Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 11 June 2013

Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings

1. Apologies

Apologies are noted above.

Declaration of interests

No members declared an interest in relation to the agenda items.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 9 April 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the above meeting were agreed. Proposed by Sandra Overend MLA and seconded by Chris Lyttle MLA.

3. Matters Arising

Matters arising to be covered in today’s agenda.

4. ACC Launch

Maeve McLaughlin MLA said the launch was a huge success with over 150 people attending from more than 100 organisations represented.

Susie Brown said there were over 1000 pieces of feedback received. These are being compiled by staff and will be reported at the next meeting.

ACTION: The feedback is to be compiled and presented at the next meeting.

A video clip was shown of the launch.

ACTION: Chris Lyttle MLA asked for the link to be emailed to him.

[5.15pm Kate Clifford arrived and was welcomed by Maeve McLaughlin MLA as the new representative from Rural Community Network.]

Chris Lyttle MLA said how good the event was and wanted to thank the staff for all their hard work preparing for the event.

He said that there was a great buzz around the event and it was a good way to engage with the sector. Maeve McLaughlin MLA agreed.
5. ACC Training Events

a. Get Involved Conference Derry/Londonderry
Maeve McLaughlin MLA stated that the Get Involved Conference took place in Derry/Londonderry on 7 June. She noted this was the first event since the ACC Launch. There was strong representation from both the community and voluntary sector and MLAs, with 45 attendees from 39 organisations.

Susie Brown said 100% of the delegates who responded said that they would be more likely to engage with the Assembly in the future. The change in format to speed-networking worked very well and that overall, the event was very successful.

Chris Lyttle MLA enquired as to the lack of representation from all parties.

ACTION: Susie Brown said she would enquire as to the reason not all parties were represented.

ACTION: MLAs will talk to their parties to try and make sure that all parties are represented at Get Involved events going forward.

Maeve McLaughlin MLA said the feedback she got from the event was very positive.

John Stewart said that small voluntary groups were able to have more confidence in coming forward in a smaller, more informal setting. Participants really enjoyed it. It was positive that there was an MLA for each table.

ACTION: A report on Derry/Londonderry will be compiled and brought to the next meeting.
b. Insight into the Assembly Sessions
Maeve McLaughlin MLA noted that Insight into the Assembly sessions are to show how groups can influence and shape policy. The first session will take place on 24 September with ‘Insight into how a Bill becomes Law’ which is to be facilitated by the Assembly Bill Office.

Susie Brown said that colleagues in clerking have been very supportive.

Maeve McLaughlin said dedicated representatives from Clerking have been identified to run each ‘Insight into’ session until February 2014, and staff will work with the clerks to develop each session.

ACTION: Inform the ACC Advisory Group of the dates and Clerks for each session

c. Get Involved – West Tyrone and Upper Bann

Maeve McLaughlin MLA stated that West Tyrone and Upper Bann ‘Get Involved’ conferences will now take place in the autumn.

Kate Clifford asked what venues would be used. Susie Brown explained that we have a pre-meeting with MLAs and discuss where would be a good neutral venue for this to take place.

ACTION: Upper Bann meeting suggestions to be followed up and meeting to be held for West Tyrone

Susie Brown said that MLAs from those constituencies have been contacted and have agreed to take part.

6. Fellowships
a. AMH 
Maeve McLaughlin MLA said the Speaker of the NI Assembly took part in the first ACC Fellowship at AMH in Derry/Londonderry. Feedback from both the Speaker and AMH was extremely positive.

Susie Brown explained that Action Mental Health is the Assembly’s nominated charity. The NIABT have been facilitating fellowships with NI businesses for a number of years. This initiative has been positively received and it was appropriate that the first fellowship for the ACC should have been in the Speaker’s own constituency.

Chris Lyttle MLA asked if there is a list of organisations that the Assembly could do a fellowship with.

Susie Brown said in the past organisations have tended to approach the Assembly, but if there are any particular groups that any members are interested in they should approach the ACC.

b.    BITC
Sandra Overend MLA explained that she was approached by Business in the Community to take part in a fellowship.

