ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 19 April 2012

Venue: Fold Housing, Redburn Square, Holywood

The meeting began in public session at 10.09am                   

1. Apologies

Apologies were indicated as above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting 29 March 2012

Agreed:  The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 29 March 2012 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

The Chairperson reminded Members of the timetable for the meeting including details of visits to Camphill and Loughview Fold both of which are in receipt of SNMA funding.

The Chairperson thanked staff of FOLD Housing for hosting the Committee meeting.

4. Special Need Management Allowance (SNMA) – Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations Briefing

The following officials and members of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations joined the meeting at 10:12am:

Mr William Cameron, Chair, FOLD Housing Association

Ms Eileen Dealey, Executive Director, Oaklee Care and Support Services

Mr Gerald Kelly, Chief Executive, Apex Housing Association

Mr Cameron Watt, interim leader, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations

The officials briefed the Committee on the Special Needs Management Allowance.

This was followed by a question and answer session.

Ms Pam Brown joined the meeting at 10:18am

Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting at 10:18am

Mr Mark H Durkan joined the meeting at 10:19am

Members had a detailed discussion with the representatives to clarify a number of issues relating to SNMA. These included:

  • the type of housing schemes that are in receipt of SNMA and what SNMA actually pays for;
  • the potential impact on these schemes should SNMA funding be removed;
  • whether there was different levels of funding between SNMA and Supporting People;
  • a description of what constitutes ‘housing management service’.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

Mr Fra McCann left the meeting at 11:08am

Mr Fra McCann rejoined the meeting at 11:10am

The officials left the meeting at 11:14am

Mr Alex Easton left the meeting 11:16am

Mr Alex Easton rejoined the meeting 11:17am

5. Special Needs Management Allowance (SNMA) – The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)

The following officials from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority joined the meeting at 11:15am:

Mr Phelim Quinn, Director of Regulation, RQIA

Mr Dermot Parsons, Head of Programme Supported Living Regulation, RQIA

Ms Fiona Goodman, Head of Residential Care Regulation, RQIA

The officials provided an overview of the duties of the RQIA and its role in relation to the regulation of a range of services, including those in receipt of Special Needs Management Allowance (SNMA).

Members had a detailed discussion to clarify a range of issues.  These included:

  • the process for deregistration of residential care homes;
  • tenancy arrangements / ‘licence to reside’ arrangements applicable for deregistered / registered care homes respectively;
  • RQIA’s assessment of the nature and quality of service provided by residential care homes in receipt of SNMA compared to those not in receipt of SNMA;
  • RQIA’s initial opinion on the type of services included under ‘housing management services’.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

Ms Paula Bradley left the meeting at 11:59am

The officials left the meeting at 12:02pm

Ms Paula Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12:05pm

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 12:05pm

Ms Pam Brown left the meeting at 12:07pm

Mr Michael Copeland rejoined the meeting at 12:08pm

Ms Pam Brown rejoined the meeting at 12:10pm

Members agreed that further engagement with the Department would be necessary in order to attempt to resolve the complex issues raised by both evidence sessions and agreed to write to the Department to request a break-down of what Supporting People payments actually pays for and specifically whether this includes paying for housing management services.

Members also agreed a summary of the issues raised would be prepared by the Clerk for consideration at the Committee meeting to be held on the 3rd May 2012.

6. Proposed Subordinate Legislation

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Agreed: The Committee deferred consideration of this Rule in order to receive further information from the Department.

7. Statutory Rules

Registered Rents (Increase) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012

The Committee deferred consideration of this Rule in order to receive further information from the Department.

The Social Security (Suspension of Payment of Benefits and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR140/2012 The Social Security (Suspension of Payment of Benefits and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report has no objection.”

Mr Fra McCann left the meeting at 12:14pm

Mr Fra McCann rejoined the meeting at 12:16pm

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Domestic Violence) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR155/2012 The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Domestic Violence) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report has no objection.”

The Housing Benefit (Executive Determinations) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) 2012

The Committee deferred consideration of this Rule in order to receive further information from the Department.

The Employment and Support Allowance (Amendment of Linking Rules) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR160/2012 The Employment and Support Allowance (Amendment of Linking Rules) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report has no objection.”

The Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

The Committee noted a correction to this Rule.

8. Correspondence

The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding wood pellet boilers

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to BS Holdings who raised the issue with the Committee.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding Fort George and plans for development for the site.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the OFMdFM Committee who raised the issue with the Committee.

The Committee noted correspondence from The Council for the Homeless (NI) regarding their concerns relating to the introduction of Universal Credit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to The Council for the Homeless (NI) to advise that the Committee will be scrutinising the Welfare Reform Bill in due course and will take all options for mitigating the effects of the Bill under consideration.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Justice on the Draft Community Safety Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to make a submission to the Committee for Justice and will further discuss the issue at the next Committee meeting in order to make a formal response.

The Committee noted correspondence from a member of the public regarding concerns over changes to Disability Living Allowance.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the individual acknowledging receipt of the letter, explaining the role of the Committee and suggesting the individual seek political representation from their constituency MLAs.

The Committee considered correspondence from Lagan Rescue Service which questions some information given to the Committee by the Community Rescue Service.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Lagan Rescue Service highlighting the Committee’s support for a rescue service on the Lagan but that it hasn’t advocated on behalf of a specific group to provide this service.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the provision of a rescue service for the River Lagan.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to Lagan Rescue Service and the Community Rescue Service.

The Committee noted a DWP Consultation on DLA reform and Personal Independence Payment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to make a submission to the consultation and to forward views to the Clerk in order to compile a report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed for the remaining items of correspondence to be dealt with as per the proposed next steps in the correspondence memo.

11. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted correspondence from Judith Cochrane MLA requesting that the issue of Shared Housing be addressed in a briefing at a future meeting of the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to determine whether issues relating to shared housing would be addressed within the Housing Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the draft Forward Work Programme.

12. Date, Time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10.00am on Thursday 26April 2012 in Room 29 in Parliament Buildings.

The meeting adjourned at 11:52am

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
26 April 2012

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