Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo



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

In Attendance:
Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Joe Sloan (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)

The meeting opened at 2.05 p.m. in public session.

  1. Apologies

Jim Wells.

  1. Chairperson’s business

Ms Anderson joined the meeting at 2.07 p.m.

Visit to Washington

The Committee confirmed that they were content for the Chairperson and the Committee Clerk to travel to Washington next week with the First Minister and deputy First Minister to promote next year’s economic conference.

Arts for Older People Network

The Committee noted the record of the meeting with the Arts for Older People Network attended by the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson and agreed to write to OFMDFM to ask whether consideration has been given to the issue of Arts for Older People as part of OFMDFM's work to develop and implement a strategy for Older People.

Mr Elliott and Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 2.09 p.m.

Response from Procedures Committee

The Committee noted the response from the Procedures Committee on Committees revisiting decisions.

  1. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 21 November 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

  1. Matters arising

Reviewing the case for a Commissioner for Older People

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM confirming that an announcement on a Commissioner for Older People will be made by the Junior Ministers in December 2007 and a briefing on the roles and responsibilities for a Commissioner will be provided to the Committee during January 2008.

The Committee agreed to request a copy of the British - Irish Inter Parliamentary Body’s Committee D report “The Irish Community in Britain”.

The Clerk undertook to inquire about the European week for older people so that the Committee could offer its support by way of press release.

Capital underspend - 2006-07

The Committee considered a response from OFMDFM providing details on capital underspends in departmental projects and programmes in 2006-07.

The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM in relation to concerns about delays in Reinvestment and Reform, the rationale for the SIB capital allocation and seeking assurances that expenditure coding problems would not recur.

Strategic Investment Board – Use of consultants

The Committee agreed the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation the use of consultants by the Strategic Investment Board. The Chairperson advised the Committee that the matter was being considered by the Public Accounts Committee.

  1. Child Poverty Inquiry

Mr Spratt joined the meeting at 2.24 p.m.

The Committee considered proposals for taking forward its Inquiry and the development of its interim report before the Programme for Government / Budget / ISNI consultation period ends. The Committee agreed to schedule an additional meeting in week commencing 17 December to make final consideration and agree publication of its interim report.

The Committee agreed that the written responses received to date should be included in the draft interim report.

Mr Mc Elduff left the meeting at 2.40 p.m.

  1. December Monitoring Round

The Committee considered the proposals for in-year budgetary pressures and easements within OFMDFM to be declared by the department in the December Monitoring Round.

The Committee agreed to write to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to seek further information on the proposed surrenders of resources from the North Belfast Community Action Unit, the Crumlin Road Gaol project and the Equality / Rights and Social Needs Division.

  1. Draft Programme for Government / ISNI / Budget

The Committee considered responses from OFMDFM in relation to queries on PfG, Investment Strategy and Budget issues relating to projects, programmes and efficiency plans in the department.

In response to Committee concerns in relation to budget allocations for tackling child poverty, Departmental officials provided additional clarification on budget bids and allocations and agreed to provide further information in response to a number of questions posed by Members.

The departmental officials left the meeting at 3.50 p.m.

The Committee considered and agreed its response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel’s consultation on draft Budget 2008-11.

  1. Draft Fair Employment (Specification of Public Authorities) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007

The Committee noted the policy proposals in the draft Order.

The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to establish if the proposals in the draft Order apply to private sector contractors engaged by public bodies.

  1. Review of Public Administration

The Committee considered a written update from OFMDFM on the progress on the Review of Public Administration from a departmental and cross-cutting perspective.

The Committee undertook to share the report with the other statutory committees.

The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to seek clarification on a number of matters.

  1. Correspondence

Health and Human Rights Conference

The Committee noted the Health and Human Rights conference on 7 February 2008 organised by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Members undertook to notify the Clerk if they wish to attend.

Inquiries into EU Reform Treaty

The Committee noted the calls for evidence from the House of Lords EU Select Committees and agreed to refer the Select Committees to the record of the Assembly debate on this matter.

Children in Northern Ireland

The Committee noted the letter from Children in Northern Ireland and that this had been lodged with the Assembly as a Freedom of Information request.

Christian Institute

The Committee noted the letter from the Christian Institute and that this had been lodged with the Assembly as a Freedom of Information request.

  1. Any other business

Consultative group on the past

The Committee noted the programme of public meetings across Northern Ireland being undertaken by the Consultative Group on the Past.

Committee’s Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the updated Forward Work Programme.

The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to ask when the business case for the Maze / Long Kesh regeneration and the regulations to implement the EU (Gender) Directive on Goods and Services will be brought before the Committee.

  1. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 5 December 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.17 p.m.

Mrs Naomi Long
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

21 November 2007 / Menu