Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
Welcome to the Home Page of the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. The Committee was established to advise and assist the First Minister, the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA, on matters within their responsibilities as Ministers. The Committee undertakes a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and plays a key role in the consideration and development of legislation. The Committee Chairperson is Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA.
Here you will find information about the Committee membership and the work of the Committee.
The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister will next meet at 2.00 pm on Thursday 26 November 2015 in Room 30, Parliament Buildings and will open in public session to receive a briefing from Lord Boswell, Chairperson of the House of Lords European Union Committee on its Inquiry, “Visions of EU Reform”.
The Committee will also consider a NI Assembly Research analysis of the European Commission Work Programme for 2016.
The Committee will then move into closed session to consider any matters relating to the NI Public Services Ombudsman Bill.
The Committee Forthcoming business will be published in the Business Diary.
Strategic Priorities 2014/15
- Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsperson Bill
- The Children’s Services Co-operation Bill - Committee Stage
- Building a United Community
- Budget scrutiny
- Monitoring Rounds
- Forthcoming budget proposals
- Programme for Government
- PfG 31/32 Social Investment Fund
- PfG 33 Childcare
- PfG 67 Building a United Community
- Policy Scrutiny
- Victims and Survivors
- Children and Young Peopleo Active Ageing
- Gender Equality
- Sexual Orientation
- EU Priorities
Proposals for a Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsperson Bill
The Committee has developed policy proposals to merge and reform the offices of Assembly Ombudsman and Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints into a new office to be known as the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsperson. The Public Services Ombudsperson Bill was introduced in the Assembly on 20 April 2015. Click here for further information.
The Assembly approved the principles of the Public Services Ombudsperson Bill following the Second Stage debate on 11 May 2015. The Bill has been considered by an Ad Hoc Committee which has called for evidence on the Bill and its report to the Assembly was published on 30 September 2015.
The Bill and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum can be accessed on the Assembly’s legislation pages.
The OFMDFM Committee’s work began in 2010 when the current Ombudsman, Dr Tom Frawley, asked the Committee to consider taking forward the recommendations of a 2004 Deloitte review of role of the two offices. OFMDFM was not planning to take the matter forward itself due to resource constraints and competing priorities but welcomed the Committee doing so. The Committee considered the Deloitte Report and recommendations and carried out a public consultation on a range of policy proposals in September 2010.
The legacy report of the 2007-11 Committee commended the project to the new Committee formed following the May 2011 election and it in turn agreed to take the project forward. The current Committee considered the consultation responses, took further evidence and refined its policy proposals. It carried out a further consultation with key stakeholders in July 2012 and finalised its proposals over a series of meetings in 2013. The Committee’s Report on its proposals has been published and was debated and approved by the Assembly on 16 September 2013.
For more information about the proposed NIPSO Bill please contact the Committee Clerk Kathy O'Hanlon on 028 9052 1677, or Ombudsman Project Officer Alyn Hicks on 028 9052 1738.
Contact the Committee
Committee Clerk: Kathy O'Hanlon
Room 346, Parliament Buildings,
Belfast, BT4 3XX
Tel: (028) 9052 0302
Equality Commission NI event
On 27 August the Chairperson participated in the Equality Commission NI event Strengthening Protection for all Ages: Proposals for reform of Age Discrimination in the Provision of Goods, Facilities and Services. The Chairperson provided an overview of the OFMDFM’s scrutiny role and how stakeholders can assist the Committee in its subsequent scrutiny of the Age GFS proposals.
Mike Nesbitt, Chair of OFMDFM Committee addresses the “Strengthening Protection for all Ages” event
Seamus Lynch, Age Sector Platform; Dee Masters BL; Mike Nesbitt MLA; Roisin Mallon, ECNI; Eddie Lynch, Age Sector Platform
Inquiry into Building a United Community
The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister has completed its Inquiry into Building a United Community.
The purpose of the inquiry is to inform the Executive’s approach in the actions it takes to tackle sectarianism, racism and other forms of intolerance; and to make recommendations in order to support and enhance policy in uniting communities and community integration, including how communities are involved in decision making.
Young people from the Bytes project meet with COFMDFM Members to discuss the Committee’s Inquiry into Building a United Community, February 2015
Committee Motion on Refugee Week 2014 and Community Relations Week 2014 – 16 June 2014
Committee Motion: That this Assembly notes that 16 -22 June 2014 marks both Refugee Week 2014 and Community Relations Week 2014; further notes the respective themes of ‘Shared Future’ and ‘Building a United Community’; and expresses its support for both Refugee Week and Community Relations Week, particularly in relation to their shared aim of facilitating positive encounters between diverse cultures in order to encourage greater understanding, overcome hostility and build a shared society.
The full text of the debate held on 16 June is available here.
Further information can be found here.
Inquiry into the Barroso Taskforce
At its meeting on 19 February 2014, the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister agreed the Terms of Reference for an Inquiry into the Barroso Taskforce. The Inquiry investigated the impact of the Barroso Taskforce on Northern Ireland’s engagement on European issues and considered how the Executive engages on European affairs post-Barroso.
Visit of the Presidency of the European Economic and Social Committee
The Committee hosted a visit from the Enlarged Presidency of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 2 April 2014. The Committee met with EESC President Henri Malosse, Vice Presidents Jane Morrice and Hans-Joachim Wilms and other EESC members to discuss the role of the EU in the peace process, social cohesion and the future of the European Union.
EESC is a consultative body of the European Union and provides a formal platform for economic and social interest groups and representatives to provide views on EU issues. There are currently 344 members who are each nominated by national governments and the Presidency visited Belfast from 2-4 April 2014 at the suggestion of the EESC Vice President Jane Morrice.