MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY, 31 MAY 2007
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mr Gregory Campbell MP MLA (Chairperson)
Mr David Hilditch MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Mickey Brady MLA
Mr Thomas Burns MLA
Mr Jonathan Craig MLA
Ms Anna Lo MLA
Mr Alban Maginness MLA
Mr Fra McCann MLA
Mrs Claire McGill MLA
Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA
In Attendance: Ms Marie Austin (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Neil Currie (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Joy Hamilton (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Sheila Mawhinney (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Lorraine McFarland (Clerical Officer)
Ms Jennifer Betts – Assembly Research & Library Services (Item 7 only)
Ms Kate Berry – Assembly Research & Library Services (Item 7 only)
Apologies: Mr Fred Cobain MLA
The meeting opened at 11.00am in closed session.
Apologies are detailed above.
11.08am. Ms Lo joined the meeting.
11.20am. The meeting moved into public session.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2007
Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed.
3. Matters arising
The Chairperson informed Members that a letter had issued to the Department, requesting a copy of responses to the consultation on Proposals for a Procurement Strategy for the Social Housing Development Programme.
The Committee considered a draft letter to Minister Margaret Ritchie regarding funding pressures facing the Department.
Agreed – The Committee agreed the letter to the Minister, and that it should be copied to the Minister for Finance and Personnel.
4. Chairperson’s business
There was no Chairperson’s business.
5. Proposed Statutory Rule
The Committee considered the following proposed Statutory Rule:
The Register of Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2007.
Agreed – The Committee was content with the Department’s proposal to make the Statutory Rule.
6. Briefing from the Bill Office on Committee consideration of Bills
Mr Martin Wilson, Principal Clerk of Bills, briefed Members on the primary legislative process and committee consideration of Bills. This was followed by a question and answer session.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Wilson for the informative briefing.
7. Briefing on the proposed Charities Bill
The following officials from the Department for Social Development joined the meeting at 11.53am:
John McGrath – Deputy Secretary, Urban Regeneration and Community Development Group
Seamus Murray – Director, Voluntary and Community Unit
Kieran Doyle – Voluntary and Community Unit
Mr McGrath briefed the Committee on the purpose and main provisions of the proposed Charities Bill. This was followed by a question and answer session.
The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.
The officials left the meeting at 12.38pm.
8. Draft Corporate/Business Plan 2007-2008 for the Department for Social Development
The Committee considered the Department’s Draft Corporate/Business Plan for 2007/08. It was agreed that the Clerk would prepare a draft response to the Department, based on the deliberations, for consideration at the meeting on 7 June 2007.
9. Consideration of topic for first inquiry
Agreed – In view of the primary legislation (Charities Bill) scheduled for the Committee’s consideration, it was agreed to defer commencement of an inquiry until the autumn.
The Committee considered a letter from Ricky Rowledge, Chair of the Voluntary Sector Housing Policy Forum, requesting a meeting to discuss a number of issues regarding homelessness.
Agreed – It was agreed to invite Ms Rowledge to brief the Committee on homelessness issues, to inform its consideration of the forthcoming ‘Including the Homeless’ Strategy.
The Committee considered a letter from Edward Cooke from the Built Housing Environment Overview, expressing concern about the co-ordination and control of housing policy, planning within the built environment and domestic housing infrastructure.
Agreed – It was agreed to write to Mr Cooke, informing him that the Committee will be mindful of his concerns when scrutinising the work of the Department.
The Committee considered a letter from John Davidson, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Federation of Clubs, requesting the Committee’s support in obtaining a meeting with the Minister regarding the Liquor Licensing Review.
Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister, requesting that the Northern Ireland Federation of Clubs is consulted in relation to the Liquor Licensing Review.
11. Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.
Agreed – It was agreed to invite representatives from the Department for Social Development to brief the Committee on the Homelessness Strategy and the Strategic Business Review of the Social Security Agency, on 14 June and 21 June 2007 respectively.
12. Any other business
13. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee for Social Development will be held on Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 11.00am in Room 135 Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.41pm.