Present: Robin Wilson (Chair), Neil Jarman, Ann Anderson Porter, Tony McCusker, Nelson McCausland, Declan O’Loan
Apologies: Edwin Graham, Vivienne Pollock
In Attendance: Duncan Morrow, Dympna McGlade, Ali McAllister, Gemma Attwood, Peter Thompson
Minutes of the last meeting
Agreed as accurate
Due to the long agendas focusing on business it was agreed that there would be no speakers at Policy Development Committee meetings but rather, roundtable discussion would be organised around policy issues as required.
‘ASF’ Update – Duncan
Duncan gave the Committee an update of the work carried out on ‘ASF’. The main points he raised were as follows:
Good Relations Panel
Next meeting in 6 weeks time
Agenda Planning meeting with CRU this Friday
Good attendance with 5 of the 6 Permanent Secretary’s attending as well as ECNI, PSNI,CRC, NIHE
Education Seminar – Sir George Bain (Bain Review)
Good turnout from key stakeholders
Consultation on Parading
NIO initiative - ‘ASF’ being used as their main policy framework
Parade organisers, resident groups etc will all be invited for participation in consultation
May take the shape of a ‘Bain’ type approach
Interviews taking place today
GR Challenge Programme
OFMDFM will pass over to CRC but not official yet
Attempt to try and increase quality and output/impact of programme
Will have to wait for CSR to resource and RPA structures
Assess all GR plans against ASF criteria
Ali’s post confirmed until March 2008
Policy Responses - Gemma
Irish Language Act
Gemma gave an overview of CRC’s initial response to the Irish Language Act consultation. DCAL has issued another consultation only 2 weeks after the first consultation closed. The department received over 675 responses in total with 625 in favour of a legislative approach. After a lengthy discussion the main points raised by the committee were:
First consultation appears to have had a pre-determined outcome.
Will set up a working group from the committee to draft a response to the current consultation. Gemma to co-ordinate.
CRC response is broad enough to keep as it stands – add a section on the particular context of NI and language. Welsh/Scottish model not comparable to issues in Northern Ireland
Need to look at international best practice.
Irish Language has been politicised and it needs to move beyond this.
Policy Programme should seek further input submissions from outside agencies e.g. Ulster Scots Academy, European Bureau of Lesser used Languages etc
Ensure any response submitted is encouraging inter-cultural dialogue
Prior to the Assembly elections political parties were issued with CRC policy priorities A short presentation followed, highlighting what the parties had included in their manifestos in terms of ASF and Good Relations. PD Team welcomes comments from the committee. The Committee had a brief discussion and decided:
Target key individuals in parties who can talk about the different policies
Engage in discussion of ASF overall and to make that their goal
Declan and Nelson to advise on key contacts.
ECNI – Promoting Good Relations, A Guide for Public Authorities
ECNI Consultation response emailed out to Committee members
Useful to have informal conversations with committee members.
Approach Committee members directly rather than wait for volunteers
CRC’s draft response to the ‘DFP – NI Draft Regional Economic Strategy’ will be completed by Thursday and will be issued for comment.
‘ASF’ Work - Ali
Springfarm – ‘Shared Neighbourhood’
Springfarm estate in Antrim is in the process of declaring themselves a Shared Neighbourhood. A consultation event is taking place in April with the community to develop an action plan and voluntary charter. This will hopefully become a model of good practice for other communities. The committee asked if a copy of the charter was available. It was stated that the NIHE has promised to send a copy of Curran Crescent Charter but that this has still not been forthcoming.
Review of Public Administration & Community Planning
The committee were informed that there will be a fact finding trip to Burnley at the end of this month. We will be looking at Burnley Council’s Community Plan and more specifically the community cohesion aspect of their plan. This is a key objective for CRC. The updated discussion paper on this theme will be circulated to committee following the visit.
Rural Community Network – ‘ASF’ Sub-group
Ali told the meeting that RCN have established an ‘ASF’ subgroup which is one of their strategic objectives for the next three years.
They are hoping to host a conference during CR week under the theme, ‘Making ASF real for rural communities’. There may also be an opportunity for joint working on the PD programme’s thematic work in a rural context.
A discussion paper highlighting the lack of policy direction within CRC on the issue of youth and no policy commitment for young people re; ASF was distributed. We presently have no remit for working in the youth sector. How do we take this issue forward and how best do we get it onto the agenda? Dympna stated that young people are being criminalised with interface violence now being regarded as ‘anti-social’ rather than sectarian by both community representatives and PSNI. The Committee discussed this issue and made the following recommendations:
Enter into dialogue with all agencies related to the youth sector i.e. Youthnet, Youth Service Liaison Forum, Statutory Bodies, and Voluntary organisations.
We need to work out what the sector’s hopes and aspirations are for young people and how they intend to deliver them.
Dirk Schubolz ‘Young Life and Times Survey’ has done a lot of work in this area.
Ali distributed a discussion paper outlining CRC’s work and position to date on Race work. Dympna told the meeting that the Policy Programme does not currently have the resources or capacity to take on this crucial area alongside all our other work commitments. Dympna asked the Committee to consider what they felt was the most appropriate direction for the Policy Programme?
The Committee recommended:
Can we broaden the agenda without it taking away from CRC’s work on sectarianism etc
This should be looked at during strategic planning
We need to consult with the sector and find out what the race sector feel about our role in this area?
There are two main umbrella organisations in the BME sector. Need to establish what their role is? (NICEM, MCRC)
NI Ambulance Service
Ali informed the Committee that she had met with the Ambulance Service Trade Unions in February to seek support for their GR action plan. This was agreed and the process is ongoing.
Policy Development Conference 2007
The date of the conference will be Tuesday 1st May 2007 in the Stormont Hotel. Ali then explained that currently we do not have any Chairs for the workshops and if any committee members would like to volunteer it would be greatly appreciated. Tony McCusker and Neil Jarman agreed to chair two of the workshops. Ann Anderson Porter asked for information to be forwarded onto her and she will get back to us
Summary of Newspaper Report – February 2007
Peter distributed copies of the newspaper report and gave a brief overview. Some editorial amendments were suggested by Committee, which were noted.
Operational Planning – Dympna
Dympna stated that by November some Committee member’s will have reached their end of term and the PD Programme is drafting its operational plan for 2007/08 . Therefore it is vital that the key issues for the programme are identified. Policy within CRC is a rapidly growing area and with such a small team our work needs to be focused. The committee recommended:
Check contents of BDO report re impact on PD Programme
Discuss with CRU its expectation of policy development role within CRC on the back of the strategic plan
What role will PD Programme have with local councils re: S 75(2), Challenge Programme and Community Planning
Identify core themes for programme
Request additional support and expertise when required
CRC Policy programme to sit on Committees and offer support only for other organisations
Challenge role – feed out expertise
Develop pilot areas ourselves or engage with other programmes – identified link between policy development with organisations practical support for pilot projects such as Springfarm which lead to policy development, but difficulty in respect of resources. CRC needs development workers.
CRC Council will need to have a broader discussion on these issues
Members agreed to reflect on and identify gaps in paper presented with the understanding that it was part of overall operational planning set against strategic priorities as identified in CRC’s new draft Strategic Plan