ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 11 October 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:07am.      

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting 4 October 2012   

Agreed:  The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 4 October 2012 were agreed.

Mr Fra McCann joined the meeting at 10.08am

3. Charities Bill

The Committee considered the Department’s proposed amendment to Clause 9 of the Charities Bill.

The Chairperson read the following proposed amendment:

“Clause 9, Page 4, Line 21

At end insert

‘(5) Any other order under this section is subject to negative resolution’.”

The Committee supported the amendment.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development is content with Clause 9 as amended.”

The Chairperson advised Members that the Committee had completed its clause-by-clause scrutiny of the Charities Bill and the report on the Bill will be agreed at next week’s meeting.

This session was recorded by Hansard

4. Business Improvement Districts – Briefing by the NI Local Government Association (NILGA)

The following representatives from the NILGA joined the meeting at 10:11am:

Alderman Arnold Hatch, Vice President of NILGA

Dr Ken Bishop, Head of Programmes, Investment and Partnerships

Mr Mark H Durkan joined the meeting 10.11am

The representatives briefed the Committee on the Business Improvement Districts Bill.  NILGA broadly welcomed the introduction of the Bill but expressed concern about the ‘high level’ nature of the Bill and recommended that a number of specific issues would be better dealt with in the Bill rather than under secondary legislation.

This briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance.

The representatives left the meeting at 10.39am

5. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – Briefing by the NI Independent Retail Association (NIIRTA)

The Chairperson welcomed the following representatives from NIIRTA at 10:40am:

Mr Glyn Roberts, NIIRTA Chief Executive;

Ms Jacquie Reilly, Association of Town Centre Management;

Mr Stephen Dunlop, Chairman Association of Town Centre Management; and

Mr Andrew Irvine, Belfast City Centre Manager

The representatives briefed the Committee on the Business Improvement Districts Bill. NIIRTA considered that it was essential that the BIDs legislation was passed as a    matter of urgency.  NIIRTA expressed its support for the Department’s decision to proceed with option 2 as the preferred option

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting at 11.12am

Ms Paula Bradley left the meeting at 11.17am

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.19am

Mr Michael Copeland re-joined the meeting at 11.31

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance.

The representatives left the meeting at 11.38am                        

6. Statutory Rules

6.1 SR369/2012 The Social Fund (Cold Weather Payments) (General) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR369/2012 The Social Fund (Cold Weather Payments) (General) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report has no    objections to the Rule.

6.2 SR374 2012 The Child Support (Great Britain Reciprocal Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR374/2012 The Child Support (Great Britain Reciprocal Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report has no    objections to the Rule.

7. Correspondence

The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to correspondence relating to a number of issues including:

  • the Regional Infrastructure Programme
  • the Department’s update on the impact of statutory rules
  • the Department’s response to the provision of redundancy payments in the voluntary and community sector

Agreed:  The Committee agreed for all items of correspondence to be dealt with as per the Correspondence Memo.

8. Supporting Separated Families Consultation – Departmental Briefing

The Chairperson welcomed the following Departmental officials at 11.41am

Ms Jane Corderoy, DSD;

Mr Maurice Byrne, DSD; and

Ms Frances Rushe, DSD.

Ms Paula Bradley re-joined the meeting at 11.41am

The officials briefed the Committee on the DWP public consultation ‘Supporting     separated families; securing children’s futures’.  This was followed by a question and   answer session.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance.

The officials left the meeting at 12.05pm

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek the following:

  • clarification of any efforts being made by the Government here with the Government in the south to help trace parents without care who may have moved across the border; and
  • confirmation on whether a company director’s drawings will be classed as income when calculating a maintenance payment.   

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to return to this issue next week when it will consider a      response to the consultation.

Ms Judith Cochrane re-joined the meeting at 12.02pm

Mr Michael Copeland, Ms Pam Brown, Mr Gregory Campbell and Ms Judith Cochrane       left the meeting at 12.05pm

The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 12.05pm.

The Committee reconvened at 13.08pm.

9. Discretionary Support policy and Social Fund Reform – Briefing by the Social Security Agency.

The Chairperson welcomed the following officials from the SSA at 13.09pm:

Mr Brian Doherty, Working Age Services Director; SSA

Ms Leonora McLaughlin, Social Fund Reform Project Manager, SSA; and

Ms Angela Clarke, SSA

Ms Judith Cochrane re-joined the meeting at 13.17pm

The officials briefed the Committee on the Discretionary Support Policy and the Social       Fund Reform.  This was followed by a question and answer session.

The Committee generally welcomed the new Discretionary Support Policy and         acknowledged how the Social Fund has helped provide for those who are in social need. 

Some Members expressed concerns that the reform of the welfare system could lead to an increase in people seeking discretionary loans and questioned if the budget will be able to accommodate the potential increase.

Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 13.47pm

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 13.55pm

Members asked the officials what work is being carried out with the advice sector to help put appropriate referral arrangements in place.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance.

The officials left the meeting at 14.09pm.

10. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content with the Forward Work Programme.

11. Any Other Business

There was no other business

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday 16 October 2012 in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

Prior to closing the meeting there was a short discussion on the Committee’s interaction with the press and media in relation to Welfare Reform.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 14:16pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
18 October 2012

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