Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 20 March 2013

Venue: Room 30

The meeting began at 2.05 pm in public session.

The Chair welcomed Mr. Leslie Cree to the Committee and members noted his declaration of interest.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

Briefings by Department

Members considered a tabled letter from OFMDFM advising that officials would not be briefing the Committee today on the draft Child Poverty Annual Report.

Members considered a draft letter to the Department regarding the lateness of briefing papers.

Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 2.08 pm

Mr. Lyttle joined the meeting at 2.08 pm

Agreed: To forward the letter to the Department regarding the lateness of papers and  today’s cancelled briefing.

Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation

Members considered an invitation from Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation on the 17 April in Dublin.

Agreed: To write to inform Glencree that the Committee/Members had previous commitments and to express willingness to engage on some other occasion.

List of Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

3. Draft Minutes held on the 13 March 2013

Agreed: The draft minutes of the proceedings of the 13 March 2013 was agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

PfG – Strategic Online Report – Updated to 31 December 2012

Members noted the updated Programme for Government Strategic Online Report.

List of Outstanding Issues

Members considered the list of outstanding issues.

Agreed: To write to the Department to regarding the Committee’s outstanding request for OFMDFM’s views on the Commission’s Work Programme.

“Towards a Childcare Strategy” Consultation

Members noted the summary of consultation responses received from the Department.

5. Correspondence

Committee for Social Development

Members considered correspondence regarding a European Commission Communication on the Social Investment Package which the Committee for Social Development had received from Mr Jim Nicholson MEP.

Agreed: To forward to the Department for its comments on this Communication.

Committee for Education – Education Bill

Members considered a copy of a letter from the Committee for Education to First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Education Bill.

Agreed: To write to the Education Committee to advise that on receipt of a joint briefing from the Department for Education and OFMDFM officials, the Committee would respond to the Education Committee.

Integrated Education Fund (IEF)

Members noted the correspondence from the IEF regarding its report “Integrated Education: a review of policy and research evidence 1999-2012”.

6. Child Abuse Inquiries in Other Jurisdictions – Written Briefing from Assembly Research and Information

Members considered a written briefing note and were briefed by a Researcher from the Assembly Research and Information Service on Child Abuse Inquiries.  A question and answer session followed.

Agreed: To invite Sir Anthony Hart to give an update to the Committee.

Agreed: To forward the briefing note to the Department for comment.

7. SR: 2013 No. 49 The Fair Employment (Specification of Public Authorities) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

Agreed: The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2013 Number 49, the Fair Employment (Specification of Public Authorities) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and has no objection to it.

The Committee went into closed session at 2.34 pm

8. Ombudsman Legislative Proposals

Members considered and agreed a number of its draft legislative proposals by consensus. The Committee divided on two issues.

The first issue was on point one of the summary schedule, four options relating to the appointment mechanism.

Mr Moutray proposed that we adopt second option – that the Bill would provide for the appointment of the NIPSO by Her Majesty on the nomination of the Assembly, Mr Robinson seconded the proposal.

The Committee divided:

Ayes: Mr Cree, Mr Lyttle, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson

Noes: Mr Maskey, Ms McGahan

The Committee agreed the proposal.

The second issue was on point fourteen of the summary schedule – the power for notices to be issued prohibiting the disclosure of information.

Mr Maskey proposed the removal of any power to issue notices prohibiting the disclosure of information, Ms McGahan seconded the proposal.

The Committee divided:

Ayes: Mr Maskey, Ms McGahan

Noes: Mr Cree, Mr Lyttle, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson

The proposal fell.

Mr Moutray proposed that that the Bill should provide that the Secretary of State or a Northern Ireland Minister (in place of “head of department”) may issue notices prohibiting disclosure of information provided to the NIPSO on the same basis as in the current Orders.

The Committee divided:

Ayes: Mr Cree, Mr Lyttle, Mr Moutray, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Robinson

Noes: Mr Maskey, Ms McGahan

The Committee agreed the proposal.

Agreed: The Committee Clerk would prepare a draft Report reflecting the Committee’s development of its legislative proposals with a view to a debate on the floor of the Assembly.

Agreed: The Bill Clerk would prepare draft instructions to the Parliamentary Drafter reflecting the Committee’s legislative proposals and policy decisions.

9. Any Other Business

Members noted the forward work programme.

10. Date, Time and Location of next meeting

The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 10 April 2013 at 2pm.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.00 pm 

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

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