Session: 2012/2013

Date: 12 November 2012

ISBN: Only available online

Mandate Number: 2011/15

Committee: Regional Development

POWERS

The Committee for Regional Development is a Statutory Departmental Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly established in accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of strand one of the Belfast Agreement, section 29 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and under Standing Order 48 of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Committee has a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Department for Regional Development and has a role in the initiation of legislation.

The Committee has the power to:

  • Consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • Consider relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee Stage of relevant primary legislation;
  • Call for persons and papers;
  • Initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • Consider and advise on matters brought to the committee by the Minister for Regional Development.

The Committee is appointed at the start of every Assembly, and has power to send for persons, papers and records that are relevant to its inquiries.

MEMBERSHIP

The Committee has eleven Members, including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, with a quorum of five Members.

The membership of the Committee since its establishment on 16 May 2011 has been as follows:

Mr Jimmy Spratt (Chairperson)
Mr Pat Doherty (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Roy Beggs4                                     
Mr Joe Byrne 1, 5                         
Mr Stewart Dickson     
Mrs Dolores Kelly                                    
Mr Sean Lynch            
Mr Ian McCrea                              
Mr David McNarry 3                          
Mr Stephen Moutray         
Mr Cathal Ó hOisín

1. With effect from 5 June 2011 Mr Stewart Dickson replaced Mr Trevor Lunn.

2. With effect from 26 September 2011 Mr Michael Copeland replaced Mr Mike Nesbitt.

3. With effect from 6 February 2012 Mr David McNarry replaced Mr Michael Copeland.

4. With effect from 23 April 2012 Mr Ross Hussey replaced Mr Roy Beggs.

5. With effect from 23 April 2012 Mr John Dallat replaced Mr Joe Byrne.

Regional Development Committee
End of Session Report 12 May 2011 – 31 August 2012

End of Session Report for 2011-201

This report covers the work of the Committee for Regional Development during the parliamentary year from 12 May 2011 to 31 August 2012.

As of 20 June 2012 the Committee considered 116 proposals to make subordinate legislation and 47 Statutory Rules.

The Committee held 39 meetings. The majority of these meetings were held in Parliament Buildings apart from 9 which were held in the following locations:

  1. NIW Call Centre
  2. The Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh
  3. Belfast International Airport
  4. City of Derry Airport
  5. On the Enterprise Train from Belfast to Dublin
  6. Gilnahirk Primary School
  7. The Killyhelvin Hotel, Enniskillen
  8. The City Hotel, Derry
  9. The Seagoe Hotel, Lurgan

At one of these meetings the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association were invited to give evidence to the Committee in respect of the Audio Visual Project Evaluation Report and gave firsthand accounts of their experience of public transport. They were scheduled to appear with a number of others with varying degrees of disabilities. The Clerk took the decision to do a pre-meet with the delegates to familiarise them with the building and a typical committee set up and to establish if they had any further requirements.

Following the Committee meeting, the Clerk arranged for a follow up meeting with the organisation to get their feelings on how the meeting had gone and to get feedback on what improvements could be made for future meetings. The feedback from both meetings was shared with the Committee and with colleagues and that the Committee noted correspondence from Guide Dogs expressing their gratitude for the experience and consideration of the Committee and staff during their times at Parliament Buildings.

The Committee went on two overseas visits and one Republic of Ireland visit to the following locations:

  1. Nantes Métropole
  2. Brussels
  3. Dublin

Regional Development Committee

End of Session Report 12 May 2011 – 31 August 2012

Subordinate Legislation:

The Committee considered 116 proposals to make subordinate legislation and 47 Statutory Rules during this session and took oral evidence from Departmental Officials and others were appropriate. Although the Committee was content with the majority of the intended subordinate legislation, arising from its scrutiny the Committee requested written and/or oral briefings from Departmental Officials in relation to a number of these proposals before making its decision on their policy merits. These included: The Dundrod Circuit (Admission Charges) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, The Off-Street Parking (Amendment No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and The Penalty Charges (Prescribed Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Inquiries:

Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 8 February 2012, to commence its inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland. The Committee wrote to a number of organisations, identified by Members, inviting them to make written submissions based on the terms of reference of the inquiry. Following consideration of the written submissions received, Members agreed to invite the following organisations to make oral presentations to the Committee:

  1. The Department for Regional Development
  2. Northern Ireland Water
  3. NIGLA
  4. Construction Employers Federation
  5. Consumer Council
  6. NHBC
  7. The Law Society
  8. NIEA

The Committee considered and agreed its final report on 4 July 2012.

