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COMMITTEE FOR EMPLOYMENT AND LEARNING
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS: THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER 2002,
Present: Dr Esmond Birnie MLA (Chairman)
In Attendance: Dr Andrew Peoples
The meeting opened at 2.12pm in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of 26 September 2002
Agreed as amended. Proposed: Mr Carrick. Seconded: Mr Dallat.
3. Matters Arising
4. Briefing from Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) officials on their draft Budget for 2003/04 and the September 2002 Monitoring Round
Members noted a written brief from DEL on their draft Budget 2003/04 detailing their bids to the process; the bids met in the draft Budget and the impact on delivery of those bids which had not been met.
2.17pm. Ms Gildernew joined the meeting.
Members noted correspondence from the Association of University Teachers (AUT) highlighting their concerns at the lack of funding for university research and development in the draft Budget. Dr Birnie declared that he was currently a member of the AUT.
Members noted the response from the Confederation of British Industry in Northern Ireland on the Executive's Position Report.
Members also noted a written brief from DEL, detailing their bids and easements in the September 2002 Monitoring Round.
The Chairman stated that the Committee had still not received the full Needs and Effectiveness Evaluation of Vocational Education and Training.
The Committee was briefed by Dr R Davison, Mr G O'Doherty and Mr J Russell from DEL on the Department's draft Budget 2003/04. The following issues were raised by members:
2.25pm. Prof McWilliams joined the meeting.
2.30pm. Mr Hilditch joined the meeting.
2.35pm. Mr Hutchinson left the meeting.
Officials undertook to determine why the Committee had not yet seen the Needs and Effectiveness Evaluation Report and to provide the Departmental Reform Plan as soon as possible.
Officials then briefed the Committee on their bids and easements in the September 2002 Monitoring Round. The following issues were debated:
2.55pm. Mr Hutchinson joined the meeting.
3.10pm. Dr Adamson left the meeting.
The Chairman stated that the Minister for Finance and Personnel's statement on the outcome of the September 2002 Monitoring Round was currently scheduled for Tuesday 22 October 2002.
Members agreed to return to their consideration of DEL's draft budget for 2003/04 at a future meeting, to enable them to respond to the Committee for Finance and Personnel by Friday 25 October 2002.
The Clerk was directed to seek further information on the public money allocated to university research and development in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Mr Dallat indicated that the two universities could be approached for this information. The Chairman reminded the Committee of a similar briefing given to members about a year ago.
Members noted the report on the evaluation of the Worktrack programme from DEL and agreed to seek the Equality Impact Assessment, which was to be carried out on the programme, before deciding on the way forward.
Members noted a further response from DEL on the Modern Apprenticeship programme. It was also noted that the programme was currently under review and that the Committee had agreed to request an oral briefing after the review was completed in December 2002.
Members considered the response from Hugh J. O'Boyle in relation to Keyskills requirements in National Vocational Qualifications and agreed to forward this to the Department for a written response.
Members noted the following correspondence:
Members agreed to return this piece of correspondence to the Clerk at the end of the meeting.
3.40pm. Mr Dallat left the meeting.
Whilst it was recognised that, under the Assembly's Standing Orders, the Clerk was obliged to put all correspondence received in front of the Committee, members agreed that, in the future, correspondence to be noted should be listed and that individual members could access the documents in the Committee Office if required.
Members considered Statutory Rule 272/2002, which had been laid in the Business Office, together with a Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules.
Members noted the Examiner's reference to the tardiness of the Department, in that the Rule was not laid until after it had come into operation.
It was agreed that:
"the Committee for Employment and Learning has considered SR 272/2002: Education (Grants for Disabled Postgraduate Students) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002 and has no objection to the Rule."
The Clerk was directed to inform the Business Office and notify the Department.
Members considered three draft Codes of Practice from DEL in relation to:
Mr T Devine and Mrs P Stringer from DEL, assisted the Committee in their deliberations.
Members noted that the Minister would seek the Assembly's approval for the three draft Codes of Practice and agreed that the Chairman should support the draft Codes in the Assembly.
7. Chairman's Business
The Chairman stated that representatives of non-European Union workers in Northern Ireland had offered to brief the Committee. The Clerk was directed to organise an oral briefing session to also include the views of both employers and labour agencies.
The Chairman informed members that he had written to the Chairman of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to seek the views of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in relation to delays in compensation payments to asbestosis sufferers.
The Chairman informed members that he would be speaking at the Northern Ireland Economic Conference on Wednesday 9 October 2002 and a press release would be issued.
8. Any Other Business
Members noted that the Consideration Stage of the Employment Bill was on Monday 7 October 2002. Members noted further amendments to the Bill received from DEL.
Members agreed to seek further information from DEL on theone-off VAT cost on the BIFHE Millfield PFI contract.
9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
On Thursday, 10 October 2002 at 2.00pm in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 4.10pm.
Dr Esmond Birnie MLA
10 October 2002
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