Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 March 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10.04am                   

1. Apologies.

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting 8 March 2012.     

Agreed:  The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 8 March 2012 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business.

The Deputy Chairperson advised Members that he and the Chairperson, along with the OFMdFM Committee Chairperson, met with officials for a joint briefing on issues relating to the qualification of ILEX’s accounts for 2011/12 by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

The Deputy Chairperson also advised Members that the Chair agreed to meet with Lord Whitty on 23 March to be briefed on Lord Whitty’s report into energy issues.  The Deputy Chair advised that if other members wished to attend then to notify the clerk.

4. Matters Arising.

There were no matters arising.

5. Supporting People (Special Needs Management Allowance) – Departmental Briefing.

The following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 10.08am:

Ms Eilish O’Neil

Mr Finbar Cummins

Mr Alex Easton joined the meeting at 10.10am

The officials briefed the Committee on the Special Needs Management Allowance (SMNA) funding.    

Mr Michael Copeland joined the meeting at 10.16am

This was followed by a question and answer session.

Ms Judith Cochrane joined the meeting at 10.23am

Members clarified the outcome of the discussions held with the Department, DHSSPS and the Regulation Quality and Improvement Agency in relation to preventing the vulnerable residents being put at risk.

Members questioned what analysis has been undertaken to measure the impact the withdrawal of funding will have on vulnerable residents and expressed concerns that discussions are not being held with residents as to the current provision and future continuation of services.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule the following after the Easter Recess period:

  • A briefing from the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations;
  • a briefing from the Regulation Quality and Improvement Agency; and
  • a visit to a housing scheme supported by the SNMA.

 

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for the briefing.

The representatives left the meeting at 10.37am

6. Queens Quay Draft Regeneration Masterplan – Departmental Briefing

The following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 10.40am:

Mr Jackie Johnston

Mr Michael Pettigrew

Ms Carol Ramsey

The officials briefed the Committee on the Queens Quay Draft Regeneration Masterplan. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Members welcomed the Masterplan but questioned what is actually achievable in the Plan considering the current economic circumstances.

Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 10.58am

Mr Mark H Durkan left the meeting at 11.01am.

Members also questioned how much public and private investment is required to fully implement the Plan as it is currently presented.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

The officials left the meeting at 11.06am

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to consider making a response to the consultation once the responses have been collated. 

7. Housing – Briefing by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

The following representatives from the Chartered Institute of Housing joined the meeting at 11.07am: 

Mr Jim Dennison, Director of CIH Northern Ireland

Mr Keith Edwards, Director of CIH Cymru

Dr Jennie Donald, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, CIH Northern Ireland

The representatives briefed the Committee on the strategic direction for housing in Northern Ireland.  This was followed by a question and answer session.

Discussion was held around the key strategic challenges in Northern Ireland and how similar challenges in Wales are being dealt with particularly in relation to the development of a Housing Strategy and addressing current housing demands.

Mr David McClarty re-joined the meeting at 11.20am

Discussions were also held on how the Committee could work collaboratively with CIH in providing up-to-date and relevant information.

Members asked for more detail on the ‘Can Do Toolkit’.

Ms Judith Cochrane left the meeting at 11.45am

Mr Mark H Durkan re-joined the meeting at 11.46am

Mr Sammy Douglas left the meeting at 11.48am

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

The officials left the meeting at 11.56am

Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 11.56am

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.57am

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to CIH and ask for the following:

  • A written brief on the social and economic objectives;
  • details of the Existing Satisfactory Purchases;
  • details on the Welsh Cross Party Group;
  • a copy of the Welsh Minister’s statement; and
  • results of the consultation responses.

 

8. Statutory Rules

The Social Security Revaluation of Earnings Factors Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR 87/2012 The Social Security Revaluation of Earnings Factors Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ Report has no objection to the rule”.

The Social Security Pensions (Low Earnings Threshold) Order (NI) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR 88/2012 The Social Security Pensions (Low Earnings Threshold) Order (NI) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ Report has no objection to the rule”.

The Social Security Pensions (Flat Rate Accrual Amount) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR 89/2012 The Social Security Pensions (Flat Rate Accrual Amount) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ Report has no objection to the rule”.

The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Levies) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR98/2012 The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Levies) (Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and recommends that it be confirmed by the Assembly”.

The Occupational Pensions Schemes and Pension Protection Fund (Levy Ceiling and Compensation Cap) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR99/2012 The Occupational Pension Schemes and Pension Protection Fund (Levy Ceiling and Compensation Cap) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report has no objection to the Rule”.

The Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Diseases) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Social Development has considered Statutory Rule SR100/2012 The Social Security (Industrial Injuries) (Prescribed Diseases) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report has no objection to the Rule”.

9. Correspondence

The Committee noted correspondence from the Social Security Agency which provided an update on issues raised throughout the evening of the Welfare Reform Stakeholder Event on 31 January 2012.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding the minimum pricing of alcohol.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this item of correspondence to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department in response to the Committee’s request in relation to Outstanding Post Project Evaluations. 

Mr Mark H Durkan left the meeting at 12.03pm

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding its intentions to issue for public consultation, a paper on draft Regulations to ban certain price based drinks promotions.

Mr Michael Copeland re-joined the meeting at 12.05pm

The Committee considered correspondence from the Department regarding the Fuel Poverty Report and the Fuel Poverty Partnership.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule consideration of the Fuel Poverty Report into its forward work programme.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Appeals Service NI declining an offer to present evidence at a Committee meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed for the remaining items of correspondence to be dealt with as per the proposed next steps in the correspondence Memo.

10. Forward Work Programme

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to note the draft Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing by senior officials from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on its role to date in the PwC review.

11.  Any Other Business   

The Committee considered Terms of Reference for a potential piece of research to be commissioned by the Committee on ‘social enterprises’.

 Agreed: The Committee agreed that the research should go ahead.

12.  Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10.00am on Thursday 22 March 2012 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The meeting adjourned at 12.09pm

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
22 March 2012

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