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Present: Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Tom Elliot
Dolores Kelly
Barry McElduff
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt
Jim Wells

In Attendance: Christine Darrah (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Carla Campbell (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
Fiona O’Connell (Researcher)

The meeting opened at 2.05 p.m. in public session.

1. Apologies

Francie Molloy, Martina Anderson.

2. Chairperson’s business

Invitation from Barnardos to attend a seminar on Child Poverty

The Chairperson informed the committee that he intended to accept an invitation from Barnardo’s to attend a seminar which would explore how the costs of not ending child poverty in the UK could be measured. A report would be prepared for the Committee following the event and would help inform the proposed inquiry into child poverty.

Letter to FM and dFM re Appointment of a Victims Commissioner

The urgent briefing requested by the Committee on the Victims Commissioner would take place at the next meeting on 10 October 2007. Given the sensitivities surrounding the issue would be held in closed session; if necessary.

Lunch with the Russian Ambassador

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he, Mr Molloy and Mr Shannon had a useful and interesting discussion over lunch with the Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom on Monday 1 October.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 26 September 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters arising

Draft Budget 2007 Issues – further information

Mr Wells joined the meeting at 2.30 p.m.
Mr Elliot joined the meeting at 2.31 p.m.

A response from the Department on issues raised at last weeks meeting in the draft budget 2007 proposals was tabled at the meeting.

Forward Work Programme

The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister had contacted the Clerk regarding changes to the timing of a number of issues to be brought before the Committee. Members agreed to consider a revised Forward Work Programme at the next meeting.

5. Committee Inquiry into Child Poverty

Mrs Kelly joined the meeting at 2.13 p.m.

The Committee considered and agreed the terms of reference for its inquiry into Child Poverty; Members also discussed the timescale for completion of the work and agreed that an interim report should be produced to inform final Programme for Government and budgetary consultations.

6. Draft Budget – response to OFMDFM

The Committee discussed and agreed their response to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the proposed draft budget 2007 bids for additional resources and efficiency savings.

7. Update on the Review of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPANI).

A letter from the Commissioner for Public Appointments was tabled at the meeting in which concerns were raised about progress on a number of issues. Members agreed that they would consider the views of the Commissioner when she briefs the Committee on 17 October 2007.

Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.40 p.m.

Departmental Officials John McMillen and Michael Ferguson briefed the Committee on progress in relation to the review of OCPANI and other issues including the timescale for bringing forward to the Committee the Progotive Order to extend the Commissioner’s remit. Officials agreed to provide clarification on a number of issues raised during the meeting.

Mr Moutray left the meeting at 2.45 p.m.
Departmental officials left the meeting at 3.05 p.m.

8. Disability Discrimination Act, Policy and Definition of Disability.

The Assembly Researcher briefed the Committee on the current proposals by Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to amend the current disability anti-discrimination legislation in Northern Ireland.

Departmental officials Patricia Carey Margaret Glass joined the meeting at 3.17 p.m.
Departmental official Gerry Mulligan joined the meeting at 3.25 p.m.

Departmental Officials’ Gerry Mulligan, Patricia Carey and Margaret Glass provided Members with an overview of current and planned policy and legislation on disability discrimination and answered questions in advance of the committee’s consideration of a number of statutory rules which will implement key parts for the Disability Discrimination Order. Officials agreed to provide further information on a number of issues raised during the meeting.

Mr Shannon left the meeting at 3.48 p.m.
Mr McElduff left the meeting at 3.50 p.m.
Departmental officials left the meeting at 4.00 p.m.

9. OFMDFM Annual Report and Accounts for period ended 31 March 2007.

The Committee noted the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister’s Annual Report and Accounts for the period ended 31 March 2007.

10. Correspondence

Surplus Land Holdings

The Committee noted a copy of the letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Minister for Social Development regarding surplus land holdings for the purposes of social and affordable housing.

Letter from the Environment Committee

Members agreed to forward a letter from the Committee for the Environment which was seeking clarification of any action taken regarding a proposed development at Greenore Port Co Louth to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

11. Any Other Business

Cost of Division Report

The Clerk was asked to provide clarification regarding the Cost of Division report and whether it could be placed on the Agenda again for discussion.

Postal Strike

Members were advised that due to the pending postal strike, that Committee papers would be delivered by hand on Monday 8 October 2007.

12. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 10 October 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.04 p.m.

Mr Danny Kennedy
Chairperson, Committee for the Office
of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister

26 September 07 / Menu