Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 22 February 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.01 p.m. in public session.

1.  Apologies

Apologies noted above.

2.  Chair’s Business

The Committee agreed a motion on IVF treatment.

3.  Draft minutes of the meeting on Wednesday 15th February 2012

The minutes of the Committee meeting on Wednesday 15th February 2012 were agreed.

4.  Matters arising

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the June 2011 monitoring round and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

2.04 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the safety of care workers in the private sector and agreed to write to the Department for further information. The Committee also agreed to copy the Minister’s response to Mr Hanna who raised this matter.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister about waiting times for eye care hospital appointments and agreed to write to the Department for further information. The Committee also agreed to copy the Minister’s response to RNIB who raised this matter.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister about telephone numbers used by GP practices and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the Adoption & Children Bill.

The Committee noted responses from the Minister regarding the Mental Capacity (Health, Welfare & Finance) Bill and agreed to write to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children & Young People regarding this.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding the Safeguarding Board and agreed to invite the Chair Designate of the Safeguarding Board to attend an evidence session on 28 March 2012.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister to Asthma UK about emergency inhalers in schools.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the health risks of exposure to electricity pylons and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding obesity.

The Committee noted responses from the Minister and Dr Michael Davidson regarding the illegal purchasing of drugs online and agreed to forward the Minister’s letter to Dr Davidson.

The Committee noted a response from the Minister regarding the prevention of fractures resulting from osteoporosis and agreed to write to the Department for further information.

5.  Evidence session on Kinship Care

The Committee was briefed by Assembly Research on kinship care.

2.24 p.m. Mr John McCallister joined the meeting. 

The Committee took evidence from:

Ms Jacqueline Williamson - Chairperson, Kinship Care Northern Ireland

Mr Kevin Wright - Chief Executive, First Housing Aid & Support Services

A question and answer session ensued.

2.36 p.m. Mr Gordon Dunne left the meeting.

2.38 p.m. Mr Gordon Dunne rejoined the meeting.

3.14 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy left the meeting.

3.22 p.m. Mr Jim Wells left the meeting.

3.23 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy rejoined the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

6.  Evidence session on Kinship Care

The Committee took evidence from:

Mr Sean Holland - Deputy Secretary, Social Services Policy Group, DHSSPS

Ms Eilis McDaniel - Acting Head of Child Care Policy Directorate, DHSSPS

Ms Frances Nicholson - Social Work Advisor, DHSSPS

A question and answer session ensued.

3.26 p.m. Mr Jim Wells rejoined the meeting.

3.46 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley left the meeting.

4.07 p.m. Mr Mark H Durkan left the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

The Committee agreed to invite the Fostering Network to brief it on kinship care.

7.  Proposed statutory rule

The Committee considered the Travelling Expenses and Remission of Charges (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

The Committee considered the Children's Homes (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed to invite officials to brief it on the regulations.

The Committee considered the Firefighters' Pension Scheme (Contributions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

The Committee considered the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme (Contributions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and agreed that it was content for the Department to prepare the rule.

4.12 p.m. Ms Paula Bradley rejoined the meeting.

8.  Forward Work Programme

The Committee agreed its Forward Work Programme.

The Committee noted that a proposed visit to Hydebank Wood Prison and Young Offenders Centre had been postponed until 25th April 2012.

The Committee agreed to arrange a visit to the Ambulance Service Control Centre on 21 March 2012.

4.15 p.m. Mr John McCallister left the meeting.

4.16 p.m. Mr Mark H Durkan rejoined the meeting.

9.  Correspondence

The Committee noted a letter from the Minister regarding the draft Food in Schools Policy.

The Committee noted a letter from the Health & Social Care Business Services Organisation regarding Shared Services and agreed to write to the Department about this matter.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Post Project Evaluations.

The Committee agreed to forward a letter from the Committee for Employment and Learning to the Department.

The Committee agreed to forward letters from the Committee for Regional Development to the Fire & Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service.

The Committee noted a letter from Cancer Research UK.

The Committee noted a letter from Aware Defeat Depression.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr A Maguire regarding the management of social workers’ caseloads and agreed to to forward this to the Department for a response.

The Committee noted a letter from Ms E Davidson.

The Committee noted a letter from Dr P Bell about the treatment of chronic pain and agreed to invite Dr Bell to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted correspondence from TinyLife seeking a meeting with the Committee and agreed to invite the group to an informal meeting.

The Committee noted a correspondence from the British Dental Association seeking a meeting with the Committee regarding the dental budget and agreed to ask the organisation to provide a written brief. The Committee also agreed to write to the Department for an update on dental services.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Commissioner for Children and Young People regarding the Programme for Government.

The Committee noted correspondence from the British Medical Association regarding Commonwealth Fund Reports. 

The Committee noted a letter from Dr G McCarron regarding impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health.

10.  Any Other Business

No other business was discussed.

11.  Date, time and place of next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 2.00pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.27 p.m.

Chairperson

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