MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2009
ROOM 30, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mr Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Mrs Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Tom Elliott
Mr Barry McElduff
Mr Francie Molloy
Mr George Robinson
Mr Jim Shannon
In Attendance: 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 2.04 p.m.
Mr Alex Attwood and Mr Jimmy Spratt.
2. Chairperson’s Business
Declaration of Interests
The Chairperson sought any declarations of interest from Members in relation to items of business being discussed. There were no disclosures.
Legislative Consent Motion
Agreed: The Committee agreed to send an Information Brief to all MLAs and party support staff on the Legislative Consent Motion for the UK Child Poverty Bill, which is taking place on Monday 16 November 2009.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that Mr Elliott would speak at the Debate on Monday on behalf of the Committee.
Law Centre (NI)
The Chairperson advised Members that he had received an invitation from Law Centre (NI) to be a panel member at a Law Centre Seminar, following its AGM on Friday 11 December 2009. The Chairperson advised he was unable to attend. Members will advise the Committee Secretariat of their availability to attend the seminar.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2009
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings of 4 November 2009 were agreed by the Committee.
4. Pensioner Poverty
A Researcher from the Assembly’s Research and Library Services briefed the Committee on pensioner poverty.
2.14 p.m. Mr Shannon joined the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further research on pensioner poverty.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Committee for the Environment to request that it considers the role of local government in delivering a “one stop shop” advice centres, such as the Public Service Centres in the Republic of Ireland.
5. Matters arising
Equality Commission’s Draft Code of Practice
The Committee noted a response from the Department on the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations concerning the draft Code of Practice.
Strategic Investment Board
The Committee noted the holding response from the Department concerning the recruitment competition for the appointment of Non-Executive Directors to the Strategic Investment Board.
Programme for Government Delivery Report
The Committee considered the response from the Department concerning the Gender Pay Gap and Child Poverty Targets. The Committee agreed to consider this again when it receives a copy of the Programme for Government Delivery Report with progress against targets shown as numerical values/percentages.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister concerning financial inclusion to the Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
Hospitality Association of Northern Ireland
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a response from the First Minister and deputy First Minister concerning the Hospitality Association of Northern Ireland to the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.
Sustainable Development Strategy – Public Consultation
The Committee noted the letter from the Department advising of the launch of the public consultation for the sustainable development strategy.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a summary of responses following the completion of the consultation period.
Draft Sustainable Development Strategy
The Committee considered responses from the Committee for the Environment and the Committee for Education on the draft Sustainable Development Strategy.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the responses to the Department.
Priorities for European Engagement
The Committee noted a response from the Committee for Regional Development which provided further information on Priorities for European Engagement in the Department for Regional Development.
The Committee noted a response from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland providing further information on the provision of rural transport and equality budgeting.
Commissioner for Older People
The Committee considered a Research Note prepared by the Assembly’s Research and Library Services in relation to the Committee’s consideration of the role and remit of a Commissioner for Older People. The Committee agreed to consider this further following the completion of the consultation exercise.
Departmental Performance on Answering Written Questions
The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee on Procedures concerning the performance of departments on answering written questions.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information on the reasons for delay in answering written questions. The Committee also agreed to refer the issue of the cost of answering written questions to the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group.
Invest NI Funding for the Proposed Rose Energy Incinerator
The Committee considered a letter from Strategic Planning concerning an objection to Invest NI funding for the proposed Rose Energy Incinerator at Glenavy.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a letter from Strategic Planning concerning an objection to Invest NI funding for the proposed Rose Energy Incinerator to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
Northern Ireland Community Relations Council Annual Report and Accounts
The Committee considered the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council Annual Report and Accounts for year ended 31 March 2009.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a meeting with the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council on its Annual Report and current work into its Forward Work Programme.
7. Any other Business
2.53 p.m. The meeting moved into closed session.
8. European Report
The Committee considered its European Report and agreed to consider further following the receipt of additional information.
9. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held in Room 30 on Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 2 p.m.
3.00 p.m. The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.