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Minutes of Proceedings

Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Martina Anderson
Tom Elliott
Dolores Kelly
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt

In Attendance:
Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Keith McBride (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Assistant)

The meeting opened at 2.07 p.m. in public session

1. Apologies

Naomi Long, Barry McElduff, Francie Molloy, Jim Wells

2. Chairperson’s Business

Invite from the Consumer Council

The Chairperson advised Members that he received a letter from the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, inviting members of the Committee to a dinner with Mr Brian Pomeroy CBE, Chair of the Treasury’s Financial Inclusion Taskforce, on Thursday 24 January. Members have also been invited to a conference hosted by the Consumer Council and the Payments Council the following day. The Chair advised he would be available to attend the dinner, but would unavailable to attend the conference. It was agreed that Members would notify Committee staff of their availability for either event.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 19 December 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters Arising

Arts for Older People

The Committee noted the response received from OFMDFM on the issue of Arts for Older People and agreed to forward the letter to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Committee report on the draft PfG and ISNI

The Committee noted the press release advising of the publication of the report.

Cross cutting priorities in the Programme for Government

Members noted the letter and report received from OFMDFM on cross cutting priorities and agreed to ask OFMDFM to commission an independent study to examine the impact of PfG and Budget for 2008-2011 on the resources being directed towards tackling poverty and social exclusion.

The Committee also agreed to invite the First Minister and deputy First Minister to attend a Committee meeting to discuss OFMDFM's budget and delivery plans for the Programme for Government.

Jim Shannon joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.

Capital Underspend 2007

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM on Capital Underspend.

Programme for Government and Child Poverty

Members noted the response from OFMDFM on how the reduction in numbers of children in poverty has been achieved.

Review of the Planning and Water Appeals Commissions

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM and the report on the review of Planning and Water Appeals Commissions and agreed to issue a press release welcoming the increase in funding and stating that the Committee expects to see early appointment of additional Commissioners and progress in reducing the backlog in planning appeals.

Advisory Council on Infrastructure Investment (ACII)

The Committee noted the letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister advising that they will not be renewing the appointments to ACII, which expired on 31 December 2007. The Committee agreed to seek further clarification on a reference to the ending of other existing appointments and on how engagement with social partners on the investment strategy is to be taken forward in the future.

Victims Commissioner

Members noted the response from OFMDFM on the Victims Commissioner and agreed to write to OFMDFM to ask when the Victims Commissioner will be appointed and seeking further clarification on comments made during OFMDFM question time on Monday 10 December.

5. Child Poverty Inquiry

Children in Northern Ireland joined the meeting at 2.30 p.m.

Oral evidence from Children in Northern Ireland

Members took oral evidence from Elaine Conway, Marie Cavanagh and Pascal McKeown, representing Children in Northern Ireland. A question and answer session followed. The Chairperson thanked the witnesses for attending.

Jimmy Spratt joined the meeting at 3.04 p.m.

Hansard recorded the evidence session for publication in the Committee’s report.

Children in Northern Ireland left the meeting at 3.15 p.m.

Derry Children’s Commission joined the meeting at 3.19 p.m.

Oral evidence from Derry Children’s Commission

Members took oral evidence from Clionagh Boyle and Dominic Bonner from Derry Children’s Commission. They were accompanied by Gavin Melly, a young person who was involved in consultations during the development of the Lifetime Opportunities Strategy. A question and answer session followed. The Chairperson thanked witnesses for attending.

Hansard recorded the evidence session for publication in the Committee’s report.

Derry Children’s Commission left the meeting at 4.00 p.m.

Future oral evidence sessions

Members agreed that they would hold a full day meeting on 23 January to gather evidence for the Child Poverty inquiry. Some Members indicated they may not be able to attend all day, due to other commitments in the Assembly.

Members also agreed to accept the offer from Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council to hold an evidence session in Dungannon in February.

Members agreed the timetable for future oral evidence sessions.

6. EU Directive on Gender Goods and Services

Members noted the tabled response from OFMDFM on the issues raised previously by the Committee.

Department officials joined the meeting at 4.10 p.m.

Dr Gerry Mulligan, Martina Campbell and David McGowan from OFMDFM gave an overview of the main issues contained within the response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the decision by UK Ministers to legislate at Westminster to implement the Directive. Officials then answered questions from Members.

Department Officials left the meeting at 4.35 p.m.

The Committee agreed that if Members wished to ask any further questions on the EU Gender Goods and Services Directive, they would forward these to the Clerk by 12 noon on Friday 12 January.

7. Correspondence

Letter from Chairperson of Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Committee agreed to forward to OFMDFM a letter from the Chairperson of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure seeking clarification from the Strategic Investment Board on briefings relating to the multi-sports stadium at the Maze/Long Kesh site.

Letter from Ards Borough Council

Members noted the letter received from Ards Borough Council on organisations funded by the Children and Young People’s Fund and agreed to advise the Council that the Committee has written to OFMDFM requesting information on future funding for priorities relating to children and young people and has invited Junior Ministers to attend the Committee to discuss this matter.

Correspondence from Playboard

The Committee noted correspondence from Playboard and agreed that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson would offer to meet with Playboard in the near future.

8. Any other business

Forward Work Programme

The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to seek an update on when the business case for the Maze/Long Kesh regeneration will be brought to the Committee.

9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 16 January 2008 at

2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.45 p.m.

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

19 December 07 / Menu