The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 February 2012

Venue: South Eastern Regional College, 81 Victoria Avenue, Newtownards

The meeting began at 10.36am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 16 February 2012

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting on 16 February were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

Members noted an invitation from the Department for Employment and Learning to the Chair and Deputy Chair to an award presentation for the first Software Tester’s Academy.

Agreed: The Chair and Deputy Chair will attend the award presentation.

Members were informed of a written brief from Assembly Research on the potential impacts of drafting planning policy statement 16 on tourism development.

Agreed: to include the written brief in the forward work programme.

Members noted the response from the Secretary of State regarding the Committee’s proposal to seek support for further amendments to the regulations for Northern Ireland credit unions by the FSA.

4. Matters Arising

Members noted correspondence from the Environment Committee on the Oil Firing Technical Association.

Members discussed the response from the Department regarding Green New Deal.

5. The Work of SERC’s Environmental Skills Centre: South Eastern Regional College

Officials joined the meeting at 10.42am.

Members received an oral briefing from Ken Webb, Chief Executive and Thompson Keating, Director of Corporate and Economic Development, SERC.

Key issues discussed included the work of SERC in creating a dedicated resource on the Newtownards Campus to support businesses to overcome the challenge of the transition to a low carbon economy and delivering practical skill solutions through a number of resources at the Environmental skills Centre.

Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 10.47am.

Jennifer McCann joined the meeting at 10.50am.

Officials left the meeting at 12.00pm.

6. Inquiry into Research and Development: Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Officials joined the meeting at 12.00pm.

Members received an oral briefing from Kirsty McManus, Assistant Regional Director, CBI, Dr Paul Beaney, Technical Director, Cherry Pipes Ltd and Stephen Sloan, Project Manager, Momentum.

Key issues discussed included CBI’s response to the Inquiry into Research and Development, the Administrative burden in the application process, collaboration and networking on R&D projects, the low numbers of Northern Ireland Evaluators for R&D project applications and SME involvement in R&D.

Stephen Agnew left the meeting at 12.15pm.

Agreed: CBI to provide an analysis of Framework Assessors and a national report on Medium sized businesses.

Agreed: for officials to answer any further questions in writing that the Committee may have regarding this issue.

Members noted a record of an interview with the Chair and Jim Nicholson MEP regarding the Inquiry into Research and Development.

Agreed: to receive oral evidence from the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI) for the Inquiry on 22 March.

Officials left the meeting at 12.55pm.

7. Assembly Research: EU SME Envoy Network – Stakeholder Event Briefing Paper

Members discussed a written briefing from Assembly Research on the EU SME Envoy Network Stakeholder Event.

Agreed: to forward the research to the SME Envoy, the Department, the Committee for OFMDFM and to all the organisations who participated in the event.

8. The Public Bodies (Abolition of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) Order 2012

Jennifer McCann left the meeting at 1.00pm.

Members discussed a written briefing from the Department on The Public Bodies (Abolition of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) Order 2012.

Agreed: members were content with the draft proposals.

9. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i. Correspondence from Include Youth on the dissolution of the Department of Employment and Learning.

ii. Report and response to the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency electromagnetic Fields (SAGE) and recommendations to the Executive Committee.

iii. Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development regarding the Fuel Poverty Coalition position on fuel poverty.

iv. A response from the Department to the Committee for the Environment regarding renewable fuel targets.

v. Letter from the Consumer Council on its Corporate Plan and Equality Plan 2011-15.

10. Any other business

There were no other items of business.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 1 March at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.01pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
1 March 2012

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