Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 07 March 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 2.05 p.m.

Apologies

As above.

1.  Chairperson’s Business

European Advisory Panel

The Chairperson briefed Members on the discussions that took place at the Committee’s EU Advisory Panel meeting on 5 March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule briefings from Belfast City Council on the taskforce it has set up and from NILGA on their work on European issues.

Shackleton Barracks Visit

The Chairperson briefed Members on the visit to Shackleton Barracks on 29 February 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to clarify when it was informed about the Land Quality Assessments completed by the Ministry of Defence in 2008 and whether these were available to Ministers before the transfer of the site to the Executive. The Committee also agreed to seek further information on what the Department is planning to do in relation to maintaining and improving the drainage system and how the Department will work with other departments to ensure a cross-departmental approach.                          

Balmoral Show

The Chairperson provided further information in relation to holding a Committee meeting at the Balmoral Show on 16 May 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would hold a Committee meeting at the Balmoral Show providing that the other Committees agree also.

Community Relations Event

The Chairperson highlighted the Community Relations discussion event that the Committee will be hosting on 28 March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the letter of invitation that will be sent to the Community Relations Council for forwarding to organisations. The Committee also agreed to request a list of those organisations to be invited.

Committee meeting on 21 March 2012

The Chairperson advised Members that he, the Deputy Chairperson and some other Members will be unavailable for the Committee meeting on 21 March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to cancel the Committee meeting on 21 March 2012 and reschedule the briefing from the Commissioner for Older People to as early a date as possible.

Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

Members considered a request from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities to brief the Committee on its report on the Filipino Community in Northern Ireland.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to schedule a general briefing from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities on ethnic minority issues, including its report on the Filipino Community in Northern Ireland.

Committee Invitations

The Committee considered the list of current invitations, including the invitation to attend the Local Government Elections in Scotland on 4 May 2012 to observe the electronic counting system in operation.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that one Member from each party would attend and that the Chairperson would finalise the details of the visit.

2.  Draft minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2012

Agreed:  The draft minutes of proceedings of 22 February 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

3. Matters Arising

Possible Subsidiarity issue

The Committee noted a response from the Department providing further information on the possible subsidiarity issue in relation to an EU proposal on Civil Protection.

Victims and Survivors Service

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further   information on the transfer of staff to the proposed Victims and Survivors Service.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarity on the numbers of staff transferring to the Service.

Equal Pay

The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Finance and Personnel advising that it has previously agreed to publish unrestricted memoranda and correspondence relating to the residual issues arising from the NICS equal pay settlement on its website and that it has also passed the Committee’s request to be kept updated on this issue to the Department of Finance and Personnel.  The Committee also noted further correspondence in relation to non-payment of the Equal Pay Compensation to PSNI staff.

Strategic Sites Update

The Committee considered an update from the Department providing further information on the Department’s strategic sites.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek further information on the type of significant private sector investment anticipated in the context of the RUAS and Conflict Resolution Centre developments. The Committee also agreed to request clarification in relation to an audit of former military sites and information on the appointment process for the vacancies on the ILEX Board.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

4.  Correspondence

Review of Budget Allocations 2013-14 and 2014-15

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to the proposed review of Budget allocations for 2013 – 14 and 2014 - 2015.

Delivering Social Change Framework

The Committee considered correspondence from the First Minister and deputy First Minister providing further information on the proposal to implement a new Delivering Social Change framework.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing on the Delivering Social Change Framework into the Forward Work Programme.

Assembly and Executive Review Committee

The Committee considered correspondence from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Assembly and Executive Review Committee in relation to its review of the size of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the number of Government Departments.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister to request an update on OFMDFM’s position following their meeting with the Assembly and Executive Review Committee.

Committee for Social Development

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Social Development providing a copy of a briefing from the Cathedral Quarter Steering Group regarding the Laganside Events Grant Funding.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the briefing to the Department for comment.

Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment

The Committee noted a copy of a written briefing from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on its EU SME Envoy Network Stakeholder Event which was held on 17 November 2011.

Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel concerning EU Structural Funds.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence together with a copy of the report of the Committee’s Panel meeting on 5 March 2012 to the Department for comment. The Committee also agreed to request sight of the responses to the Committee for Finance and Personnel’s correspondence.

Belfast Butterfly Club

The Committee considered a response from the Department to an issue raised by the Committee for Social Development on behalf of the Belfast Butterfly Club.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the Department’s response to the Committee for Social Development. 

Committee for Social Development

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Social Development providing information on the Department for Social Development’s involvement in the Barroso Taskforce Working Group.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request an update on the work of the 4 desk officers employed in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels.

Draft EU Priorities 2012 – 13

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure in relation to the Committee’s request for views on the Draft European Priorities 2012 – 13

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the responses to the Department for information.

Committee for Education

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Education to the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the potential for a Department for Children and Young People.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

PfG Highlight Reports

The Committee noted a copy of Highlight Report Number 5 on the consultation on the draft Programme for Government.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request an informal meeting with junior Ministers to discuss the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration.

Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

The Committee noted a copy of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities’ response to the draft Programme for Government

National Assembly for Wales Constitutional and legislative Affairs Committee

The Committee considered correspondence from the Chair of the National Assembly   for Wales Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee to the European Commission concerning the proposal for a directive on Public Procurement.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Committee for Finance and Personnel and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for comment.

Tabled papers

Abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning

The Committee considered correspondence from the Department in relation to the abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning and requesting that the Committee seek the views of other statutory committees on the redistribution of the responsibilities of the Department for Employment and Learning.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to statutory committees to seek their views on the redistribution of functions. The Committee also agreed to write to the Committee for Employment and Learning to request a list of those who it has consulted with and their views.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to write to the Department to seek further information on who it has consulted with.

Committee for Employment and Learning

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning requesting an update on work of the Barroso Taskforce Working Group.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to junior Ministers.

Committee for Social Development

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Social Development providing copies of responses received from Age NI and NI Federation of Housing Associations to the Programme for Government 2011-2015, the draft Investment Strategy and the draft Economic Strategy.

Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel providing a copy of a briefing from the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit on monitoring and reporting arrangements in relation to the Programme for Government.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to bring this issue back for consideration at next week’s meeting.

5.  Programme for Government 2008 – 11 Delivery Report

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.52 p.m.

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 3.25 p.m.

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 3.39 p.m.

Departmental officials, Dr Denis McMahon, Mr Henry Johnston and Mr Jim Sutherland briefed the Committee on the Programme for Government 2008 – 11 Delivery Report up to 31 March 2011. A question and answer session followed.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 3.46 p.m.

6.  SL1 – The Race Relations Order 1997 (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.47 p.m.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.57 p.m.

Departmental officials, Mr Ken Fraser and Mr Philip Devlin briefed the Committee on the Race Relations Order 1997 (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012. A question and answer session followed.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 4.08 p.m.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that it was content with the draft statutory rule from a policy perspective.

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 14 March 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.10 p.m.

Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Chairperson,
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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