Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 05 October 2011

Venue: Room 29

The meeting opened in public session at 10.04 am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chair’s Business

The Chairperson updated members with details of his attendance at various events and meetings on behalf of the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to support a Long Gallery event to be organised by Volunteer Now.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department on funding issues raised by FIT NI.

10.12 am Mrs Sandra Overend joined the meeting.

Agreed : The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from FIT NI.

The Committee discussed issues arising from its previous meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Disability Employment Service.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister regarding various issues regarding Parkanaur College.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request copies of reports on Parkanaur College from the Education Training Inspectorate and from Deloitte Touche.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the NUS – USI for further information on the difficulties faced by students in meeting cost of living expenses.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to establish its remit in dealing with student living costs.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request access to the PWC report on the Review of EMA from previous Committee papers in the last mandate.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2011

Agreed: The minutes were agreed.

4. Matters arising

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

The Committee noted further information provided by the Clerk on improving the recording system in Committee meeting rooms.

10.24 am Mr Chris Lyttle joined the meeting.
10.25 am Ms Michelle Gildernew joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should determine if she would attend the OECD Conference since Mr David McIlveen is now unable to attend.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that speakers’ notes should be obtained from the OECD Conference.

5. Briefing from the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels Office and Departmental officials on European issues.

Officials joined the meeting at 10.30 am.

The Committee was briefed by Dr Gerry Mulligan, Head of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, and Mr Andrew Hamilton, Deputy Secretary of the Department for Employment and Learning, on European issues.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for Employment and Learning requesting further information on issues raised.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel for further information on the associated costs of appointing Thematic desk officers to the Executive Office in Brussels.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for the First Minister and deputy First Minister for further information on the draw-down of EU funding under Framework Programme 7.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing in Spring 2012 from the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels Office on the EU Thematic Priorities.

Officials left the meeting at 11.35 am.

6. Departmental briefing on the October Monitoring Round

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 11.36 am.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Andrew Hamilton, Deputy Secretary, and Mr John Smith, Director Of Finance, on the Department’s submission under the October Monitoring Round.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for further details on the funding bids submitted.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to request more detailed and timely information on budgetary matters.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a Research paper on the Budget.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 12.05 pm.

7. Briefing from St Mary’s University College on current issues

Representatives of the College joined the meeting at 12.07 pm.

The Committee was briefed by Mr Professor Peter Finn, Principal of St Mary’s University College, and Mr Brian McFall, Director of Finance and Administration, on current issues for the College.

The briefing was followed by a question and answer session when the College representatives agreed to respond in writing to members’ request for further information.

12.49 pm Mr Alastair Ross left the meeting.
12.57 pm Mr Thomas Buchanan left the meeting
12.58 pm Mr David McIlveen left the meeting
1.06 pm Mrs Sandra Overend left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit to St Mary’s University College.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of its response to the St Mary’s Sustainability Plan

Representatives of the College left the meeting at 1.12 pm.

8. Subordinate Legislation

  • The Committee considered the SL1 proposal for The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Department to proceed to make the Statutory Rule.
  • The Committee considered the SL1 proposal for The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to defer further consideration of this proposal until more detailed information is available from the Department.

9. Correspondence

The Committee considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Departmental Resource Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2011.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for an update on matters arising from these Accounts.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s request for further information on the Graduate Acceleration Programme.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Response from the Department to the Committee’s queries on Education Maintenance Allowance.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this response.
  • Correspondence from the Minister for Employment and Learning providing further information on his plans for student tuition fees and finance arrangements.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence and to consider it again at its meeting on 19 October 2011.
  • A letter to a member of the Committee from Link Financial Services.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence issued in response to this letter.
  • A letter from the University of Ulster in response to the Committee’s request for further information on student applications.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note this correspondence.
  • A letter from Dr Gareth McGrath in response to the Committee’s request for a briefing on IT facilities in meeting rooms.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and to schedule a briefing at a later date.
  • Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development on collaborative work among Committees to address the issue of fuel poverty.
    Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence and forward to the Department for comment.

The Committee also noted a number of invitations received.

10. 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 request a Research paper on possible areas of interest to the Committee in Europe.

11. Any Other Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to send its good wishes for a speedy recovery to Mr pat Ramsey.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the next meeting should be held on Wednesday, 12 October 2011, at 10.00 am in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.17 pm

Mr Basil McCrea
Chairperson, Committee for Employment & Learning
12 October 2011

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