Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Venue: Room 30
The meeting opened in public session at 2.03 p.m.
2. Chairperson’s Business
Chairpersons’ Liaison Group
The Committee noted a paper from the Central Committee Office in relation the order in which parties will Chair the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
The Chairperson expressed his and the Committee’s condolences to Mr Francie Molloy following a family bereavement.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 1 June 2011
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 1 June 2011 were agreed by the Committee.
4. Matters Arising
Budget 2011-15 Key Statistics
The Committee noted correspondence from the Department providing clarification on a number of issues raised following the June Monitoring Round and Budget briefing.
The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues and correspondence.
Visit to Maze/Long Kesh
The Chairperson thanked Members for their attendance at last week’s visit to the Maze/Long Kesh site. The Chairperson also placed on record his thanks to the staff at the site and to the Ulster Aviation Society.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Ulster Aviation Society to give evidence to the Committee following the establishment of the Maze/Long Kesh Corporation Board.
Briefings from the Electoral Office and the Electoral Commission
The Chairperson advised Members that an informal meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer has been scheduled for 1p.m. on Wednesday 29 June 2011. The Chairperson also advised that the Electoral Commission are happy to brief the Committee once it has reported on the recent elections.
Devolution of Corporation Tax
The Committee considered a research paper commissioned by the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Devolution of Corporation Tax.
Mr Spratt joined the meeting at 2.13 p.m.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel to request that it receives a copy of any response that it makes to the consultation.
Requests to Brief the Committee
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule briefings from the Construction Employers Federation, the Consumer Council and the Rural Community Network.
Assembly Private Secretaries
The Committee noted a paper on the Protocol for the Appointment, Role and Functions of Assembly Private Secretaries.
Committee for Employment and Learning
The Committee considered a letter from the Chairperson of the Committee for Employment and Learning concerning the establishment of a working group to review the NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and Early Years Strategies.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Employment and Learning to advise that it agreed in principle with the establishment of the working group.
Committee for the Environment
The Committee considered a letter from the Committee for the Environment to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister concerning the powers available to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the letter to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and to inform the committee for the Environment of its work in relation to the Ombudsman.
6. Proposals to Update and Reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman
Ms Emily O’Reilly, the Irish Ombudsman, Mr Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and Mr Peter Tyndall, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales joined the meeting at 2.20 p.m.
Ms Emily O’Reilly, the Irish Ombudsman, Mr Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and Mr Peter Tyndall, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales briefed the Committee on the work of their offices and on the Committee’s proposals to update and reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman. A question and answer session followed.
Mr Clarke left the meeting at 3.26
Ms O’Reilly, the Irish Ombudsman left the meeting at 3.35 p.m.
Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 3.44 p.m.
Mr Maskey left the meeting at 3.52 p.m.
Mr Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and Mr Peter Tyndall, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales left the meeting at 3.56 p.m.
7. Press Releases
The Committee considered a press release regarding an SME Advocate in each EU Member State. The Chairperson advised Members that the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment is engaging with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on this issue.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to request that it be kept informed of any outcomes from discussions.
8. Any Other Business
Forward Work Programme
The Committee considered the Committee’s Forward Work Programme up to the summer recess. The Chairperson provided Members with an update on the Committee’s European Roundtable Event on Monday 20 June 2011. The Committee noted a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister advising that they are unable to attend the event, but would be sending officials.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 4.01 p.m.
Proposals to Update and Reform the Office of the Ombudsman
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Ombudsmen to request further information on how they promote the work of their office and what form of media they use. The Committee also requested a research paper on what provision there is on the educational curriculum to inform of the work of the Ombudsman.
Save the Children
The Committee noted an invitation from Save the Children to attend a Mid-Summer Reception on Tuesday 21 June 2011.
Chinese Consulate General
The Committee considered a correspondence from the Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh concerning strengthening ties between Northern Ireland and China.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister to request further information on the links the Department has developed with China and plans to expand those links.
Agreed: The Committee agreed a press release in relation to the evidence session from the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Ombudsmen.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be in Room 30 on Wednesday 22 June 2011 at 2 p.m.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.14 p.m.
Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister