Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 17 October 2012

Venue: Room 30

The meeting opened in closed session at 2.04 p.m.        

1.  Historical Institutional Abuse Bill

The Committee considered an email from a member of the public in relation to the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed a draft response to the email. 

Miss Fearon joined the meeting at 2.09 p.m.

The Committee considered late correspondence from the Department providing details of further proposed Departmental amendments to the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content to consider the draft amendments at today’s meeting.

The meeting moved into public session at 2.42 p.m.

2.  Chairperson’s Business

New Members

The Chairperson welcomed Mr McCallister to the Committee. The Committee noted the new Member’s Declaration of Interests.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Danny Kinahan for his work on the Committee.

Committee for the Enterprise, Trade and Investment

The Chairperson advised Members that in relation to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment report on Developing the Economy through Innovation, Research and Development and the subsequent response from the Department, that the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment will be briefing the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on its response on 8 November 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request an update from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment following that briefing.

List of Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

All-Party Group on Ethnic Minorities

The Committee noted an invitation from the All-Party Group on Ethnic Minorities to attend an event on “Human Rights, Procurement and Accountability” on Monday 22 October 2012.

Knowledge Exchange Seminar

The Committee noted an invitation to attend a seminar on “Welfare Reform: Implications and Options” in Parliament Buildings on Thursday 18 October 2012.

3.  Draft minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 10 October 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

Contested Spaces Projects

The Committee considered a response from the Department in relation to the monitoring and evaluation of the Contested Spaces Projects.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek clarification from the Department on the reference to the first quarterly report being available in “early autumn”.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

5. Correspondence

Committee for Employment and Learning

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning in relation to the work of the Children’s University.

Committee for Regional Development

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department correspondence from the Committee for Regional Development in relation to shop mobility funding.

Committee for Justice

The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Justice providing a copy of the Department of Justice’s response to issues raised by statutory committees on the Community Safety Strategy.

Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Committee for Health, Social services and Public Safety correspondence from the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the “Protect Life” Strategy and the Ministerial sub-group on suicide and self-harm.

Programme for Government Delivery Plans

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information in relation to the sustainability of jobs associated with the City of Culture bid. The response also provided further information on the monitoring and reporting of the Programme for Government and advised that the first report will be completed in early November.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Department on the first delivery report on the Programme for Government when it is available.

Former Military Sites

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information in relation the use of the Shackleton Barracks site. The response advised that the Asset Management Unit is currently developing options for maximising the potential commercial value of the site and that a report is expected in the next few months.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Department when the report is available.

Ilex

The Committee noted a response from the Department providing further information in relation to the appointment of a Chairperson and a Chief Executive of Ilex.

 

Committee for Education

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department correspondence from the Committee for Education in relation to “signature projects”.

Committee for the Environment

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Department correspondence from the Committee for the Environment in relation to the consultation on the European Territorial Co-operation 2014-2020.

6.  The Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill   

The Committee noted a response from the Children’s Law Centre in relation to the Committee’s request for further information on evidence that the laws introduced in 1995 were not always effective.

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.21 p.m.

Mr McCallister joined the meeting at 2.21 p.m.

Departmental officials Ms Maggie Smith, Mrs Cathy McMullan and Mr Michael Harkin briefed the Committee on the Department’s new amendments to the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill.

Mr Eastwood briefed the Committee on his proposed amendments to the Bill.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 2.45 p.m.

The Committee commenced its clause by clause scrutiny of the Bill.

CLAUSE 1 – The inquiry

Agreed: The Committee was content with the following proposed Departmental  amendments:

Clause 1, Page 1, Line 7

Leave out ‘31st May’ and insert ‘[new date xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]’]

Clause 1, Page 1, Line 8

Leave out ‘amend the terms of reference of the inquiry at any time’ and insert ‘at any time amend the terms of reference of the inquiry by order’

Clause 1, Page 1, Line 9

Leave out ‘presiding member’ and insert ‘chairperson’

Clause 1, Page 1, Line 10

At end insert ‘if a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, the Assembly’

Clause 1, Page 1, Line 12

Leave out ‘1945’ and insert ‘1922’

[Long title - Leave out ‘1945’ and insert ‘1922’]

Mr Eastwood proposed an amendment to permit the Inquiry to publish an interim report on the requirement or desirability of redress.

The Committee divided:

Ayes:   Mr Eastwood, Mr Lyttle

Noes:   Miss Fearon, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr McCallister, Ms McGahan, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson.

The amendment fell.

Mr Eastwood proposed an amendment to provide that the Inquiry may report recommendations on changes to law, practice and procedure to prevent future abuse.

The Committee divided:

Ayes:   Mr Eastwood, Mr Lyttle

Noes:   Miss Fearon, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr McCallister, Ms McGahan, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson.

