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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 29 November 2012

Venue: Room 29

The meeting was declared open to the public at 10.08am.

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting at 10.08pm

Mr Henry McArdle, DSD;
Mr Antony McDaid; and
Ms Gail Cheesman

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Draft Minutes of Meetings 20 & 22 November 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the meetings held on 20 and 22 November 2012 were agreed.

3. Chairpersons Business

The Chairperson advised Members that he will be addressing Advice NI’s AGM on Friday.

4. Matters Arising

The Committee noted a copy of a presentation from Carduus which had been forwarded to the Committee following a meeting with the Department, Carduus, Housing Associations and other interested parties.

Ms Pam Brown joined the meeting at 10.10am

5. Proposed Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following proposed subordinate legislation:

The Pension Protection Fund and Occupational Pension Schemes (Levy Ceiling and Compensation Cap) Order (NI) 2013.

Agreed: The Committee agreed for the Rule to be made.

The Committee noted the following Commencement Order:

The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) (2011 Act) (Commencement No 5) Order (NI) 2012

6. Correspondence

The Committee noted an invitation from the ETI Minister for Members to attend the launch of stakeholder engagements on the subject of a Financial Capability Strategy for NI.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department advising the Committee that Capita Business Services were successful in the procurement exercise for the PIP Independent Assessment Provider.

The Committee considered a briefing paper from the Housing Rights Service on the impact of the reduction of SMI.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Housing Rights Service in the New Year.

The Committee considered correspondence from Fostering Network regarding the Welfare Reform Bill and the impact on foster and kinship carers.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on the issues raised.

The Committee considered correspondence from the ETI Committee regarding the Small Business Research Initiative (SRBI).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask its assessment of the SBRI in the Department of Social Development.

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

7. Business Improvement Districts Bill

The Committee continued its deliberation of the Business Improvement Districts Bill. Members discussed several key areas of the Bill and considered the possible ways forward in dealing with the outstanding issues.

Mr Gregory Campbell joined the meeting at 10.22am

Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting at 10.39am

Mr Mickey Brady left the meeting at 10.41am

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department outlining its current position on the Bill and seeking an urgent response so that the Committee can begin the clause-by-clause scrutiny of the Bill on Tuesday 4 December.

During its deliberation, Members discussed which Department would be responsible for restoring the public realm to its original form, if it is subject to works by a utility company. 

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the appropriate Department to seek clarification on the legislation.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

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

The Departmental officials left the meeting at 11.03am

8. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme

9. Any Other Business

The Committee considered a draft press release on the informal meeting with Lord Freud on Wednesday 28 November.

Agreed: the Committee agreed to forward any changes to the Clerk by 12 noon.

Members discussed the serious impact on towns and cities with the closure of shops and businesses and the responsibility of the Department in respect of town centre regeneration.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing from the Department in the New Year and to consider visiting some towns to discuss the impact with business owners.

Members also discussed what collaboration is taking place between councils to help town centres and if information is being shared.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to NILGA to seek clarification on this issue.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday 4 December 2012 in Room 29 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.09am.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
6 December 2012

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