COMMITTEE FOR THE OFFICE OF THE FIRST MINISTER AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 07 MAY 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)
Zoë Robinson (Assembly Researcher)
The meeting opened at 2.05 p.m. in public session
Naomi Long, Francie Molloy, Stephen Moutray, Jim Wells
Meeting with representatives from the Shadow Racial Equality Forum
The Chairperson advised Members that he met with representatives from the Shadow Racial Equality Forum on 1 May 2008 and highlighted the key matters raised. The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to seek a response to the issues raised by members of the Shadow Racial Equality Forum.
Meeting with members of the Ministerial Forum established as part of Lifetime Opportunities
The Chairperson advised Members that he is meeting with voluntary and community sector members of the Ministerial Forum established as part of the Lifetime Opportunities Strategy on Wednesday 14 May at 12 noon in Room 144. The Chairperson encouraged Members to attend, if available.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on 23 April 2008
The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 23 April 2008 were agreed by the Committee.
Conflict Transformation Initiative – Copy correspondence from OFMDFM
The Committee noted the copy letter received from the First Minister and deputy First Minister in response to the Committee for Social Development’s request for a copy of the legal advice concerning the decision to withdraw funding for the Conflict Transformation Initiative.
Review of British Irish Council (BIC) and North/South and East/West co-operation on child protection
Members noted the response from OFMDFM confirming that officials would be available to brief the Committee on the progress of the BIC Review. The response also provided information on North/South and East/West action to harmonise child protection arrangements. The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on progress in relation to child protection issues.
Review of the Civic Forum
The Committee noted the letter from OFMDFM, which provided the Committee with notification of the review leader for the Civic Forum Review. Members agreed to write to OFMDFM to seek clarification on the Terms of Reference for the Review.
Former military site at Lisanelly
Members noted the response from OFMDFM to the Committee’s request for a timeline for development of the Lisanelly site. Members agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister to offer the Committee’s support for discussions with the Prime Minister concerning the gifting of former military sites.
US-NI Investment Conference – List of companies new to Northern Ireland.
Members noted the list of companies attending the US-NI Investment Conference, which are new to Northern Ireland.
Extract from the Examiner of Statutory Rules 14 th Report
The Committee noted the extract from the Examiner of Statutory Rules Report concerning the Sex Discrimination Order 1976 (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008, which the Committee considered at its meeting on 23 April 2008.
Good Relations Panel
Members noted the response from OFMDFM to the Committee’s request for the minutes of the Good Relations Panel. The response provided the minutes of the Good Relations Panel meetings and sought the Committee’s agreement that they be treated in confidence. Members agreed to write to OFMDFM concerning the Ministerial oversight of the Panel and to seek further information on the status and structure of the Panel.
Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill
Members noted that the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson were briefed by phone by Junior Ministers on OFMDFM’s amendments to the Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill.
Review of British Irish Council
Officials from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister joined the meeting at 2.35 p.m.
Departmental officials, Rosalie Flanagan, Frank Duffy and Aidan Cassidy, briefed the Committee on the Review of the British Irish Council, and in particular the review of the standing secretariat. A question and answer session followed. Officials advised that the Review would be completed in time for the next Summit meeting in September 2008.
Barry McElduff left the meeting at 2.52 p.m.
Officials from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister left the meeting at 3.04 p.m.
Following the briefing the Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to request a further briefing on the Review, in advance of the Summit meeting in September. Members also agreed to seek clarification on the number and grades of staff supporting the British Irish Council and the North South Ministerial Council.
Play and Leisure Policy
Barry McElduff joined the meeting at 3.12 p.m.
Officials from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister joined the meeting at 3.12 p.m.
Departmental officials, Colin Jack and Nicola Drennan briefed the Committee on OFMDFM’s Play and Leisure Policy Statement. A question and answer session followed.
Officials from the Office of the first Minister and Deputy First Minister left the meeting at 3.48 p.m.
Following the briefing, Members agreed to write to OFMDFM concerning a number of issues raised during the briefing from officials.
Child Poverty Inquiry
Members discussed a paper from OFMDFM on the Lifetime Opportunities Strategy. Members noted the proposal that the Executive adopt the architecture and principles of Lifetime Opportunities and agreed to write to OFMDFM to advise that the Committee’s report will include a number of detailed recommendations to improve delivery in relation to the Strategy.
Jimmy Spratt left the meeting at 3.59 p.m.
Members noted the correction to the Save the Children press release considered at the inquiry review meeting on 30 April 2008.
Members also agreed to accept this paper, along with a number of other papers considered at the inquiry review meeting, as evidence for the child poverty inquiry.
Dolores Kelly left the meeting at 4.02 p.m.
Zoë Robinson, a Researcher from the Assembly Research and Library Services, briefed the Committee on Children’s Services Planning. The paper outlined the legislative basis for public bodies and authorities in the UK and Ireland working together to ensure an integrated approach to children’s services planning. Members sought and were provided with clarification on a number of issues.
Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland
Members noted correspondence from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland advising of the launch of its Strategic Plan.
Criminal Justice Inspection NI
Members noted the correspondence from Criminal Justice Inspection NI, together with a copy of its Business Plan for Criminal Justice Inspection for the coming year.
Members discussed the correspondence sent to Mr Tom Elliott from Playboard, concerning services that are under threat of closure due to a lack of funding for school age childcare. Members agreed to write to OFMDFM seeking clarification on what plans there are to deal with the issue of school aged childcare. It was also agreed that the Committee would copy the letter to relevant statutory committees.
Love for Life
Members noted the copy correspondence sent to the Criminal Justice Delivery Division of the Northern Ireland Office from Love for Life.
Members noted the correspondence from Sustainable NI with regard to the Sustainable Development Strategy. Members agreed to advise Sustainable NI that the Committee will be commencing a review of sustainable development at the end of May.
NI Independent Retail Trade Association
Members noted the correspondence from NI Independent Retail Trade Association concerning the proposed closure of Post Offices. The Committee agreed to advise NIIRTA that their letter has been forwarded to the Ad-hoc Committee on Local Postal Services.
Public Accounts Committee
Members noted that the correspondence from the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee regarding public appointments had been forwarded to the First Minister and deputy First Minister.
Regional Development Committee
Members noted the correspondence from the Chairperson of the Regional Development Committee supporting the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in seeking the early progression of regulations on disability discrimination and transport.
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Members agreed to forward the correspondence from the Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to the First Minister and deputy First Minister requesting a written submission for its inquiry into Credit Unions. Members indicated they would like to make a written submission to the inquiry based on the findings of the Child Poverty inquiry.
Any Other Business
Forward Work Programme
The Committee briefly discussed the Forward Work Programme and the Clerk advised Members of the items of business for forthcoming meetings.
Outstanding Correspondence from OFMDFM
Members considered outstanding correspondence from OFMDFM and agreed to write to OFMDFM requesting urgent responses and explanations for the delays.
Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 14 May 2008 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.17 p.m.