ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 13 September 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:06am.                  

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting 6 September 2012           

Agreed:  The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 6 September 2012 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

3.1     The Chairperson provided Members with an overview of the event organised by the Health Committee to mark World Suicide Day on 10 September 2012.          

3.2    The Chairperson advised Members that the 2nd Stage of the Charities Bill was debated in the Assembly on 11 September 2012 and the Committee is now in the Committee Stage of the Bill.

3.3    The Chairperson asked Members to make sure they have checked the Members’        attendance table which will be published on the Assembly website.

Noted:  Members expressed concern about Members’ attendance figures being misleading as Members may miss meetings if they are otherwise engaged in Assembly Business.

Mr Mark Durkan MLA joined the meeting at 10.08am.

4. Matters Arising

4.1     The Chairperson advised Members of the timeline for the Legislative Consent Motion on the Westminster Small Charitable Donations Bill. The Chairperson proposed that a letter be sent to the Westminster Committee scrutinising the Bill to express the Committee’s concerns in respect of the proposals.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward a letter to the Westminster Committee outlining the Committee’s concerns in respect of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme.

4.2     The Chairperson advised Members that he and the deputy Chairperson had recently been advised that the Labour Relations Agency found in favour of a community worker who had sought a redundancy package following his/her post being terminated after funding had ended.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a letter to the Department to ask for further information on this issue.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to await the Department’s response before arranging a Departmental briefing on this issue.

Ms Pam Lewis MLA joined the meeting at 10.13am

4.3     The Chairperson asked Members to confirm their attendance on the Committee visit to Scotland on 16 and 17 October.

5. Charities Bill – Briefing by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland

The following representatives from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland joined the meeting at 10:18am:

Ms Frances McCandless, Chief Executive; and

Mr Walter Watson, Member of the Board

The briefing was recorded by Hansard.                       

The representatives briefed the Committee on the Commission’s support for the proposed Charities Bill.  

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance.

The representatives left the meeting at 10:25am.

6. Implementation of Universal Credit in NI – Briefing by the Social Security Agency       (SSA)

The following officials from the SSA joined the meeting at 10.27am:

Dr Colin Sullivan, Director of Universal Credit;

Ms Joan O’Hara, Customer and Stakeholder Insight Team; and

Mr Michael Woods, Analytical Services Unit.

The officials briefed the Committee on the implementation of Universal Credit in NI.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek more information on the average number of people applying for each job vacancy in Northern Ireland.  The Committee also sought more detailed information on the gender split of the respondents and the factors attributing to such a low response rate of the partners of respondents in the Research study.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting. 

The officials left the meeting at 11.09am

Mr Alex Easton MLA left the meeting at 11.09am

7. Regional Infrastructure Programme

The following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 11.10am

Michael Donnelly, (Acting Head of VCU)

Jack O’Connor, VCU

Martin Ireland, VCU

The officials briefed the Committee on a recent announcement from the Minister on changes to delivery arrangements for regional infrastructure support.

Mr Fra McCann MLA left the meeting at 11.12am

Mr Fra McCann MLA re-joined the meeting at 11.17am

Ms Paula Bradley MLA left the meeting at 11.26am

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting. 

The Committee expressed concern about the department’s handling of the process, particularly in relation to notifying the organisations concerned of the decision not to proceed with the current plans in respect of Volunteering and Women in Disadvantaged and Rural Areas.   Members queried whether recent developments in respect of the Regional Infrastructure Programme constituted non-compliance with the Concordat between the Community and Voluntary Sector and the Department.

The officials left the meeting at 11.31am

Mr Alex Easton MLA re-joined the meeting at 11.31am

Agreed:   The Department agreed to keep the Committee updated on developments regarding funding for Volunteering and Women in Disadvantaged and Rural areas.

8. Proposed Subordinate Legislation

8.1     The Social Security (Credits) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: The Committee was content for the rule to be made.

Ms Paula Bradley MLA re-joined the meeting at 11.33am

9. Statutory Rules

9.1     The Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered the draft Statutory Rule.      The Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ report, recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly”.

10. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for all items of correspondence to be dealt with in accordance with the proposed next steps outlined in the correspondence memo.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that Members should contact the Committee Office should they wish to attend the Minister’s opening of the new pension service delivery model in Carlisle House in Londonderry on 4 October 2012.

11. Forward Work Programme

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

12. Any Other Business

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to await the Department’s response to a recent Committee letter regarding the Swift Water and First Flood Responder before contacting other Committees on the matter.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to Department requesting an update on the funding arrangements for Mount Zion House in Lurgan.

13.   Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Thursday 20 September 2012 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.  

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.45am.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
20 September 2012

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