The board approved that the fellowship should be undertaken.

Chris Lyttle MLA said that he would be interested in getting involved with this also and suggested that they liaise on this.

ACTION: Chris Lyttle MLA and Sandra Overend MLA to take part in the BITC fellowship. 

7. Women into Politics event

Maeve McLaughlin explained that on 23 May Jessica Grounds visited the NI Assembly. Ms Grounds has devoted her life to empowering women to become political leaders. She met with female MLAs from each of the main parties to discuss engagement of women in Northern Ireland with politics.

Sandra Overend MLA attended the 23 May meeting along with Jennifer McCann MLA, Paula Bradley MLA and Anna Lo MLA. At the meeting it was suggested that the ACC should focus on this issue given that women were one of the top three least engaged groups as found in the 2009 Public Attitudes Survey.

Susie Brown asked if the members of the Advisory Group could give some thought as to the best way to approach this.

Maeve McLaughlin MLA said that there had been a lack of clarity between some of the groups and funding streams.

Kate Clifford proposed that it would be good to promote women in politics by bringing female MLAs into schools. She said that schools should be targeted.

Sandra Overend MLA agreed with this and said the group that Jessica Grounds had founded was centred around this age group – 16-18 year olds.

John Stewart agreed that focusing on schools was a good idea and that we should consider issuing a challenge to each of the female MLAs to visit a school.

Chris Lyttle MLA said that he really enjoyed visiting schools previously and had visited an all-girls school. Men are often not asked to contribute or get involved with women in politics but he would like the opportunity to be of assistance. He stated his personal interest in encouraging women into politics, having himself become interested in politics through women he had worked with.

John Stewart said that the numbers of women involved in politics will not change with just the intervention of female MLAs - they need the support of men as well.

Maria Bannon said that colleagues as well as schools should be involved.

Maeve McLaughlin MLA said that she would be happy for each member of the advisory group to give some thought to how they could develop initiatives around women in politics.

ACTION: Advisory group members to think about what they would like to do/have done going forward for women in politics.

ACTION: Staff to think about how to contact schools and liaise with the education department.

8. Requests for Sports events
Maeve McLaughlin said that the ACC Advisory Group approved the NI Transplant Forum GOAL Football Tournament at the last meeting. Jo-Anne Dobson MLA is organising the event.

ACTION: The invitation will be issued shortly.

The MLA vs Civil Service football match which was approved at the last meeting will now take place on 17 September 2013. 

9. Outreach attendance at external events
Balmoral Show (TAB 5)

Maeve McLaughlin MLA said the NI Assembly hosted a stand at the Balmoral Show in May and the Assembly engaged with over 3,500 people in the three days.

Susie Brown stated that this year the Assembly had rostered MLAs onto the stand at certain times and that helped to encourage more people to visit the stand and engage with MLAs.

John Stewart said that the staff and the bursary students at the stand did very well but there was no point duplicating efforts if departments and MLAs hosted their own Political Party stands. He suggested that we should look at some “set pieces” with MLAs as opposed to a stand – for example, the Assembly could host a debate.

Mela (TAB 6)

Maeve McLaughlin said the Northern Ireland Assembly will be hosting a stand at the Mela in August.

Susie Brown said that the Assembly’s presence at the Mela raises awareness of the Assembly’s Good Relations Policy.

10. Any Other Business

John Stewart stated he is involved in the CO3 mentoring programme and said that staff should be encouraged to do this as he feels that it would be very productive.

Note from CO3 website: “CO3 has delivered Executive Mentoring Programmes for almost a decade, to enable third sector leaders to benefit from the experience and knowledge of their peers, either from within the third Sector or from the public or private sectors. Mentoring is a highly successful development tool at senior executive level, offering support tailored to suit the individual, where issues/experiences can be discussed in a safe and confidential environment.”

ACTION: John Stewart to bring more information about this to the next meeting.

11. Date and Time of next meeting

Tuesday 24 September 2013 at 5.00pm

Meeting finished at 17.47.

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