Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 28 February 2013

Venue: Room 29

The Deputy Chairperson declared the meeting open to the public at 10.07am.

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meetings 21 February 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the meetings held on 21 February 2013 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

3.1 The Deputy Chairperson drew Members attention to correspondence that was sent from a member of the public regarding the Department’s vesting of property in the Village Area of South Belfast which has left home owners in negative equity.  The Committee also noted a paper by Research and Information Services on the Compulsory Purchase of Residential Dwellings.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a Departmental briefing on the policy current at the time of the vesting and whether that has been subsequently revised.

Mr Sydney Anderson joined the meeting at 10.10am

3.2 The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that he and the Chairperson met with the Minister prior to his oral statement on social housing reform.

The Deputy Chairperson proposed that the Committee holds a consultation event with its housing stakeholders to help inform the Committee’s work programme in relation to housing.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to hold this event after the Easter Recess period.

3.3 The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that an event organised by Mediation NI  on its MOST Housing Programme was being held in the Long Gallery at 12.30pm.

4. Matters Arising

4.1 Agreed:  The Committee agreed a press release on the launch of its report on the Welfare Reform Bill.

4.2 The Chairperson reminded Members that Jim Wells MLA asked the Committee to consider taking part in an informal meeting with RNIB and the Guide Dogs for the Blind to discuss the implications of the Personal Independence Payment as part of welfare reform.

The following Members agreed to attend; Ms Paula Bradley; Ms Pam Brown; Mr Mickey Brady; Mr Mark H Durkan and Mr David McClarty.

5. Specification of Hinges used by the NI Housing Executive (NIHE) – Briefing by NIHE

The following officials from the NIHE joined the meeting 10.17am:

  • Gerry Flynn, Director of Housing and Regeneration; and
  • David Adamson, Principal Officer Policy and Standards.

The Deputy Chairperson provided a brief overview of why the briefing had been requested.

The officials briefed the Committee on the Department’s reasoning for changing the specification of hinges used by the NIHE and the cost savings associated by making the change.

Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 10.30am

Ms Judith Cochrane joined the meeting at 10.46am

Members sought clarification on a number issues including; the amount of dwellings still outstanding to have windows replaced; the actual projected savings as a result of not requiring a redecoration grant; and the projected savings from carrying out a procurement exercise.

Mr Alex Maskey joined the meeting at 11.04am and took position as Chairperson.

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.08

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the NIHE to ask for a breakdown of the savings as a result of procurement, including how the estimated savings were reached. The Committee also requested a copy of the redecoration criteria.

This session was recorded by Hansard

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.23am

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

The representatives left the meeting at 11.30am

Ms Pam Brown left the meeting at 11.30am

6. Housing Strategy – Departmental Briefing

 The following Departmental officials joined the meeting 11.30am:

  • Jim Wilkinson, Director of Housing;
  • Deirdre Ward, Deputy Director of Housing; and
  • Dr Heloise Brown, Head of Housing Research, Policy and Legislation.

The officials briefed the Committee on the responses received from the consultation on the Housing Strategy.  A detailed discussion followed which covered a number issues including; the need for the Department to develop social housing in the short term to help cope with the impact of Welfare Reform and the issue of segregated housing; what plans will be made for the private rented sector; and what will be done to improve standards of housing.  

Ms Pam Brown re-joined the meeting at 11.52am

Ms Judith Cochrane left the meeting at 11.54am

This session was recorded by Hansard

Ms Pam Brown left the meeting at 12.12pm

The Chairperson noted that the Committee had agreed to hold an event that would engage with stakeholders on the housing strategy and associated reforms and thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting.

The officials left the meeting at 12.24pm

7. Proposed Subordinate Legislation  

7.1 The Social Security Revaluation of Earnings Factors Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

The Committee considered the above mentioned proposed subordinate legislation.

Agreed: The Committee were content for the Rule to be made.

7.2 The Social Security (Claims and Payments) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

The Committee considered the above mentioned proposed subordinate legislation.

Agreed: The Committee were content for the Rule to be made.

9. Statutory Rules

The Pension Protection Fund and Occupational Pension Schemes (Levy Ceiling and Compensation Cap) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR32 2013 The Pension Protection Fund and Occupational Pension Schemes (Levy Ceiling and Compensation Cap) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report has no objections to the Rule

10. Correspondence

9.1 The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to this issue once it has considered legal advice.

9.2 The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel with information regarding the monitoring of Departments Post Project Evaluations (PPEs).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department and ask why these PPEs have not yet been carried out.

9.3 The Committee considered correspondence from the Housing Rights Service in relation to repossessions and the support initiatives provided by the Government.

Agreed: The Committee agreed for the Clerk to liaise with the Housing Rights Service with the view to organising a joint event on repossessions and Government Support Initiatives. 

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

10. Forward Work Programme

The Committee were content with the proposed 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 Thursday 7 March 2013 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.30pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development
7 March 2013

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