Press Release

Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Launches Child Poverty Inquiry

Session: 2007/2008

Date: Monday, 22 October 2007

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister today announced its intention to carry out an inquiry into Child Poverty in Northern Ireland.

Chairperson, Mr Danny Kennedy said:

“The severity of child poverty in Northern Ireland is deplorable and urgent action needs to be taken. If the pledge to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020 is to be achieved substantial and sustained commitment by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly is required. The Committee has therefore decided to make this issue the subject of its first inquiry.”

Mr Kennedy confirmed that the Committee will be consulting widely with stakeholders in the field and particular attention will be given to enabling children to take part in the process. The inquiry will be completed in early spring 2008 however the Committee intends to produce an interim report as soon as possible to inform the consultation process on the draft Programme for Government 2008-11 and the draft Budget.

The Committee will examine the current strategic approach to tackling child poverty in Northern Ireland.

In particular the Committee will:

 examine the extent, intensity and impact of child poverty in Northern Ireland

 consider the approach taken when formulating the current strategy including the extent of the engagement with key stakeholders

 assess whether the existing strategy is capable of delivering the key targets for 2010 and 2020

 examining whether the implementation mechanisms, resources and monitoring arrangements currently in place are adequate to ensure delivery of the key actions/targets

 identify and analyse relevant experience elsewhere in terms of policy interventions and programmes

 consider what further actions could be taken to tackle child poverty with particular focus on those that would be deliverable by the devolved administration

The Committee invites any individual or organisation with an interest in this matter to submit written evidence. This should be addressed to the Clerk of the Committee at the address below and should arrive by Friday 16 November 2007.

Individuals or organisations are requested to submit memoranda (guideline length up to 2000 words with a short executive summary) in a Word file or by e-mail with a single additional hard copy in the post.

Written evidence submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.

Notes to Editors:

The Committee for the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister is one of the statutory committees established by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9 May 2007.

A motion was approved in the Assembly on Tuesday 12 June 2007 proposing that the committee’s name be changed from the Committee of the Centre to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

The role of the Committee as set out in Standing Orders for the Northern Ireland Assembly is “to advise and assist the First Minister and the deputy First Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within their responsibilities as Ministers jointly in charge of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.”

Committee Membership: -
Danny Kennedy, Chairperson
Naomi Long, Deputy Chairperson
Martina Anderson
Tom Elliott
Dolores Kelly
Barry McElduff
Francie Molloy
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt
Jim Wells

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