Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo



Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Tom Elliott
Dolores Kelly
Barry McElduff
Francie Molloy
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt
Jim Wells

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 2.04 p.m. in public session

1. Apologies

Martina Anderson and Naomi Long.

2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 21 May 2008

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 21 May 2008 were agreed by the Committee.

Mr McElduff and Mr Wells joined the meeting at 2.07 p.m.

3. Matters Arising
OFMDFM response on Public Sector Capability

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM, on the steps taken to address concerns regarding the public sectors capacity to deliver the Investment Strategy, in terms of the availability of project management/support skills.

OFMDFM response on the Sex Discrimination Order 1976 (Amdt) Regs NI 2008

The Committee noted the response from OFMDFM, advising that the department will provide a substantive response to the Committee’s request to undertake a review of the third party harassment provisions in the Sex Discrimination Order 1976 (Amdt) Regs NI 2008.

OFMDFM response on Funding for Minority Ethnic Communities

The Committee discussed the response from OFMDFM in relation to the Committees enquires on the Funding Programme for Ethnic Communities and agreed to outline the Committee’s view on the need for there to be an adequate appeals mechanism for core funding programmes. Members also agreed to forward a copy of the response to the Shadow Race Equality Forum.

Copy letter from OFMDFM on Committee Scrutiny of Parity Legislation

The Committee noted the copy letter from OFMDFM to the Committee for Social Development.

Referendum on the New European Union Treaty

The Committee discussed the advice given in plenary regarding the legal position for holding referenda in Northern Ireland and agreed to write to the Committee for Assembly and Executive Review regarding the powers to hold a referendum in Northern Ireland following devolution.

Maze/Long Kesh

The Committee was informed that the Outline Business Case for the Maze/Long Kesh Programme would issue to Members in next week’s pack and that officials would attend the Committee on 4 June 2008. Members agreed to consider holding part of this session in private session, due to commercial sensitivities.

Review of Competitiveness of Northern Ireland – David Varney

Mr Shannon joined the meeting at 2.11 p.m.

The Committee discussed the Review of Competitiveness of Northern Ireland by Sir David Varney and agreed a response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel.

4. June Monitoring Round

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.

Departmental Officials, Damien Prince, Jackie Kerr and Gerry Mulligan, briefed the Committee on the in-year budgetary pressures and easements within OFMDFM to be declared by the department in the June monitoring round. Officials agreed to provide further information on a number of issues.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 2.40 p.m.

The Committee agreed to offer its support for OFMDFM’s June Monitoring position.

5. Sustainable Development

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.42 p.m.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 2.49 p.m.

Departmental Officials, Damian Prince, Jim Sutherland and John Bradley, briefed the Committee on the current position in relation to the Sustainable Development Strategy and implementation plans and on the actions within the strategy for which OFMDFM has the lead role. Members expressed concern about the extent of progress in implementing aspects of the strategy.

The Committee questioned officials on the position in relation to the draft Sustainable Development Strategy and sought clarification on the level of staff resource within departments dedicated to progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 3.10 p.m.

Members agreed to consider further action following the briefing by the Sustainable Development Commission on 4 June 2008.

6. Committee visit to Europe

The Clerk updated the Committee on the arrangements for the visit to the European Parliament. Following discussion, Members indicated their availability to attend.

7. Forward Work Programme

The Clerk updated the Committee on issues and prioritiesrelating to the forward work plan for June and on priorities for the remainder of the session. Members agreed the Forward Work Plan.

The Committee discussed the correspondence from OFMDFM seeking to defer consideration of the draft Victims and Survivors Strategy and raised concerns about the impact of the delay on the Committee’s work programme. Members also agreed to invite the Commissioners for Victims and Survivors to address the Committee, before the summer recess and to an informal engagement with the Consultative Group on the Past.

8. Correspondence
Letter from Playboard

The Committee notedthe letter sent by the Chief Executive of Playboard thanking the Committee for its thorough scrutiny of the Play and Leisure Policy on 7 May 2008.

Letter from the Committee for Education

The Committee agreed to forward the request from the Committee for Education to OFMDFM, seeking information on equality and employment legislation and if necessary, to call officials from OFMDFM with regard to issues of equality and employment laws relating to the proposed Education and Skills Authority.

Invitation to Early Years International Conference and AGM and Gala Dinner

Members noted the invitation to the Committee to attend the Early Years International Conference and Gala Dinner on 12 June 2008. Members were asked to inform the Clerk should they wish to attend.

The meeting moved into closed session at 3.26 p.m.

9. Public Appointments

Members discussed correspondence received from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) seeking the Committee’s views on a number of proposed recommendations in relation to public appointments. The Committee agreed that prior to the publication of the PAC report, the Chairperson should meet with the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, to advise of previous recommendations made by the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on matters pertaining to public appointments.

10. Child Poverty Inquiry

The Committee noted the draft report of the British Irish Council on Child Poverty and considered a written note by Martina Anderson MLA. Members requested further information on the role of the North West Gateway Initiative in tackling poverty.

The Committee considered Sections 3 and 4 of the report on its inquiry into child poverty in Northern Ireland and proposed a number of suggested amendments.

Mr Spratt left the meeting at 4.10 p.m.
Mr Moutray left the meeting at 4.14 p.m.

Members agreed to table the following motion for debate in the Business Office.

“That this Assembly approves the Report of the Committee for the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (08/07/08R) on its Inquiry into Child Poverty in Northern Ireland”; and calls on the Executive to bring forward adetailed plan of action to deliver its targets to eliminate child poverty.”

11. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 04 June 2008 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.39 p.m.

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

21 May 08  / Menu