Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 12 November 2013
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
Apologies are noted above.
Declaration of interests
No members declared an interest in relation to the agenda items.
2. Adoption of Previous Minutes
Minutes of the Meeting held 17 September 2013
Agreed: The minutes of the above meeting were agreed.
3. Matters Arising
[5.10pm Sandra Overend joins the meeting]
Matters arising to be covered in the agenda.
4. Revised Rules of ACC/ Rotation of Chairperson
The Chairperson referred the Group to the revised Rules for the Assembly Community Connect Advisory Board.
The Chairperson drew the Groups’ attention to the selection and function of the Chairperson, paragraph 14 of the revised rules, which reflected the decision to put in place an annual rotation of the Chair, and asked if members were content with this system.
Agreed: The Group agreed the annual rotation of the Chairperson from June to June.
5. Reviewed Suggestions for Recommendations arising from ACC Launch Feedback:
The Chairperson referred the Group to a paper, drafted by the ACC Secretary, Susie Brown, which evaluated the feedback from the ACC launch and incorporated recommendations for future development of ACC forward work programme.
Susie Brown provided the Group with an outline of the paper which made with the following recommendations:
a) That three voluntary and community sector organisations would be selected annually as a key focus for ACC;
b) That ACC would actively seek to increase registrations from individuals and organisations;
c) That at least one event each year would be held to target each of the selected group; and
d) That requests for bespoke training would be given priority for these groups.
Agreed: The Group agreed that the above recommendations should be implemented.
Susie highlighted three of the sectors discussed at the previous meeting and proposed that these sectors should be the first key three areas targeted for support and development via the ACC.
Agreed: The Group agreed that, as recommended, the following three sectors should be central to the 2014 ACC work programme:
6. ACC “Get Involved” West Tyrone Feedback
The Chairperson referred members to a feedback compilation in relation to the Get Involved West Tyrone conference which took place on 20th September 2013. She noted that, overall, the feedback from participants had been excellent and that the success of this event will continue to be built upon.
7. ACC Training Events
a) Get Involved Upper Bann
The Chairperson updated the Group on the Get Involved Upper Bann conference which took place on 8th November 2013. She noted that, as with the previous constituency Get Involved events, it had been a very successful day and invited John Stewart, Director of Information and Outreach to provide the Group with a synopsis of the event.
[5.15pm Seamus McAleavey joins the meeting]
John Stewart advised the Group that, again as with the previous Get Involved events, a diverse range of voluntary, community and charity sectors had been represented, that the level of engagement had been extremely high and that feedback from the delegates had been very positive. It was noted that the importance of educating stakeholders on the intricacies of parliamentary engagement was a valuable tool in support of organisational goals.
There followed a discussion on how best to build upon and develop Get Involved event participation; Seamus McAreavey offered NICVA support in the distribution of event details, Members agreed to distribute event flyers; how to utilise media resources and advertising material was also discussed. It was agreed that ACC should ensure a wide Third Sector audience is targeted, and that every voluntary/ community organisation would be provided with an opportunity to attend these events
Proposals in relation to the development of future marketing strategies for Get Involved events to be drafted.
b.) ACC Forward Work Programme
The Chairperson referred the members to the ACC Forward Work Programme, listing twenty eight forthcoming ACC events, and requested that elected ACC Board Members attend as many of these sessions as their diaries would permit.
Constituency Staff Training Day
Louise Close provided the Group with an overview of a scheduled ACC Constituency Staff Training Day event. She advised that a wide cross section of Assembly business area staff had signed up to present at this event in support of constituency office teams and that she was encouraged by the volume of registrations to date.
c.) ACC Event Attendance Statistics
The Chairperson referred the Group to a numerical breakdown in relation to engagement/ attendance figures for ACC events and training sessions, to date, this year. It was noted that over 7000 people had been involved in various ACC event activity, reflecting an engagement increase of approximately 76% since the launch of Assembly Community Connect in May.
8. Outreach Attendance at External Events
The Chairperson referred the Group to a sample of external third party events which Assembly Community Connect staff had been requested to participate in.
a) Business in the Community
The Chairperson advised the Group that, in order to gain an insight into and a better understanding of BITC, Chris Lyttle MLA had been invited to spend time earlier this year with Business in the Community. As this had proved to be a very useful visit, a second visit is to be scheduled for Sandra Overend on 29th November. It was confirmed that staff would be in touch with further details and a programme of events.
ACC staff to organise Sandra Overend’s visit to Business in the Community.
b) Northern Ireland Environment Link
The Chairperson advised the Group that, as agreed at the last meeting, staff made contact with the Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) and that, as part of the fellowship programme, a visit will be arranged in the new year.
It was noted that an invitation will be extended to all MLAs asking if they wish to participate in this programme; and that staff had developed a pro-forma which will be issued to organisations in advance of a visit, in order to ascertain their aims and objectives.
10. Connecting Women with the Assembly
The Chairperson reminded the Group of previous discussions in relation to engaging women in politics and pointed out that provisional event dates had now been identified for April and November. She invited the Group Secretary, Susie Brown, to update members on current thoughts around the work in this area.
Susie Brown provided the Group with an overview of current activity in relation to this field of work. She noted that:
In the current crowded space of civic and political engagement, the objective would be to formulate routes which would specifically encourage more women from the community sector to become involved in the political spectrum.
The Assembly had recently facilitated the launch of the Political Pop-Up Academy on 22nd October.
She had recently had a constructive meeting with Claire Mullin, Westminster Parliamentary Outreach Officer and that a second meeting had been planned to continue discussions around this area, early December.
The Houses of Parliament had recently launched a new programme to support women's engagement with Parliament and were currently seeking partners to help develop and deliver a range of activities and resources to support women's active involvement with Parliament.
She informed the Group of discussions with the US Consulate to develop a programme aimed at mentoring women and was working with them to develop this further.
There followed a discussion in relation to the difficulties faced by some women’s' groups in securing funding.
Group Secretary to draft a paper outlining the proposed strategy and programme of events in relation to engaging women.
11. ACC Budget and Expenditure
The Chairperson directed the Group to a paper outlining ACC budget and expenditure to date and invited the Secretary to provide an overview of the financial situation.
Susie Brown provided a breakdown of ACC expenditure to date, noting that the figures were currently on track and within the agreed limitations.
Agreed: The Group agreed that they were content with the ACC Expenditure figures.
12. Any Other Business
There was no other business.
13. Date and Time of Next Meeting
The date and time of the next Advisory Group meeting was agreed as:
Tuesday January 14th at 5.00pm