Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 April 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 2.09 p.m.

Apologies

As above.

1.  Chairperson’s Business

Mr Tom Elliott MLA

The Chairperson and Members placed on record their thanks to the previous Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Tom Elliott MLA, for his work on the Committee. Members also welcomed the new Chairperson, Mr Mike Nesbitt to the role.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would write to Mr Tom Elliott MLA on behalf of the Committee to thank him for his work on the Committee and to wish him well in the future.

Programme for Government Delivery Plans

The Chairperson advised Members that the Committee had received correspondence from the Department advising that the scheduled briefing on the Programme for Government Delivery Plans will not go ahead this afternoon. Members noted the need for the Committee to receive papers from the Department in a timely manner to allow proper scrutiny.

Committee Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

Child Poverty Act Report

Members noted the lack of a response from the Department to the Committee’s request for an explanation for the delay in the Department publishing the annual Report required under the Child Poverty Act, due to be published by the end of March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request that officials from the Department appear before the Committee next week to explain the reasons for the delay in publishing the report.

2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 28 March 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

3. Matters Arising

Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee considered further information from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to EU Structural Funds and the potential to streamline and shorten the lead time for assessment of applications.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel to request that it be kept informed of any progress.

Victims and Survivors Groups

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information in relation to the risk assessment and auditing of Victims and Survivors groups.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that officials brief the Committee on the risk assessment and auditing of Victims and Survivors Groups.

Mr Molloy joined the meeting at 2.27 p.m.   

Victims and Survivors Service

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information on the Victims and Survivors Service and the transfer of staff into the Victims and Survivors Service.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the Business Case for the Victims and Survivors Service.

Commission for Victims and Survivors

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department advising that it is commencing a recruitment competition to appoint new Commissioner(s).

Proposed Abolition of Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee considered a response from the Department listing those organisations whose views it had sought in relation to the proposed abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to seek its views in relation to equality issues concerning the proposed abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning and the transfer of its functions to other Departments.

Regeneration of Sites

The Committee noted a response from the Department providing further information on queries raised by the Committee in relation to potential private sector investment at the Maze/Long Kesh site, the filling of vacancies on the Ilex Board and the qualification of Ilex’s accounts.

The Committee also noted the bi-monthly update on redevelopment at the Maze/Long Kesh site.

Race Relations Order 1997 (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing a revised estimate of the annual increase in wage costs which would arise from the Race Relations Order 1997 (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek further clarification on the real cost to ship-owners in Northern Ireland, including the fishing industry, and any consultation with affected ship-owners here on the impact of the proposed changes.

Committee for Justice

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Justice which provided a copy of the Department of Justice’s comments on the Executive’s draft European Priorities 2012/13.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this correspondence to the Department for information.

Integrated Services for Children and Young People

The Committee noted correspondence from Integrated Services for Children and Young People in relation to their funding.

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 2.34 p.m.

Women into Politics

The Committee noted correspondence from Women into Politics, which provided further information on their funding.

Social Investment Fund

The Committee noted a response from the Department in relation to the criteria used to develop the social investment zones.

PSNI Equal Pay

The Committee noted a copy of correspondence from PSNI Civilian staff updating the Committee on their action in relation to equal pay.

Community Relations Discussion Event

The Committee noted a copy of the notes from the Committee’s Community Relations discussion event on 28 March 2012.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

4. Correspondence

Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel concerning the consultation on an EU Commission proposal on a Common European Sales Law.

Committee for Justice

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Justice seeking the Committee’s views on the draft Community Safety Strategy and in particular Section 6 of the draft Strategy.

Ms Ruane left the meeting 2.48 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk would forward the Committee’s views on the draft Strategy to the Committee for Justice.          

Barroso Taskforce Thematic Sub-groups

The Committee considered correspondence from junior Ministers to the Committee for Employment and Learning concerning the Barroso Taskforce Thematic Sub-groups.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response to the Committee for Employment and Learning.

Sustainable NI

The Committee noted correspondence from Sustainable NI enclosing its publication Achieving Sustainable Communities – An Implementation Manual for local Government.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission – Equality Action Plan

The Committee noted correspondence from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in relation to their Equality Action Plan which is currently out for consultation.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Committee considered correspondence from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People which provided a breakdown of their enquiries in terms of legal and casework, together with draft Business and Corporate Plans.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People to request further clarification in relation to the breakdown provided.

Programme for Government Delivery Plans

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department enclosing guidance and templates provided to those preparing PfG Delivery Plans. These will be considered further when the Committee is briefed on the Programme for Government Delivery Plans.

5. Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities joined the meeting at 3.00 p.m.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.27 p.m.

Mr Robinson left the meeting at 3.27 p.m.

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities briefed the Committee on current issues facing ethnic minorities including its report on the Filipino community in Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed.

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities left the meeting at 3.29 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department, enclosing a copy of the briefing paper and the NICEM Report on the Filipino Community, and asking Department to comment on the issues raised. The Committee would also request a report on the outcome of the Department’s upcoming meeting with NICEM.

Agreed: The Committee also agreed to request a research paper by the Assembly’s Research and Information Service in this area.                    

6. Any Other Business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the updated Forward Work Programme.            

7. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 25 April 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.39 p.m.

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

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