COMMITTEE FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Thursday, 15 MAY 2008
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr David Hilditch MLA (Deputy Chairperson in the Chair)
Mr Mickey Brady MLA
Mr Thomas Burns MLA
Mr Jonathan Craig MLA
Ms Anna Lo MLA
Mr Fra McCann MLA
Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA
Ms Marie Austin (Assembly Clerk)
Ms Hilary Bogle (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Sheila Mawhinney (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Joy Hamilton (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Lorraine McFarland (Clerical Officer)
Mr Gregory Campbell MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Fred Cobain MLA
Mr Alban Maginness MLA
Mrs Claire McGill MLA
The meeting opened at 11.04am in open session.
Apologies as listed above.
There was no Chairperson’s business.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on 1 May 2008
Agreed – The draft minutes were agreed.
i. Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy
Agreed - The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting copies of the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership Action Plans. The Committee will be taking oral evidence from representatives of the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership and Departmental officials at its meeting on 5 June 2008.
ii. Meeting with Mr Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales
The Committee noted that Mr Brady, Mr Craig and Mr Maginness will meet with Mr Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, on 4 June 2008.
Proposed Statutory Rule (SL1)
The Committee considered the contents of the proposed Statutory Rule - The Social Security (Students and Income-related Benefits) (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008.
Agreed – The Committee was content with the Department’s proposal to make the
Briefing by Minister on parity legislation
The Committee took evidence from Minister Ritchie , who was accompanied by Mr John O’Neill, Director, Social Security Policy and Legislation Division and Mr Gerry McCann, Social Security Policy and Legislation Division.
11.12am Mr Thomas Burns joined the meeting.
A question and answer session followed. The Deputy Chairperson thanked the Minister and officials.
Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister requesting that the Committee receive policy proposals for parity legislation at the earliest possible stage, in the form of a Green or White Paper, to enable the Committee to consider and comment.
Briefing by Minister on the proposed Mesothelioma, etc Bill
The Committee took evidence from Minister Ritchie, who was accompanied by Mr John O’Neill, Director, Social Security Policy and Legislation Division and Mr Gerry McCann, Social Security Policy and Legislation Division. Minister briefed the Committee on the purpose and main provisions of the proposed Mesothelioma, etc Bill.
Minister also explained to the Committee:
(a) the reasons for wishing to proceed under the accelerated passage procedure;
(b) the consequences of accelerated passage not being granted; and
(c) the steps she has taken to minimise the future use of the accelerated passage
A question and answer session followed. The Deputy Chairperson thanked the Minister and officials for attending the meeting.
The Minister and officials left the meeting at 11.52am.
Agreed – The Committee agreed to support the Minister in her request to the Assembly that the Mesothelioma etc, Bill be granted accelerated passage.
Itinerary for Committee visit to Dublin
The Clerk briefed the Committee on the draft itinerary for the forthcoming visit to Dublin from 11 to 13 June 2008. Members were content.
i. The Committee noted the response from the Minister in relation to issues raised during the evidence session on 6 March 2008, regarding the Local Housing Allowance Regulations.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that Departmental officials should be invited to attend next week’s meeting to brief the Committee on the criteria to be used to monitor the impact of Local Housing Allowance Regulations.
11.55am Mr McCann left the meeting.
11.56am Mr McCann returned to the meeting.
ii. The Committee noted the Minister’s response to its request for further information on the transfer of responsibility for Neighbourhood Renewal to local government .
Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the twenty-six Councils to ascertain what level of consultation had taken place with them in relation to the transfer of responsibility for the delivery of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.
iii. The Committee noted the Department’s Draft Regeneration Framework for the North West Quarter Part 2 Area of Belfast City Centre.
Agreed - The Committee agreed to request a briefing paper from the Department detailing the outcome of the consultation.
Agreed - The Committee also agreed to write to the Minister regarding the Equality Impact Assessment process for that particular project.
iv. The Committee noted the Department’s response to its request for a half-yearly progress report on the implementation of the Disability Action Plan 2007 – 2010.
v. The Committee noted the contents of a research paper received from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the impact of rising fuel costs on low income households.
vi. The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel outlining the protocol for interaction between the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU) and statutory Committees.
vii. The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Sir David Varney’s Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland.
Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.
Any other business
There was no other business.
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 22 May 2008 at 11.00am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.