Inquiry into the Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Transport Options in Northern Ireland

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 23 May 2012, a draft signpost and draft forward work programme in relation to the above inquiry.

The inquiry is due to Commence on 4 July 2012 with a view to being published on 7 November 2012.

Budget Scrutiny:

During this session, the Committee undertook detailed scrutiny and provided feedback to the Minister on the Department’s quarterly monitoring rounds.

Performance Scrutiny:

Throughout this and previous sessions, the Committee continued to scrutinise the Department for Regional Development on its performance.

Policy Scrutiny:

During this session the Committee considered a number of important policy areas.

Engagement:

The Committee for Regional Development held a successful stakeholder engagement event during this session.  The Committee has also been very active with regards to influencing in the European Commission and European Parliament.

Programme for Government Stakeholder Event

On 12 December 2011 the Committee held an event in the Long Gallery to take evidence in order to inform the Committee’s response to the consultation process on the Draft Programme for Government 2011-15 and Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland 2011-21.

The event focused on four main topics:

  1. Public Transport
  2. Road and Rail Infrastructure and Investment
  3. Sustainable Transport
  4. Water and Wastewater

The Committee sought focused views in respect of the above categories on the following three points:

  1. Gaps in the Programme for Government
  2. Comments on the Milestones and Outputs
  3. What is the best way to monitor progress?

The Committee for Regional Development during the Programme for Government Stakeholder Event

As a result of the event the Committee was able to give an informed response to the Programme for Government 2011-15 and Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland 2011-21.

Committee Influencing in Europe

A delegation of the Committee visited the European Parliament in April to influence rapporteurs to the EU Transport Committee as they considered the policy of the new trans-European networks (TEN-T) and Connecting Europe Facility. 

As a result of this important engagement, representatives of the Committee were invited to participate in a stakeholder’s event hosted by the rapporteurs, again affording them the opportunity to network with and influence other EU parliamentarians and interested parties.

Members of the Committee meeting with EU Commission officials on the TEN-T and CEF policies

Committee Motions:

At the Committee’s meeting on the 13 June 2012, the following motion was agreed:

“That the Penalty Charges (Prescribed Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 (SR2012/203) be annulled?”

The motion was debated in plenary on 26 June 2012.

Likely Key Priorities for the Next Session:

Budget and saving delivery plans will continue to be a priority focus of the Committee, particularly in respect of Translink.  The Committee may also consider an inquiry into the governance of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHC)/Translink.

ANNEX A

Committee for Regional Development
Expenditure for the period 12 May 2011 – 31 August 2012

Budget area

 

Details

Expenditure

Committee Travel - committee members and staff travel and subsistence in relation to visits and meetings outside Parliament Buildings

 

Includes the cost of committee visits to:

 

  • Nantes Métropole
  • Brussels
  • Dublin

 

 

and 9 meetings held outside Parliament Buildings

£17834.61

Printing of committee reports

Includes the cost of committee reports on:

 

  • Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland
  • Inquiry into the Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Public Transport in Northern Ireland

£

Advertising – the cost of public notices relating to committee inquiries, the committee stage of Bills and meetings held outside Parliament Buildings

Includes the cost of public notices in relation to:

 

  • Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland
  • Inquiry into the Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Public Transport in Northern Ireland

 

£1222.77

Consultancy support - the cost of specialist advisers appointed by the committee and commissioned research, also the cost of drafting Standing Orders

Specialist adviser to the Committee

£0

General expenses

 

Cost of refreshments for committee meetings, working lunches, seminars, and room hire, and witness expenses, gifts provided by the committee during visits and conference fees for members.

 

£2315.17

 

 

Total Expenditure

 

 

 

£21372.55

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