MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2009
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Mrs Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Ms Martina Anderson
Mr Alex Attwood
Mr Tom Elliott
Mr Barry McElduff
Mr Francie Molloy
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr George Robinson
Mr Jim Shannon
Mr Jimmy Spratt
Mrs Cathie White (Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Linda Gregg (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Keith McBride (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Stephen Magee (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
The meeting opened at 2.00 p.m. in public session
There were no apologies.
2. Chairperson’s Business
Change in Committee Membership
The Chairperson welcomed Mr George Robinson to the Committee and wished him well in his new position; the Chairperson asked Mr Robinson to declare any interests to the Committee, Mr Robinson declared the following interest.Member, Limavady Borough Council.
Meeting with Equality Committees
The Chairperson reminded Members that the meeting with the Scottish and Welsh Equality Committees is taking place on Monday 28 September 2009. The Chairperson asked Members that if they wished to place items on the agenda for that meeting, they should contact the Committee Secretariat.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2009
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 9 September 2009 were agreed by the Committee.
4. Commissioner for Older People’s Draft Legislation
2.04 p.m. The Older People’s Advocate, Dame Joan Harbison joined the meeting.
Dame Joan Harbison briefed the Committee on the work of the Older People’s Advocate and on the Commissioner for Older People’s Draft Legislation. This was followed by a question and answer session.
2.12 p.m. Mr Shannon joined the meeting.
2.18 p.m. Mr Attwood, Mrs Long and Mr Moutray joined the meeting.
2.25 p.m. Ms Anderson joined the meeting.
2.36 p.m. Mr Molloy left the meeting.
2.41 p.m. Mr McElduff left the meeting.
2.47 p.m. The Older People’s Advocate left the meeting.
The Committee also considered a submission from Age Concern, Help the Aged and the Age Sector Platform on the draft legislation.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request details of those individuals/organisations who had sight of the draft legislation.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Age Concern, Help the Aged and the Age Sector Platform to request further information on the release of the draft legislation.
2. Chairpersons Business cont….
Invitation from the Speaker
The Chairperson advised that he had received an invitation from the Speaker to attend a dinner with the European Board of the International Ombudsman Institute on Monday 21 September 2009. The Chairperson advised that he and the Deputy Chairperson were unable to attend. Members agreed to contact the Committee Secretariat to advise of their availability to attend the dinner.
5. Programme for Government Delivery Report
2.50 p.m. Departmental Officials Mr John McMillen, Mr Colin Jack and Mr Jim Sutherland joined the meeting.
A question and answer session on the Programme for Government Delivery Report took place.
3.00 p.m. Mr Spratt left the meeting.
3.04 p.m. Mr Moutray left the meeting.
3.23 p.m. Mr McElduff rejoined the meeting.
3.25 p.m. Departmental Officials left the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that Departmental Officials would return to the Committee meeting of 23 September 2009 to brief Members further on child poverty targets and the gender pay gap.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department explaining that the Programme for Government Delivery Report would be more informative if the key goals and commitments could be shown as figures/percentages rather than colours.
6. UK Child Poverty Bill
3.26 p.m. Departmental Officials Dr Gerry Mulligan, Mrs Patricia Carey and Mr Michael Pollock joined the meeting.
Departmental Officials briefed the Committee on the UK Child Poverty Bill. This was followed by a question and answer session. Members also considered a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister concerning issues the Committee previously raised in relation to the UK Child Poverty Bill.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that Departmental Officials would return to the Committee meeting on 30 September 2009 to answer further questions.
3.44 p.m. Mr Shannon left the meeting.
3.47 p.m. Ms Anderson left the meeting.
4.08 p.m. Departmental Officials left the meeting.
7. Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations
4.08 p.m. Departmental Officials Dr Gerry Mulligan, Mrs Sinead Brown and Mr David McGowan joined the meeting.
Departmental Officials briefed the Committee regarding the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations and summary of consultation responses. This was followed by a question and answer session.
4.16 p.m. Departmental Officials left the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward copies of the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations and the summary of responses to the Committee for the Environment and the Committee for Regional Development for their comment.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to seek an update on progress of the Code of Practice to accompany these Regulations.
Agreed: The Committee agreed in principle with the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations.
8. End of Session Report
Agreed: Members considered and agreed to publish the Committee’s End of Session report.
9. Matters arising
Autism NI Response
The Committee noted a response from the All Party Assembly Group on Autism and Autism NI concerning the case for legislation.
Proposed Autism Bill
The Committee noted the response from the Department concerning a proposed Autism Bill for Northern Ireland. The response advised that the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety are taking forward an Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan.
Gender Equality Strategy
The Committee noted a response from the Minister of Education regarding the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy.
European Week of Regions and Cities
The Committee noted the information on the European Week of Regions and Cities.
Department of Justice Bill
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Assembly and Executive Review Committee, to seek its views on the Department of Justice Bill.
Statutory Authority to Spend
The Committee considered a letter from the Department concerning the authority for expenditure in areas relating to Children and Young People and the promotion and administration of Sustainable Development and the First Minister and deputy First Minister’s representations to the Minister for Finance and Personnel to have provisions included in the Financial Provisions Bill.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that it wished to be advised on the outcome of the Department’s representations to the Minister for Finance and Personnel.
Departmental Revenue from Proceeds of Crime
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a letter from the Clerk of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure to the Department concerning revenue from the proceeds of crime.
11. Forward Work Programme
Members noted the Committee’s Forward Work Programme for September and October.
12. Any other Business
4.20 p.m. The meeting moved into closed session.
13. Commissioner for Older People’s Draft Legislation
A Researcher from the Assembly’s Research and Library Services briefed the Committee on the Commissioner for Older People’s Draft Legislation.
4.31 p.m. Mr McElduff left the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further research on the independence of public bodies.
14. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 144 on Wednesday 23 September 2009.
4.43 p.m. The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.