ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 08 November 2012

Venue: Room 29

The meeting began in closed session at 10.07am.

1. Welfare Reform Bill

Ms Tara Caul (Assembly Legal Services) briefed the Committee regarding concerns raised in respect of Schedule 1 Paragraph 7 of the Bill. 

This was followed by a question and answer session.

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 10.44am

The meeting was declared open to the public at 10.50am.

2. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

3. Draft Minutes of Meetings 29, 30 & 31 October

Agreed: The minutes of the meetings held on 29, 30 and 31 October 2012 were agreed.

4. Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson mentioned that Members may have received further printed copies of the Welfare Reform Bill.  The Chairperson reassured Members that no changes had been made to the content of the Bill.  

Mr Gregory Campbell left the meeting at 10.52am

5. Matters Arising

The Chairperson reminded members that Mr Sammy Douglas MLA had previously requested an update from the Department on the fundamental review of the Housing Executive and the Housing Strategy. 

The Chairperson advised Members of the following key dates:

  • Fundamental Review - was scheduled to go to the Executive on 7 November - the department will notify the Committee of the outcome and schedule briefing with the Committee.
  • Housing Strategy – The consultation will be completed in December and the Department will be in a position to brief Committee in January 2013.
  • Social Allocation Policy – the Committee are expecting correspondence from the Department indicating that research has just started and it will include terms of reference for research and timescale etc.  The Department will be in a position to brief Committee in February 2013.

6. Small Charitable Donations Legislative Consent Motion – Departmental Briefing

The following Departmental official from the Department joined the Committee at 10.53am.

Mr Roy McGivern.

Mr McGivern briefed the Committee on the Westminster Small Charitable Donations Bill following the completion of the Committee Stage at Westminster.

Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting at 10.57am

Mr Gregory Campbell re-joined the meeting at 11.00am

This was followed by a question and answer session.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the draft Committee report on the Small Charitable Donations Bill at its meeting on Thursday 15 November 2012

The representatives left the meeting at 11.02am.

Ms Paula Bradley left the meeting at 11.06am

7. Statutory Rules

7.1 The Committee considered Statutory Rule SR390/2012 The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment No.3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered SR390/2012 The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and recommends that it be confirmed by the        Assembly”.

7.2 The Committee considered Statutory Rule SR394/2012 The Social Security (Credits) (Amendment No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR394/2012 The Social Security (Credits) (Amendment No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report has no objections to the Rule.

Ms Paula Bradley re-joined the meeting at 11.07am

7.3 The Committee noted correspondence from the Department advising that SR270 The Pension Protection Fund (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 is now subject to the Confirmatory Resolution Procedure in the Assembly and not the Negative Procedure as previously advised.

Mr Sammy Douglas re-joined the meeting at 11.09am

8. Correspondence

The Chairperson advised Members that the Department has invited Members to attend a meeting with representatives from Carduus.

Members were content for the remaining correspondence items to be dealt with as per the correspondence memo.

9. Standing Order 35

The Chairperson reminded Members that in light of repeated concerns from stakeholders regarding the human rights and equality issues raised by the Bill, the Committee had agreed to return to the issue of whether the Welfare Reform Bill should be referred to an Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements and observance of Human Rights.

A detailed discussion followed.

While all Members recognised the concerns of stakeholders about these issues, Members also discussed the impact of referring the Bill to an Ad Hoc Committee on the Committee’s current time-line and the potential risks attached to not completing its Committee Stage in accordance with that time-line.

Following discussions Mr Mickey Brady proposed that the Bill should be referred to an Ad Hoc Committee.    This was seconded by Mr Fra McCann.

Question put:

“That under Standing Order 35 (2)(b) the Committee recommends that the Welfare Reform Bill be referred to an Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements.”

The Committee divided.

Ayes: Mr Alex Maskey, Mr Fra McCann, Mr Mickey Brady, Mr Mark H Durkan and Mr David McClarty

Noes: Mr Gregory Campbell, Ms Paula Bradley, Ms Pam Brown and Mr Sammy Douglas.

The motion was supported by majority.

The Chair clarified with the Committee that, in regards to the motion, the Ad Hoc Committee would only deal with the equality and human rights aspects of the Bill and would not assume the statutory role of the Committee. 

Members were content with that clarification.

This session was recorded by Hansard

Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting at 11.51am

10. Welfare Reform Bill – Departmental Briefing

The following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 11.51am

Mr Michael Pollock;
Ms Martina Campbell;
Ms Jane Corderoy;
Mr Conrad McConnell; and
Ms Leonora McLaughlin.

The Committee continued its deliberation of Clauses 106 – 114 of the Welfare Reform Bill.  Departmental officials briefed the Committee regarding some outstanding issues that were raised during the Committee’s deliberation at its meeting on 6 November 2012.

Mr Gregory Campbell left the meeting at 12.04pm.

Mr Sammy Douglas re-joined the meeting at 12.22pm

Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 12.23pm

Ms Pam Brown left the meeting at 12.40pm

Mr Michael Copeland re-joined the meeting at 13.13pm

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance.

The officials left the meeting at 13.20pm

11. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme

12. Any Other Business

There was no other business.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday 13 November 2012 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 13.26pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
15 November 2012

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