ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 13 December 2012

Venue: Room 29 Parliament Buildings

The meeting was declared open to the public at 10.04am.

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meetings 4 and 6 December 2012

Agreed:  The minutes of the meetings held on 4 and 6 December 2012 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

The Committee considered correspondence from a representative of the Drumbo Park Dog Racing Track regarding the apparent ‘anomaly’ in respect of Sunday opening.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the representative to advise them that as part of the Committee’s consideration of licensing reform it will ask representatives from The Drumbo Park Dog Racing to brief the committee on this issue.

The Committee considered a draft letter to the Department to request an update on its progress to date on the Delivery Plans and Performance Indicators.

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

4. January 2013 Monitoring Round – Departmental Briefing

The following Departmental official joined the meeting 10.08am

  • Mr Stephen McMurray

Mr McMurray briefed the Committee on the January 2013 Monitoring Round.  A detailed discussion followed covering a range of issues including the reason for the Department’s underspend of approximately £18m and clarification on whether all the easements are being surrendered or whether some are being retained in the Department.

Although the Committee welcomed the efficiency of £3.5m generated from substantial efficiencies through the Housing Executive’s maintenance procurements, Members questioned why the money had not been spent and why any planned maintenance for                       the following year could not have been brought forward.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on the £3.5m easement.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting

The briefing was recorded by Hansard.

Mr McMurray left the meeting at 10.22am   

5. Statutory Rules

5.1 The Committee considered the following Statutory Rule:

The Occupational Pensions (Revaluation) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered the Statutory Rule SR426/2012 The Occupational Pensions (Revaluation) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ report, has no objection to the rule.

5.2 The Committee considered the following Statutory Rule:

The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations (Northern Ireland    (2012)

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered the Statutory Rule SR427/2012 The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and recommends that it be confirmed by the Assembly. 

5.3 The Committee considered the following Statutory Rule:

The Child Support Maintenance (Changes to Basic Rate Calculations and Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered the Statutory Rule SR428/2012 The Child Support Maintenance (Changes to Basic Rate Calculations and Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and recommends that it be confirmed by the Assembly.

5.4 The Committee considered the following Statutory Rule:

The Child Support (Meaning of Child and New Calculation Rules)(Consequential      and Miscellaneous Amendments)  Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

That the Committee for Social Development has considered the Statutory Rule SR438/2012 The Child Support Maintenance (Meaning of Child and New Calculation Rules) (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern   Ireland) 2012 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ report, has no objection to the rule. 

5.5  The Committee noted the following Commencement Order:

The Child Maintenance (2008 Act) (Commencement No 10) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012

6. Correspondence

6.1 The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding the Trinity Housing Association.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask that it is kept updated on this particular case as and when there are developments.

6.2 The Committee considered a draft letter from the Clerk in response to a telephone query from a former company secretary of Shelter NI regarding the dismissal of a member of staff.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed the draft letter and to forward it to the former company secretary.

6.3 The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding concerns raised by Volunteer Now about the impact of Universal Credit on Volunteering.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward this item of correspondence to Volunteer Now.

6.4 The Committee considered correspondence from the Belfast Chamber of Commerce requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed for the Clerk to discuss the issues with the Chamber and schedule a briefing from the Chamber in the New Year.

6.5 The Committee considered correspondence from the Department advising that the first stage of the new Statutory Child Maintenance Scheme 2012 is being introduced and commenced on Monday 10 December 2012.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the Department should provide the Committee with an overview of this first commencement stage in the New Year.

6.6 The Committee noted correspondence from the Department informing the Committee about their Code of Practice and Guiding for the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnerships.

6.7  The Committee noted the Housing Rights Service’s response to the Department’s Housing Strategy consultation.

6.8 The Committee noted the Housing Rights Service’s findings of a research study into how the private rented sector can provide a long term and sustainable solution for homeless people with multiple and complex needs.

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

7. Business Improvement Districts Bill

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting at 10.32am

  • Mr Henry McArdle, DSD;
  • Mr Antony McDaid, DSD and
  • Ms Gail Cheesman, DSD

The Committee considered correspondence from the Minister regarding the wording of amendments to the Bill.

The officials provided the Committee with an explanation of the Department’s amendments to the Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the text of the first amendment to clause 6(3) as    proposed by the Minister 

Agreed:  The Committee agreed the text of the amendments to clause 19 as proposed        by the Minister:

The Committee agreed the main body of the report:

Introduction, read and agreed;

Consideration of the Bill, read and agreed;

Clause-by-Clause Scrutiny of the Bill, read and agreed; and

Executive Summary read and agreed.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that it was content for the Report to be printed as the the Fourth Report of the Committee for Social Development Committee.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the relevant extract from the draft minutes of the proceedings of 13 December 2012 would be included in the Committee’s report.

8. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

9. Any Other Business

The Committee agreed to follow up with the Department on the outstanding Welfare Reform information.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Thursday 10 January 2013 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 10.42am.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
 10 January 2013

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