The amendment fell.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee is content with Clause 1 subject to the Department’s proposed amendments.

The Committee divided:

Ayes:   Miss Fearon, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr Lyttle, Mr McCallister, Ms McGahan, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson.

Noes:   None

Abstention:     Mr Eastwood

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 1 subject to the Department’s proposed amendments above

CLAUSE 2 – Appointment of members

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 2 subject to the proposed Departmental amendments replacing ‘presiding member’ with ‘chairperson’:

CLAUSE 3 – Duration of appointment of members

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 3 subject to the proposed Departmental amendments replacing ‘presiding member’ with ‘chairperson’.

CLAUSE 4 – Assessors

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 4 subject to the proposed Departmental amendments replacing ‘presiding member’ with ‘chairperson’:

CLAUSE 5 – End of inquiry

Agreed: The Committee was content with the proposed Departmental amendments replacing ‘presiding member’ with ‘chairperson’.

Mr Eastwood proposed an amendment to make Ministers power to bring the Inquiry to an end exercisable by order subject to affirmative resolution of the Assembly.

The Committee divided:

Ayes:   Mr Eastwood, Mr Lyttle

Noes:   Miss Fearon, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr McCallister, Ms McGahan, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson.

The amendment fell.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee is content with Clause 5 subject to the Department’s proposed amendments.

The Committee divided:

Ayes:   Miss Fearon, Mr Givan, Mrs Hale, Mr Lyttle, Mr McCallister, Ms McGahan, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson.

Noes:   None

Abstention:     Mr Eastwood

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 5 subject to the proposed Departmental amendments.

CLAUSE 6 – Evidence and procedure

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 6 subject to Departmental amendments changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendments:

Clause 6, Page 3, Line 40

At end insert

‘(2A) Subject to any provision of rules under section 18, a statement made to the inquiry on oath by a person outside Northern Ireland through a live link is to be treated for the purposes of Article 3 of the Perjury (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 as having been made in Northern Ireland.’

Clause 6, Page 4, Line 3

At end insert

‘(4) In this section “live link” means a live television link or other arrangement whereby a person, while absent from the place where the inquiry is being held, is able to see and hear, and be seen and heard by, a person at that place.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) any impairment of sight or hearing is to be disregarded.’

CLAUSE 7 – Public access to inquiry proceedings and information

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 7 subject to Departmental amendments changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendments:

Clause 7, Page 4, Line 5

After ‘Subject to’ insert ‘subsection (3) and’

Clause 7, Page 4, Line 16      

At end insert

‘(3) The proceedings of that part of the inquiry described in its terms of reference as the Acknowledgment Forum are to be held in private and references to the inquiry in subsection (1) do not include that part of the inquiry.’

CLAUSE 8 – Restrictions on public access, etc.

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 8 subject to Departmental amendments changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendment:

Clause 8, Page 4, Line 21

At end insert -

‘(c) disclosure or publication of the identity of any person’

CLAUSE 9 – Powers to require production of evidence

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 9 subject to Departmental amendments changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’.

CLAUSE 10 – Privileged information, etc.

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 10 as drafted.

New clauses

The Department suggested new clauses be placed in the Bill in relation to the publication of Inquiry reports, the submission of Inquiry reports to First Minister and deputy First Minister prior to publication and the laying in the Assembly of Inquiry reports by the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

New Clause

After Clause 10 insert-

‘Reports

Submission of reports

*.¾(1) The chairperson must deliver the report of the inquiry to the First Minister and deputy First Minister at least two weeks before it is published (or such other period as may be agreed between the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly and the chairperson).

(2) In this section “report” includes an interim report.’

New Clause

After Clause 10 insert-

‘Publication of reports

*.¾(1) The chairperson must make arrangements for the report of the inquiry to be published.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the report of the inquiry must be published in full.

(3) The chairperson may withhold material from publication to such extent—

(a) as is required by any statutory provision, enforceable EU obligation or rule of law, or

(b) as the chairperson considers to be necessary in the public interest, having regard in particular to the matters mentioned in subsection (4).

(4) Those matters are—

(a) the extent to which withholding material might inhibit the allaying of public concern;

(b) any risk of harm or damage that could be avoided or reduced by withholding any material;

(c) any conditions as to confidentiality subject to which a person acquired information which that person has given to the inquiry.

(5) Subsection (4)(b) does not affect any obligation of a public authority that may arise under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

(6) In this section-

“public authority” has the same meaning as in the Freedom of Information Act 2000;

“report” includes an interim report.’

New Clause

After Clause 10 insert-

‘Laying of reports before the Assembly [j26]

*. Whatever is required to be published under section (publication of reports) must be laid before the Assembly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly, either at the time of publication or as soon afterwards as is reasonably practicable.’

