2012

The Committee considered information on the status of projects and investing activities relating to work at Crumlin Road Gaol and Ebrington Barracks.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department on including spend to date information in the Investing Activity reports.

Abolition of the Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Social Development and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in relation to the abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning.

Ombudsman Proposals

The Committee considered a response from the Minister for Education regarding the extension of the remit of the Ombudsman to include schools.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk would check which education bodies are currently within the remit of the Ombudsman. 

Equal Pay

The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from PSNI Civilian staff updating the Committee on the court action in relation to equal pay.

Prompt Payment of Invoices

The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from a member of the public in relation to the prompt payment of invoices in the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

6.  Linking Budgets to Outcomes: International Experiences

A Researcher from the Assembly’s Research and Information Service briefed the Committee on international approaches to linking budgets to outcomes that may provide possible models for improving financial and budgetary processes in Northern Ireland.

7. Any Other Business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.              

8. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 18 April 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.53 p.m.

Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA Chairperson,
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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