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Present: Mr Edwin Poots MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Roy Beggs Jnr MLA
Mrs Eileen Bell MLA
Mr Danny Kennedy MLA
Ms Patricia Lewsley MLA
Dr Alasdair McDonnell MLA
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Mr Eugene McMenamin MLA
Mr Pat McNamee MLA
Dr Dara O'Hagan MLA
Mr Ken Robinson MLA
Mr Jim Shannon MLA

Apologies: Dr Esmond Birnie MLA
Mrs Annie Courtney MLA

In Attendance: Ms Stella McArdle (Committee Clerk)
Mrs Gillian Lewis
Mr William Long
Ms Pauline Innes

The meeting opened at 2.10pm in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Chairperson's business

(a) Committee Staffing: The Chairperson made known to members that on the issue of the Committee staffing, it was expected that an additional Clerk would join the Committee office staff by the end of this week.

(b) Committee Work Programme: Members agreed the forward work programme, although they expressed concern at the amount of business which was expected to be completed in such a short timescale. Some members noted that they had other meetings on Wednesday mornings.

Action: Clerk

Dr McDonnell joined the meeting at 2.17pm.

(c) Meeting with Junior Ministers: The Chairperson informed members that he had met with Junior Ministers, Mr Denis Haughey MLA and Mr James Leslie MLA on Monday, 16 September 2002 and a note of the meeting has been provided today for members' information.

(d) Meeting with Ms Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State, Social Exclusion and Deputy Minister for Women: The Chairperson informed members that he had attended a meeting with Ms Roche MP on 17 September 2002 and a note of the meeting is being prepared and will be issued to members in due course.

Action: Clerk

(e) NIO response to invitation to give evidence to the Committee: The Chairperson drew members' attention to the letter he had received from Mr Des Browne MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Members considered and discussed options relating to the letter and decided to postpone replying until all other avenues could be explored in regard to evidence being given to the Committee.

Action: Clerk

3. Approval of draft minutes

The minutes from the previous meeting on 11 September 2002 were agreed and signed by the Chairperson.

4. Matters arising

Report of the meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw MP: Members noted the report of the meeting.

5. Correspondence

(a) Letter from the Committee for Finance and Personnel about its report entitled 'The Executive's Position Report to the Assembly: Developing The Programme for Government and the Budget for 2003-04': Members noted the letter and agreed to inform the Committee for Finance and Personnel that they had no further comments at this time.

Action: Clerk

(b) Letter from the Committee for Finance and Personnel indicating its intention to respond to the Consultation on Public Private Partnerships: Members noted the letter.

(b) Response from the Environment Committee about the Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill: Members noted the response and agreed to include it as part of the report on the Committee Stage of the Bill.

Action: Clerk

(c) Invitation to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) conference on Devolution: Delivering the Difference: Members noted the invitation and agreed to inform Committee office staff if they wished to attend.

Action: Clerk

(d) Letter from the Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee asking for membership of NDPBs etc in Northern Ireland: Members noted the letter and that it had been forwarded to OFMDFM.

Action: Clerk

(e) Letter from the Regional Development Committee requesting officials from the Planning Appeals Commission to give evidence during the Committee Stage of the Strategic Planning Bill: Members noted the letter and that it had been forwarded to the Planning Appeals Commission.

Action: Clerk

Mr Beggs joined the meeting at 2.25pm.

6. Committee Stage of Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill

I Discussion of issues arising

Mr Shannon joined the meeting at 2.29pm.

Members discussed and considered the issues arising in the oral and written evidence on the Bill and agreed to raise these issues with the witnesses from OFMDFM.

II Evidence from OFMDFM officials

The evidence session began at 2.33pm.

Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 2.34pm.

Dr O'Hagan joined the meeting at 2.37pm.

Dr McDonnell left the meeting at 2.39pm.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 2.46pm.

Mrs Bell joined the meeting at 3.03pm.

Mr Kennedy joined the meeting at 3.17pm.

Evidence on the Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill was taken from Mrs Mary Bunting, Head of Equality Directorate, and Mrs Heather Stevens, Head of Children and Young People Unit. The minutes of evidence will appear in the Committee's report.

The officials left the meeting at 3.22pm.

III Consideration of written evidence

Members agreed to include in the Committee's report those written submissions received from organisations and bodies in relation to the Bill.

Members also agreed to include the Minutes of Evidence of the meeting on 5 June 2002 with the Junior Ministers, as an appendix to the Minutes of Proceedings for today's meeting.

Action: Clerk

7. Any other business

Members raised the possibility of convening a sub committee to take evidence on issues which the Committee will be considering at future meetings. This will be discussed further at the next Committee meeting.

8. Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Wednesday, 25 September 2002 at 11.00am in the Senate Chamber, and continuing after a short break at 2.00pm in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

Mr McMenamin left the meeting at 3.25pm.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.27pm.

Chairperson, Committee of the Centre
25 September 2002

17 September 2002 / Menu / 25 September 2002