The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 10 January 2013

Venue: Room 29 Parliament Buildings

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting 13 December 2012

Agreed:  The minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2012 were agreed.

Mr Mark H Durkan joined the meeting at 10.04am


3. The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that the Chairperson has agreed to speak at a Fuel Poverty Event organised by the 7 Councils of Causeway Coast and Glens and Mid and East Antrim on 17 January 2013.

The Deputy Chairperson advised Members of the dates provided by the Department         for the passage of the BIDs Bill.

  • 21 January 2013 – Consideration Stage 
  • 29 January 2013 – Further Consideration Stage 
  • 12 February 2013 – Final Stage 
4. Matters Arising

The Committee considered draft timetables for the Welfare Reform Bill and the consideration of the Regulations.

The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that the timetables were in draft form and that the dates are purely indicative based on several assumptions.  The Deputy Chairperson suggested that Members consider the option of requesting a two-week extension to the Committee Stage of the Bill and to discuss this at next week’s   meeting.

Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting at 10.06am

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to return to this issue at next week’s meeting.

5. Specification of hinges used by the NIHE – Departmental Briefing

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting 10.09am

  • Mr Michael Sands, Deputy Director, Housing – DSD;
  • Gerry Flynn, Director of Housing and Regeneration – NIHE; and
  • Mr David Adamson, Senior Project Manager, Estate Services - NIHE

The officials briefed the Committee on the specification of hinges used by the Housing Executive.  Members questioned why the Housing Executive are changing to casement hinged windows if the saving of £15m, as a result of minimising                                             redecoration grants, can be achieved by appropriate installation of reversible hinged windows which appear to be a superior product.  Members sought clarification on the savings relating to the change of hinges and window installation.

Members sought clarification on technical aspects of the installation of windows in Housing Executive units. Members questioned why Housing Authorities in Scotland have chosen to install reversible hinged windows across its housing stock.

Mr Alex Maskey joined the meeting at 10.38am and took over the role of Chairperson.

Mr Mickey Brady left the meeting at 10.38am.

Members questioned if any discussions have taken place, with manufacturers who currently supply the reversible hinge, about the potential impact on jobs as a result of the change to casement hinged windows. 

Members expressed concern over the rationale for the change in specification.  The Chair specifically noted that the “capacity concerns from a delivery perspective” and “widening out the manufacturer supply base from what was historically a very narrow supply area” had never been raised before by the Department as part of the rationale for the change despite several briefings and meetings on this subject.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for their attendance at the meeting.

The officials left the meeting at 11.11am.

Mr Fra McCann left the meeting at 11.11am

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask for a breakdown of the savings relating to the change of specification for hinges and window installation. The Committee also agreed to ask for details of why the Scottish Housing Authorities chose to solely install reversible hinge windows across its housing stock.

Agreed:   The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from representatives of the double glazing industry on the specification of hinges used by the NIHE.  

6. Correspondence

6.1 The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding the Small Business Research Initiative.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward this response to the ETI Committee and also write to the Department asking to be kept abreast of developments in relation to the 3 potential projects identified at this early stage.

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.13am

6.2 The Committee noted the Housing Executive’s Heating Policy Review prior to it going out for consultation.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Department once the consultation has completed.

6.3 The Committee noted correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee in relation to the European Commission Work Programme.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed for the Clerk to liaise with Research in order to schedule this into the Forward Work Programme.

6.4 The Committee noted correspondence from the Assembly Legislative Strengthening Trust in relation to its workshop on ‘Effective Questioning and Scrutiny’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to either let the Clerk know of a date they would like to attend or to book through the Programme Coordinator.

Members were content for the remaining items of correspondence to be dealt with as per the correspondence memo.

7. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

Mr Fra McCann re-joined the meeting at 11.16am

8. Any Other Business

The Committee discussed the recent press release from the Minister on his intention to make a written statement in the Assembly on the Fundamental Review of the NIHE.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Thursday 17 January 2013 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.22am.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
17 January 2013

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