Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 November 2011

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in public session at 10.13 am.

Election of Chairperson

In the absence of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson, the Clerk asked members to nominate a temporary Chairperson.

Mrs Sandra Overend moved the motion, “That Mr Pat Ramsey do take the Chair of the Committee”. Mr Barry McElduff seconded the motion.

There were no other nominations.

Mr Pat Ramsey took the chair.

Meeting on 30 November 2011

Members considered correspondence from NIPSA regarding proposed strike action on Wednesday 30 November 2011.

Mr Barry McElduff moved the motion, “That the Committee meeting proposed for 30 November 2011 should be re-scheduled”. The motion was seconded by Ms Michelle Gildernew.

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 1:

Ayes:
Ms Michelle Gildernew
Mr Barry McElduff
Mrs Sandra Overend

Mr Pat Ramsey

Noes:
Mr Jim Allister

Mr David McIlveen did not vote.

The motion was accordingly agreed.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chair’s Business

  • The Committee noted the attendance of the Chairperson at the official opening of the Titanic Quarter campus of the Belfast Metropolitan College.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to defer consideration of the College’s Financial Statements until the New Year.
  • The Committee considered the process for formulating a response to the consultation on Programme for Government.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that individual members should make responses to the Committee office before the first meeting of the New Year on 11 January 2012.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that these responses should be made available to Departmental officials in advance of their briefing to the Committee.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that responses should also be invited from key stakeholders.

3. Minutes of the meetings held on 9 November 2011

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting were agreed.

4. Matters arising

The Committee considered a list of matters arising from the previous meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the content of a draft submission to the House of Lords EU Committee Inquiry into the Modernisation of Higher Education.

5. Briefing from NI Assembly Education Unit on the Committee work experience event for people with learning disabilities.

A representative of the Assembly Education Unit joined the meeting at 10.22 am.

The Committee was briefed by a representative of Assembly Education Unit on the Committee work experience event scheduled for 29 November 2011.

10.26 am Mr Alastair Ross joined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to explore the possibility of attending the IFEX event at the Kings Hall next April.

The representative left the meeting at 10.27 am.

The Committee noted the programme for the Masterchef event on 29 November 2011.

The Committee also considered a draft press release on this event.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the press release should be issued after the event.

6. Departmental briefing on Employment Rights

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 10.28 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Tom Evans and Mr Conor Brady, from Employment Relations Policy and Legislation Branch, on current and prospective issues on Employment Rights.

10.36 am Mr Chris Lyttle joined the meeting.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a copy of all correspondence between the Minister and the Department for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs on engaging the Department for Employment and Learning in EU matters.

10.52 am Mr Barry McElduff left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to request copies of the responses to the Departmental consultation on the Blacklisting of Trade Union Members.

Officials left the meeting at 11.01am.

7. Briefing from Employers for Childcare.

Representatives of the organisation joined the meeting at 11.02am.

The Committee was briefed by Ms Marie Marin, Chief Executive Officer, and Ms Nora Smith, Policy and Information Manager, on Home-Based Childcare and Childcare Affordability.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to urge him to give further consideration to the ‘Counting the Cost’ proposal from Employers for Childcare

The representatives left the meeting at 11.34 am.

8. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Third Annual Departmental Report on Private Recruitment Sector Enforcement.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this Report.
  • Email from the Department regarding two legal cases in which there is a legal challenge to the re-contracting of the Training for Success programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the email to Legal Services for advice.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a briefing from the Department on this issue.
  • Response from the Department regarding funding of the Training by Choice organisation.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Response from the Department regarding placement opportunities in the Stormont Estate for people with physical and learning disabilities.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety regarding independent living for those with disabilities and placements for students leaving special schools.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the All Party Group on Disability requesting that it holds a briefing session and invites both the Committee for Employment and Learning and the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on third- level education opportunities in veterinary studies in Northern Ireland.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to copy the Department’s response on this issue to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Correspondence from Parkanaur College on information requested by the Committee.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on Committee priorities.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Call for evidence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on its inquiry into innovation, research and development, to be forwarded to the Department.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department and to request that it is copied into the response.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel into the monitoring of Post Project Evaluations (PPE’s).
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel enclosing the Performance and Delivery Unit (PEDU) report on Benchmarking of Retained Corporate Functions across NI Departments.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this report.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding the Post-19 Lobby Group.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Department.
  • Notes of decisions taken at the meeting of the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group on 15 November 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note.

11.37 am Mr Barry McElduff rejoined the meeting.

  • Draft invoice from Eurest for the Masterchef Event on 29 November 2011
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content with this estimate of costs.
  • Correspondence from the North West Regional College in response to the Committee’s request for sight of the Curriculum Audit carried out.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to North West Regional College and request that it responds directly to the Committee.

The Committee also noted a number of invitations received.

9. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered the draft Forward Work Programme for the remainder of the calendar year.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content to schedule these briefings.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit to the Jordanstown campus of the University of Ulster.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to schedule a visit to the Omagh campus of the South-West College and the Omagh Job Centre.

10. Any Other Business

The Committee discussed its visit to the Queen’s University Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, which took place on 16 November 2011.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to record its thanks to the Centre for hosting such a useful and informative visit.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to write to the Department to express its concerns at the significantly reduced number of PhDs being funded.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that details on the next meeting should be held be emailed out by Committee staff.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.43 am.

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
30 November 2011 

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