MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2009
ROOM 30, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Mr Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Ms Martina Anderson
Mr Tom Elliott
Mr Barry McElduff
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr George Robinson
Mr Jim Shannon
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 2.12 p.m.
Mr Alex Attwood, Mr Francie Molly and Mr Jimmy Spratt.
2. Chairperson’s Business
Declaration of Interests
The Chairperson reminded Members of their obligation to declare any relevant financial or other interests before and during each Committee meeting.
Visit to Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre
Agreed: The Committee agreed to visit Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre on Wednesday 2 December 2009. Members agreed there would be no Committee meeting that week.
Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman
The Chairperson advised Members that he had received an invitation to the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman’s 40 th Anniversary on 25 November 2009; however as it was the same day as a Committee meeting he would not be attending.
Posting of Committee Papers
The Chairperson advised Members that due to the ongoing industrial action in the Royal Mail, committee papers would be left in Members rooms. The Chairperson advised Members to contact the Committee Secretariat if they wished to make any other arrangements.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 21 October 2009
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 21 October 2009 were agreed by the Committee.
4. Review of Strategic Investment Board
2.20p.m. Mr Nigel Smyth, Northern Ireland Director of the Confederation of British Industries and Mr Gerry Cawley, Director of Lagan Construction joined the meeting.
Mr Smyth and Mr Cawley briefed the Committee on the review of the Strategic Investment Board. A question and answer session followed.
3.07 p.m. Mr Smyth and Mr Cawley left the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the final draft of the Report on the Review of the Strategic Investment Board and to request briefings from Departmental officials and the consultants responsible for conducting the Review.
5. UK Child Poverty Bill
3.12 p.m. Departmental officials Dr Gerry Mulligan, Mrs Patricia Carey and Mr Michael Pollock joined the meeting.
3.13 p.m. Mr Elliott left the meeting.
Departmental officials briefed the Committee on the amendments to the UK Child Poverty Bill and the draft Legislative Consent Motion. A question and answer session followed.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content for the Legislative Consent Motion to proceed.
3.20 p.m. Departmental officials left the meeting.
6. Matters arising
Commissioner for Older People
The Committee considered a response from the Department on the role of the Commissioner for Older People.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department seeking further clarification on the role of the Commissioner for Older People and the possibility of an overlap with the role of the Human Rights Commission.
Funding for After Schools Childcare
The Committee noted the response from the Department concerning funding for After Schools Childcare.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department seeking further clarification on the funding of children and young people’s projects.
European Action Plan 2009/10
The Committee noted the response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Committee’s initial comments on the draft European Action Plan 2009/10.
Industrial Staff Sickness Absence
The Committee noted the update provided by the Minister for Finance and Personnel on the reporting of Industrial Staff Sick Absence in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
European Investment Bank
The Committee considered a response from the Minister for Finance and Personnel on the European Investment Bank and the drawdown of funds for Small and Medium Size Enterprises.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Finance and Personnel to request that he encourages all banks to apply for the drawdown of funds and to request the details of the outcome of applications.
Draft Sustainable Development Strategy
The Committee considered a holding response from the Committee for Regional Development and a response from the Committee for Employment and Learning on the draft Sustainable Development Strategy.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response from the Committee for Employment and Learning to the Department.
Cross Sector Advisory Forum
The Committee noted the minutes of the meeting of the Cross Sector Advisory Forum held on 30 June 2009.
Meeting with the Equality Committees
The Committee noted the report of the meeting with the Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee and the Welsh Equality of Opportunity Committee and the follow up information supplied by the Department.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to the report and follow up information being issued to the Scottish and Welsh Committees.
United Nation Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee noted a letter from the Department providing further information on the Government’s final priorities following the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a research paper on how regional legislatures have carried out its duties in relation to subsidiarity during the pilot exercises and how they are proposing to deal with subsidiarity in the future.
Employers for Childcare
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further information from Employers for Childcare on the Childcare SOS Campaign.
Northern Ireland Office Consultation
The Committee noted the Northern Ireland Office’s call for evidence in relation to proposals for increasing the penalties for offenses committed under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act.
3.35 p.m. Mr Elliott rejoined the meeting.
“Be Seen, Be Heard” Conference
The Chairperson advised Members of the invitation from Junior Ministers to attend the afternoon session of the “Be Seen, Be Heard” Conference on Saturday 21 November 2009. Members are to confirm their attendance with the Department.
8. Any other Business
Policing and Justice
The Committee noted a copy of a letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Chairperson of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee and a copy of a letter from the Chairperson of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee to the First Minister and deputy First Minister concerning policing and justice.
3.39 p.m. The meeting moved into closed session.
9. Economic Research and Policy Challenge
3.47 p.m. Mr Shannon left the meeting.
3.48 p.m. Ms Anderson left the meeting.
Agreed: Members agreed a response to the First Minister and deputy First Minister on Economic Research and Policy Challenge.
10. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30 on Wednesday 11 November 2009 at 2 p.m.
4.01 p.m. The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.