Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened in closed session at 2.12 p.m.

1. Apologies

As above.

2. Proposals to Update Legislation to Reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman

Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 2.16 p.m.

Mr Clarke joined the meeting at 2.17 p.m.

The Committee considered a number of issues in relation to proposals to reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule briefing sessions in relation to the health and social care remit of the Ombudsman. The Committee also agreed to request further information in relation to the appointment and salary of the Ombudsman.

The meeting moved into open session at 2.46 p.m.

3. Chairperson’s Business

Declaration of Interests

The Committee noted Members declaration of interests. Mr Humphrey advised that his was missing some information.

4. Draft minutes of the meetings held on 29 June 2011 and 6 July 2011

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 29 June 2011 and 6 July 2011 were agreed by the Committee.

5. Matters Arising

Down District Council

The Committee considered a response from the Chair of the Down District Council Education Committee regarding the absence of elected representatives on the South Eastern Education and Library Board.

Mr Spratt declared an interest as a Member of Castlereagh Borough Council

Mr Spratt proposed (as amended by Mr Clarke):

That the Committee write to the Minister for Education in support of Down District Council Education Committee’s position and requesting an update. To write to the Commissioner for Public Appointments to request information on how the Commissioners were originally appointed.

Ms Ruane proposed:

That the Committee writes to the Minister for Education requesting an update on the current position of the SEELB, as outlined in the correspondence from Down District Council Education Committee, and on the Education Skills Authority (ESA) with support for the establishment of ESA.

The Committee divided on Mr Spratt’s proposal:

Ayes: 4 Noes: 3

Ayes: Mr Clarke, Mr Elliott, Mr Humphrey and Mr Spratt.

Noes: Mr Maskey, Mr Molloy and Ms Ruane.

Agreed: That the Committee write to the Minister for Education in support of Down District Council Education Committee’s position and requesting an update. To write to the Commissioner for Public Appointments to request information on how the Commissioners were originally appointed.

Community Relations Council

The Committee considered a response from the Northern Ireland community Relations Council concerning the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy.

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

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

China National Day

The Chairperson advised Members of the arrangements for the dinner to celebrate China National Day and to welcome the Edinburgh Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China.

Mr Lyttle joined the meeting at 3.12 p.m.

Ambassadors for Change

The Clerk provided the Committee with an update on the work of the Ambassadors for Change Project.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider options for hosting an event in relation to the Ambassadors for Change Project.

Members noted the following matters arising:

Departmental response regarding the business case for the establishment of the new Victims and Survivors Service.

Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment responses regarding Arm’s Length Bodies and SME Advocates for EU Members States.

Department’s Forecast Outturn June 2011.

Departmental response regarding links with China.

Committee for Finance and Personnel memo regarding the End of Year Flexibility Replacement Scheme.

Departmental response regarding the International Relations Strategy.

Departmental response regarding the Qualification of the Department’s Resource Accounts.

6. Correspondence

Public Accounts Committee

The Committee noted correspondence from the Public Accounts Committee regarding its Forward Work Programme .

First Minister and deputy First Minister response to the Chairman of the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Inquiry into Renewable Energy

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to the Department.

Renewal Integration Development Project Update

The Committee noted correspondence providing an update on the Renewal Integration Development Project.

Mr Eastwood joined the meeting at 3.12 p.m.

Commission on a Bill of Rights

The Committee considered correspondence from the Chair of the Commission on a Bill of Rights requesting to meet the Committee when they come to Northern Ireland.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to meet with the Commission on a Bill of Rights when they visit and to request a research paper on the consultation being undertaken.

Lifelong Learning

The Committee considered correspondence from Jim Nicholson MEP concerning raising the awareness of Lifelong Learning programmes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to liaise with the Committee for Employment and Learning concerning this issue.

The Committee noted a number of other items of correspondence:

Departmental letter regarding the Investment Strategy and Asset Management Unit.

Investment Strategy Investing Activity Reports for July and August.

Chairpersons’ Liaison Group: Key issues.

Joint Ministerial Committee (Europe) Summary Report.

Commission for Victims and Survivors Consultations.

Participation Awards 2011.

Playboard NI Information Seminars.

Letter from Met Office regarding transfer and enquiry.

Sustrans Annual review 2010.

Belfast City Council: A guide to the EU.

Joint Ministerial Committee (Europe) Summary Report

The Committee considered correspondence from Junior Ministers providing a report on the Joint Ministerial Committee (Europe).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that the issue of Tax Credit Childcare Vouchers in the border areas be raised at the next meeting.

7. Older People’s Strategy

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.25 p.m.

Dr Denis McMahon and Mr Jim Breen briefed the Committee on the draft Older People’s Strategy. A question and answer session followed.

Mr Clarke left the meeting at 3.40 p.m.
Departmental officials left the meeting at 3.42 p.m.
Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 3.43 p.m.
Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.43 p.m.

8. Age NI

Ms Anne O’Reilly, Miss Judith Cross and Ms Irene Kingston from Age NI joined the meeting at 3.43 p.m.

Ms Anne O’Reilly, Miss Judith Cross and Ms Irene Kingston from Age NI briefed the draft Older People’s Strategy. A question and answer session followed.

Mr Eastwood re-joined the meeting at 4.02 p.m.

Mr Spratt left the meeting at 4.10 p.m.

Ms Anne O’Reilly, Miss Judith Cross and Ms Irene Kingston from Age NI left the meeting at 4.20 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward Age NI’s submission to the Department and to highlight the issues which were raised in relation to the draft Older People’s Strategy.

Ms Ruane left the meeting at 4.20 p.m.

9. Press Releases

The Committee noted a number of press releases.

10. Any Other Business

Members noted the Committee’s Forward Work Programme and a number of other tabled papers.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be in Room 30 on Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.26 p.m.

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

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