WEDNESDAY 16 JANUARY 2008
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT bUILDINGS
Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Keith McBride (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Assistant)
Tim Moore (Senior Assembly Researcher)
The meeting opened at 2.07 p.m. in public session
Martina Anderson, Naomi Long, Barry McElduff, Jim Wells.
Meeting with Sustainable Northern Ireland
The Chairperson advised Members that he had received a request for a meeting with Sustainable Northern Ireland and that he would be making arrangements for thismeeting in the next few weeks. He asked other Members who would wish to attend to indicate their interest to the Clerk.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2008
The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 9 January 2008 were agreed by the Committee.
Diversity in Public Appointments response from OFMDFM
The Committee noted a response received from the Central Appointments Unit (CAU) in OFMDFM on the Committee’s request for information on progress to improve diversity in public appointments. The Committee agreed to seek further clarification from CAU on how it has implemented those issues for which it has responsibility and to identify who has responsibility for monitoring progress by departments in relation to the other recommendations.
Diversity in Public Appointments – OCPANI letter
The Committee noted further information provided by the Commissioner for Public Appointments on the declared affiliation of chairpersons and board members appointed under public appointments procedures.
Review Of Public Administration – response from OFMDFM
The Committee considered the response from OFMDFM in respect of the First Minister and deputy First Minister’s view on co-terminosity in implementing the Review of Public Administration (RPA). Following discussion, the Committee agreed to seek more detailed information from OFMDFM on how, in practice, co-terminosity has been and will in future be delivered.
The Committee considered a response from OFMDFM in relation to the Strategic Futures Audit report. Members were advised that Ministers consider the work on the draft Audit, and associated work, to be initiatives taken forward under the previous administration and do not consider that supplying the information requested by the Committee would serve a useful purpose. Following discussion, and consideration of advice from the Clerk on protocols relating to papers from a previous administration, the Committee agreed to request the findings of the Audit and to seek clarification on the Department’s future plans for this area of work.
Members noted the response from OFMDFM on comments made by the First Minister on the process to appoint the Victims Commissioner.
- Review of the Case for a Commissioner for Older People
The Chairperson advised the Committee that the interim report provided to the Committee was provided to enable the Committee to fulfil its role in policy development and would not be put in the public domain at this point.
Consultants from Deloite joined the meeting at 2.25 p.m.
Kathy Colgan, Glen Thompson and Colin Mounstephen from Deloite briefed the Committee on the work undertaken on behalf of OFMDFM to review the case for a Commissioner for Older People, answered questions from Members and sought Members’ views on a number of issues relating to the review.
Consultants from Deloite left the meeting at 2.25 p.m.
The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM regarding their concerns at the number, accessibility and location of proposed consultations being arranged as part of the review. Members agreed to invite Help the Aged and Age Concern to submit written evidence on issues relating to the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioner, before coming to a view on this matter.
Child Poverty Inquiry
The Committee was briefed by the Clerk on the Lifetime Opportunities Strategy, because a number of submissions to the Child Poverty Inquiry make reference to the Strategy. It was noted that the Strategy was developed by Direct Rule Ministers and has not been adopted by the Executive. Members noted the briefing and agreed to write to OFMDFM seeking clarification on whether any evaluation has been carried out of strategy implementation.
Mr Tim Moore, Senior Assembly Researcher, briefed the Committee on the approaches and measures which have been taken to reduce childhood poverty in other countries. Following discussion, Mr Moore agreed to provide clarification on a number of issues. The Committee also agreed to commission further research to inform the Child Poverty Inquiry.
British Irish Council Update
The Committee noted the written update on the British Irish Council and requested further detail on where information can be accessed on the outcome of each meeting and on the work to review the BIC secretariat.
Commissioner for Public Appointments
The Committee considered correspondence from the Commissioner for Public Appointments and agreed to seek a response from OFMDFM on the issues raised by the Commissioner.
Letter from Agriculture Committee
The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for consideration.
Any other business
Forward Work Programme
The Committee briefly discussed and noted the Forward Work Programme.
Date of next meeting
To facilitate oral evidence sessions in relation to the Child Poverty Inquiry, it was noted that the next Committee meeting will be on Wednesday 21 January 2008, at 10.00 a.m. in the Senate and from 2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
Mr Spratt and Mr Moutray advised that they were keen to support the evidence sessions but were unlikely to be able to attend the morning session due to a concurrent Assembly Committee meeting.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.08 p.m.