Agreed: The Committee was content with the new clauses proposed by the Department set out above.

CLAUSE 11 – Expenses of witnesses, etc.

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 11 subject to the following Departmental amendments:

Clause 11, Page 6, Line 21

Leave out ‘OFMDFM may award such amounts as it thinks reasonable’ and insert ‘The chairperson may, with the approval of OFMDFM, award reasonable amounts’

Clause 11, Page 6, Line 26

After ‘where’ insert ‘the chairperson with the approval of’

Clause 11, Page 6, Line 30

Leave out ‘attending the inquiry to give evidence or’ and insert ‘giving evidence to the inquiry or attending the inquiry

Clause 11, Page 6, Line 32

Leave out ‘OFMDFM’ and insert ‘the chairperson’

Clause 11, Page 6, Line 35

After ‘OFMDFM’ insert ‘and notified by OFMDFM to the chairperson’

CLAUSE 12 – Payment of enquiry expenses by OFMDFM

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 12 subject to Departmental amendment changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendment:

Clause 12, Page 7, Line 1

At end insert

‘(1A) OFMDFM must pay any amounts awarded under section 11.’

CLAUSE 13 – Offences

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 13 subject to Departmental amendments changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendment:

Clause 13, Page 7, Line 22

Leave out from ‘fails’ to the end of line 24 and insert ‘without reasonable excuse-

(a) contravenes a restriction order; or

(b) fails to do anything which that person is required to do by a notice under section 9, is guilty of an offence.’

CLAUSE 14 – Enforcement by the High Court

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 14 subject to Departmental amendment changing ‘presiding member’ to ‘chairperson’ and the following additional Departmental amendment:

Clause 14, Page 8, Line 13

Leave out ‘a notice under section 9 or a restriction order’ and insert ‘, or acts in breach of, a notice under section 9 or an order made by the chairperson’

CLAUSE 15 – Immunity from suit

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 15 as drafted.

CLAUSE 16 – Time limit for judicial review

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 16 as drafted.

CLAUSE 17 – Power to make supplementary, etc. provision

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 17 as drafted.

CLAUSE 18 – Rules

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 18 subject to the following Departmental amendments:

Clause 18, Page 9, Line 24

At end insert -

‘(1A) Rules under subsection (1)(a) may in particular-

(a) provide that evidence given for the purposes of any particular part of the inquiry must not be disclosed -

(i) in the proceedings of any other part of the inquiry unless the chairperson so orders; or

(ii) in any criminal or civil proceedings in Northern Ireland unless it is necessary to avoid a breach of Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998);

(b) make provision for orders similar to witness anonymity orders within the meaning of section 86 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009;

Clause 18, Page 9, Line 28

Leave out ‘inquiry panel’ and insert ‘chairperson’

Clause 18, Page 9, Line 28

Leave out ‘panel’ in the second place where it occurs and insert ‘chairperson’.

CLAUSE 19 – Application to the Crown

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 19 as drafted.

CLAUSE 20 – Consequential amendments

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 20 as drafted.

CLAUSE 21 – Interpretation

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 21 subject to the following Departmental amendments:

Clause 21, Page 10, Line 11

At end insert

‘ “chairperson” means chairperson of the inquiry;’

Clause 21,  Page 10, Line 12

At end insert -

‘ “harm” includes death or injury;’

Clause 21, Page 10, Line 15

At end insert

‘ “member” includes chairperson;’

Clause 21, Page 10

Leave out line 18

Clause 21, Page 10, Line 22

Leave out ‘presiding member’ and insert ‘chairperson’

CLAUSE 22 – Commencement

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 22 as drafted.

CLAUSE 23 – Short title

Agreed: The Committee was content with Clause 23 as drafted.

Long title

Agreed: The Committee was content with the Long Title subject to the following Departmental amendment:

Long title

Leave out ‘1945’ and insert ‘1922’

The Committee considered its draft report on the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill and agreed some amendments to the draft report.

7.  Disability Strategy  

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.32 p.m.

Mr Kinahan left the meeting at 3.52 p.m.

Departmental officials Mr Frank Duffy and Mr Joe Reynolds briefed the Committee on the responses to the consultation on the draft Disability Strategy. A question and answer session followed.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 3.57 p.m.

8.  EU Pilot Project

The Assembly’s European Project Manager briefed the Committee on a proposed EU Pilot Project to support statutory committee engagement in European issues.

Agreed: The Committee was content with proposed EU Pilot Project 

9. Any Other Business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Commissioner for Older People on the Commissioner’s draft themes and priorities.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 24 October 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.04 p.m.

Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Chairperson,
Committee for the Office
of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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