COMMITTEE FOR THE OFFICE OF THE FIRST MINISTER AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER
WEDNESDAY 22 October 2008
Senate chamber, PARLIAMENT bUILDINGS
Mr Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Mrs Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Barry McElduff
Mr Francie Molloy
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr Jim Shannon
Mr Jimmy Spratt
Mrs Cathie White (Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Linda Gregg (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Keith McBride (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Ms Helena Maginness (Clerical Officer)
2.01 p.m. The meeting opened in public session
Ms Martina Anderson, Mr Tom Elliott
2. Chairperson’s Business
Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform
The Chairperson advised Members that he and the Deputy Chairperson met with the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform on Wednesday 15 October to discuss the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Agreed: Members agreed that the Committee will write to OFMDFM seeking further information on some of the issues that were raised at the meeting. Members also agreed to conduct a mini-review of the Department’s work in relation to gender equality.
3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2008
Agreed: The draft minutes of proceedings were agreed by the Committee.
4. Victims and Survivors Commission
2.07 p.m. The Victims and Survivors Commissioners joined the meeting.
The Victims and Survivors Commissioners: Mrs Bertha McDougal, Ms Patricia MacBride, Mr Brendan McAlister and Mr Michael Nesbitt briefed the Committee on their Work Programme and their views on the draft Strategic Approach to Victims and Survivors. A question and answer session followed.
The session was recorded by Hansard
3.02 p.m. The Victims and Survivors Commissioners left the meeting.
3.02 p.m. Mr Spratt left the meeting
3.02 p.m. Mr Moutray left the meeting
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM seeking confirmation of the date that the Commission’s Work Programme will be signed off by Ministers. Members also agreed to request details of when the paper on the proposed Victims Service will be available.
3.04 p.m.Mrs Kelly left the meeting
5. OFMDFM End of Year Accounts 2007-2008
3.05 p.m. Officials from OFMDFM joined the meeting.
Mrs Jackie Kerr and Mr Iain McFarlane briefed the Committee on the Department’s End of Year Accounts 2007-2008. A question and answer session followed.
3.10 p.m. Mr Moutray joined the meeting
3.19 p.m. Mr McElduff left the meeting
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to request a copy of the finalised Management Letter from the Northern Ireland Audit Office.
6. Strategic Budget Stocktake
3.25 p.m. Additional officials from OFMDFM joined the meeting.
Mrs Jackie Kerr, Mr Iain McFarlane and Mrs June Wilkinson briefed the Committee on the Strategic Budget Stocktake for the Department. A question and answer session followed.
3.33 p.m. Mr McCrea left the meeting
3.35 p.m. Officials from OFMDFM left the meeting
7. Consideration of EU Issues
A Researcher from the Assembly’s Research and Library Services briefed the Committee on the list of Key Stakeholders that the Committee may wish to seek written evidence from.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek written evidence from those stakeholders on the list. Members also agreed a number of additional stakeholders that it would wish to seek written evidence from.
8. Matters Arising
Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme
Members considered the letter from OFMDFM, in response to the Committee’s queries on the Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM seeking further information on the timeframe for adoption of the Lifetime Opportunities Strategy.
Promoting Social Inclusion for Lone Parents
Members considered the response from OFMDFM concerning the Promoting Social Inclusion Report on Lone Parents.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to highlight the funding problems for Life-Start and Sure-Start and to seek clarification on what actions the Department are taking.
Programme for Government
Members considered the response from OFMDFM following the Head of the Civil Service’s briefing on progress of the Programme for Government.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to OFMDFM to seek further clarification on some issues raised in the Department’s response.
Holding conditions for asylum seekers and their children
Members considered the letter from the Acting Director of Detention Services in the Home Office concerning the holding arrangements for asylum seekers and their children. Members agreed to return to this issue when a response is received from the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding this matter.
Members noted the letter from the Department for Finance and Personnel concerning the Strategic Stocktake and the requirements of Section 64 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
Ministerial Statement of the British-Irish council
Members noted the letter from the OFMDFM which provided a copy of the Ministerial statement made by the First Minister on Tuesday 21 October concerning the British Irish Council Summit.
Agreed: Members agreed that officials should brief the Committee on the Review of the British Irish Council at a future meeting.
Assembly and Executive Review Committee
Members noted the copy letter from the Chairperson of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee to the first Minister and deputy First Minister concerning the devolution of policing and justice powers.
10. Any Other Business
Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration for a Shared and Better Future
The Deputy Chairperson sought clarification from the Clerk on whether the draft Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration for a Shared and Better Future had been sent to the Committee. The Clerk advised that the deputy First Minister had advised that it would be with the Committee before Hallowe’en.
11. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 5 November 2008 at 2.00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber.
3.56 p.m. The Chairperson adjourned the meeting