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Minutes of Proceedings
Wednesday 17 October 2007

Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Martina Anderson
Tom Elliot
Barry McElduff
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt

In Attendance:
Christine Darrah (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
Lynn Gray (Clerical Officer)

The meeting opened at 2.02 p.m. in public session.

  1. Apologies

Dolores Kelly, Stephen Moutray, Jim Wells.

  1. Chairperson’s business
Equal Opportunities Committee at the Scottish Parliament

Members noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Equal Opportunities Committee in the Scottish Parliament regarding building links and examining means of working together with this Committee and the equivalent Committee in the National Assembly for Wales. The Committee welcomed the proposal and agreed to respond positively to the invitation.

Research Briefings

Members agreed that research papers should automatically be published on the Assembly Website once they had been presented to the Committee unless a decision was specifically taken not to publish a particular paper.

Meeting with the Head of the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he and other Members had a useful and interesting discussion earlier over lunch with the Head of the European Representation in the United Kingdom, Reijo Kemppinen.

  1. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 10 October 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

  1. Matters arising
ILEX Visit

The Committee noted the final programme for the visit to ILEX and the meeting at Magee College on Wednesday 24 October 2007 and agreed a press release in relation to the event.

  1. Child Poverty Inquiry Forward Work Programme

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 2.20 p.m.

The Committee discussed and agreed the work schedule for the Child Poverty Inquiry which aimed to deliver an interim report by 14 December 2007 and to complete the inquiry by early March 2008. The Committee agreed a press release announcing the launch of the inquiry.

  1. Cost of Division Report

The Chairperson advised that in accordance with the procedural guidance, notice had been given to all members of the Committee of the intention to revisit the previous decision not to invite the authors of the Cost of Division Report to brief the Committee. He also confirmed that the general issue of committees revisiting decisions stood referred to the Committee on Procedures. Mr Elliot proposed that the authors be invited to make a presentation to the Committee on the Cost of Division report.

The Committee divided: Ayes 3; Noes 4

N Long
D Kennedy
T Elliot

M Anderson
B Mc Elduff
J Shannon
J Spratt

The motion was accordingly negatived.

  1. OFMDFM PfG Emerging Priorities

The official joined the meeting at 2.42 p.m.

Departmental Official, Mrs Jackie Kerr briefed the Committee emerging Programme for Government priorities for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Mrs Kerr outlined the following strategic priorities:  

  1. Anti-poverty
  2. Good Relations including Race Relations
  3. Sustainable Development
  4. Children and Young People
  5. Victims and Survivors
  6. Planning and Water Appeals Commission
  7. Older People
  8. International Relations

Following further discussion and questions from the Committee, Mrs Kerr agreed to provide clarification on a number of issues raised during the discussion. Mrs Kerr advised that the draft Programme for Government and draft Budget was due to be published at the end of October/early November 2007.

The official left the meeting at 3.10 p.m.

  1. Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments

The Assembly Researcher briefed the Committee on comparative information in relation to the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland and in England and Wales.

The Commissioner for Public Appointments in N.I joined the meeting at 3.22 p.m.

The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Mrs Felicity Huston accompanied by Miss Martina Hanna briefed the Committee on her role and remit and issues relating to her office and resources. This was followed by a question and answer session.

The Commissioner for Public Appointments in N.I left the meeting at 4.15 p.m.

The Committee agreed to request a transcript of the session.

  1. EU Gender Directive on Goods and Services

Members discussed a draft response to OFMDFM on the outcome of the consultation exercise on the EU Gender Directive on Goods and Services. The Committee agreed to discuss a further draft response at the next meeting.

  1. Correspondence
Civic Forum

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM in relation to the Review of the Civic Forum and agreed to await the briefing on this matter scheduled for 28 November 2007.

Letter from Committee for Health and Social Services and Public Safety

The Committee agreed to forward a letter from the Committee for Health and Social Services and Public Safety regarding its inquiry into the prevention of suicide and self harm to the First Minister and deputy First Minister. The Committee also agreed to consider responding to the Health Committee on the inquiry at a later date.

Letter from Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council

The Committee noted a letter from Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council in relation to the Child Poverty Inquiry and agreed to give the matter further consideration when the oral evidence sessions were being arranged.

ISNI response

The Committee noted information provided by OFMDFM in relation to the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland and the Strategic Investment Board and agreed to write to the Department for further clarification on a number of issues.

Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform

Members noted a letter sent to the Junior Ministers in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister from the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform regarding government’s key priorities for addressing gender inequalities which had been copied to the Committee for information.

  1. Date of the next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 24 October 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in the Great Hall, Magee Campus, University of Ulster.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.40 p.m.

Mr Danny Kennedy
Chairperson, Committee for the Office
of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

10 October 07 / Menu