Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 22 February 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in closed session at 2.03 p.m.

Apologies

As above.

1. Ombudsman Proposals

The Committee considered a number of policy issues in relation to the proposals to bring forward legislation to reform the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

Agreed: The Committee agreed a number of policy issues and agreed to seek legal advice in relation to some options.

The meeting moved into open session at 3.44 p.m.

2.  Chairperson’s Business

Meeting with the Chairperson of the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Chairperson informed the Committee that he met with the Chairperson of the Committee for Finance and Personnel to discuss the approach to consideration of Cohesion funding including PEACE funding. The Chairperson advised that they had agreed that an official from the Department of Finance and Personnel would attend the Committee’s European Panel meeting on 5 March to discuss the process for securing PEACE funding.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to request, via the Committee for Finance and Personnel, that an official from the Department for Finance and Personnel brief the European Advisory Panel. The Committee also agreed to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel to request that it shares any information it has on the process for securing PEACE funding.

Committee Invitations

The Committee noted the list of current invitations.

Balmoral Show

The Chairperson informed Members that the Committee had been invited to take part in a Q&A session at the Balmoral show on 16 May 2012. Members agreed to consider further when more information is available.

3.  Draft minutes of the meeting held on 15 February 2012

Agreed:The draft minutes of proceedings of 15 February 2012 was agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

Former Military Sites

The Committee considered a response from the Department providing further information on the maintenance costs in relation to the transferred former military sites.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information in relation to the Fort George site.

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Committee noted responses from the Equality Commission providing further information and proposals to reform disability and race discrimination legislation following its briefing on 8 February 2012.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Committee noted a copy of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s analysis of the draft Programme for Government commitments for children.

List of Outstanding Issues

The Committee noted the list of outstanding issues.

Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 2.10 p.m.

5.  Correspondence

Post Project Evaluations

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to outstanding Post Project Evaluations.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information in relation to its outstanding Post Project Evaluations.

Committee for Employment and Learning

The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning in relation to the abolition of the Department for Employment and Learning.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning to the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the abolition of the Department of Employment and Learning.

Include Youth

The Committee considered correspondence from Include Youth to the Committee for Employment and Learning in relation to the abolition of the Department of Employment and Learning.

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

Assembly and Executive Review Committee

The Committee considered correspondence from the Assembly and Executive Review Committee in relation to its review of the size of the Assembly and the number of government departments.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that the Committee is copied into any response that the Department makes.

National Assembly for Wales Enterprise and Business Committee

The Committee noted a copy of the National Assembly for Wales Enterprise and Business Committee’s report on its inquiry into the draft legislative proposals for the EU Structural Funds for 2014-2020.

Agreed:The Committee agreed to invite a representative from the National Assembly for Wales to a future meeting of the EU Panel.

Programme for Government and Investment Strategy Highlight Report

The Committee noted copies of the highlight reports for the Programme for Government (Report 4) and Investment Strategy (Report 3) consultation.

AGE NI

The Committee noted a copy of AGE NI’s response to the draft Programme for Government.

Investing Activity Report

The Committee noted a copy of the Department’s Investment Strategy Investing Activity Report for February 2012.

6.  Private Members Bill

Mr Steven Agnew MLA and Mr Ross Brown joined the meeting at 3.58 p.m.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 4.25 p.m.

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 4.26 p.m.

Mr Clarke left the meeting at 4.26 p.m.

Mr Nesbitt left the meeting at 4.31 p.m.

Mr Steven Agnew MLA and Mr Ross Brown briefed the Committee on the proposed Private Members’ Bill to introduce a statutory duty on Government Departments and Agencies to collaborate in the planning, commissioning and delivery of services for children. A question and answer session followed.

Mr Steven Agnew MLA and Mr Ross Brown left the meeting at 4.35 p.m.

7.  Draft European Priorities

Agreed: The Committee agreed, as amended, its response to junior Ministers on the Draft European Priorities 2012/13.

8.  Disability Strategy

A Departmental official joined the meeting at 4.40 p.m.

Departmental official, Mr Joe Reynolds briefed the Committee on the draft disability Strategy. A question and answer session followed.

The Departmental official left the meeting at 5.02 p.m.

Agreed:The Committee agreed that the Clerk would draft a Committee response to the draft Strategy for circulation and clearance by Members.

9. Any Other Business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 7 March 2012 at 2 p.m.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.05 p.m.

Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Chairperson,
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

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