Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo



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

In Attendance:
Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Joe Sloan (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
The meeting opened at 2.06 p.m. in public session.

  1. Apologies

Francie Molloy, Stephen Moutray.

  1. Chairperson’s business

Mr Spratt and Mrs Anderson joined the meeting at 2.08 p.m.

Visit to Washington

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he expects to receive an invitation to participate in the visit to Washington by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in preparation for next years Investment Conference and that it was his intention to accept in light of the conference’s importance to the future development of Northern Ireland.

  1. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 14 November 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

  1. Matters arising
October Monitoring Round

The Committee noted a response from OFMDFM on the in-year bid for funding for the Planning Appeals Commission.

Reviewing the case for a Commissioner for Older People

The Committee noted that a response to their letter asking for a briefing on the review of the case for a Commissioner for Older People has been requested in advance of the next meeting.

  1. Draft Programme for Government / Budget / Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland

The Committee considered and discussed the key points that Members would wish to see raised during the “Take note” debate on the draft Programme for Government and draft Investment Strategy on Monday 26 November 2007 and the approach by Members to the debate.

Mrs Kelly requested information on how the Welsh Assembly prioritised Children and Young People in their programme for government and also requested further information on the accountability for Integrated Development Fund initially allocated to OFMDFM but subsequently reallocated to another Department.

The Committee agreed to make the Chairperson’s speech available to Committee Members in advance of the planned debate on 26 November 2007.

Mr Elliot joined the meeting at 2.16 p.m.

During discussion by the Committee, on its response on the Executive’s draft Budget; Members put forward a number of views.

Mrs Long proposed that:-

“The Committee is not content with the funding and prioritisation of Good Relations, Community Relations and Shared Future within the Budget and spending priorities.”

Mrs Kelly seconded the proposal.

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 5


Mrs Kelly
Mr Kennedy
Mr Elliot
Mrs Long


Mr Spratt
Mr Shannon
Mr Wells
Mrs Anderson
Mr McElduff

The proposal was accordingly negatived.

Mrs Long proposed that:-

“The Committee would make in its draft Budget response, specific reference to the Cost of Division Report and its importance to the spending priorities and to executive, strategic and cross-cutting priorities.”

Mrs Kelly seconded the proposal.

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 2


Mr Elliot
Mrs Kelly
Mrs Long
Mr Wells


Mr McElduff
Mrs Anderson

The proposal was agreed to.

The Clerk undertook to revise the draft response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the draft Budget; for discussion at next week’s meeting.

  1. Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and her officials Teresa Devlin and Marlene Kinghan joined the meeting at 3 p.m.

The Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley, briefed the Committee on her role and the powers and the function of her office, and on her views in relation to the reviews of her Office and the legislation under which it operates.

The Commissioner and her officials answered questions from Members and undertook to provide further information on a number of issues raised during the meeting.

Mr Spratt left the meeting at 3.37p.m.
The Commissioner and her officials left the meeting at 3.47 p.m.

The Committee agreed to issue a press release highlighting the Commissioners attendance and offering support for the work of her Office.


The Committee noted a letter from Rev Hamilton on behalf of an intercommunity grouping of North Belfast Churches and agreed to ask for a copy of the group’s response to the Programme for Government and to offer a meeting with the Chairperson, which all Members would be invited to attend.

  1. Any other business
Forward Work Programme

Members noted changes to the proposed timetable. The Chairman made it clear that he would be seeking to protect the status of the Committee in terms of its statutory duty to scrutinise policy and legislation and reflected Members concerns regarding the delays associated with a number of papers from OFMDFM, including regulations to implement the EU Gender Goods and Services Directive.

Public Appointments

Mrs Anderson sought further information on implementation by OFMDFM of the recommendations of the previous Commissioner for Public Appointments regarding gender balance and diversity in the uptake of public appointments.

Strategic Investment Board

Mrs Anderson requested further information on press reports relating to the use of consultants by the Strategic Investment Board.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 3.57 p.m.

  1. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 28 November 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.59 p.m.

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

14 November 2007 / Menu