Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
29 March 2010
MINUTES OF THE ONE HUNDRED & THIRTY-NINTH MEETING OF THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL HELD ON THURS 28th JANUARY 2010 @ 1.30 p.m. IN THE CRC’S BOARDROOM @ 6 MURRAY STREET, BELFAST BT1 6DN
2046/10 PRESENT: Action:
Mr J Deery, Ms H Francey, Mr T Kennedy, Mr T McCusker. (Chair), Ms S McDermott, Mr E Oakes, Mr D Porter, Ms E Gallagher, Ms S McShane, Dr D Russell, Mr R Morton, Mr J Byrne,.
Mr S Farry, Ms S Gordon, Ms R McCorley, Ms K Hanlon, Ms J Witherow, Mr H Mansour, Mr W Gamble, D L Litvack.
Ms E Hoy (CRU/OFMDFM).
2048/10 IN ATTENDANCE:
Dr D Morrow [CEO], Ms J Irwin [Deputy CEO], Mr J Fitzsimons [PD/DFAP], Mr R Mullan[PD/Communications & Learning Resources], Ms H Scott [P/Secretary].
The minutes from the previous meeting (25 Nov 2009) having been circulated was taken as read. Minor amendments were noted to Mins 2035/09, No.2 (welcome to new members) and to Mins 2037/09, No.4 (the business meeting did not take place). Approval proposed by Mr Morton, seconded by Mr T Kennedy.2051/10 MATTERS ARISING:
(i) OFMDFM Committee [Mins 2040/09, Item (a) refers]: The CEO updated members on what he considered was a good engagement with the Committee. He said that the CRC annual review was circulated and issues such as CSI, Victims strategy were raised including the fact that there was no formal information re Victims programme contracts.
(ii) Engagement with political parties[Mins 2036.09, Item (iii) refers]; EU Audit Report [Mins 2040/09, Pg.5, Para 3 refers]; Victims
2051/10 Matters Arising continued: Action:
Funding Programme [Mins 2040, Para 4 “extensions of contracts” refers]: The CEO informed members that these items would come up in other papers.
(iii) Committee membership [Mins 2039/09 refer]: The CEO informed members that there remained outstanding actions with regard to co-options.
The Chair said that there were some people who had applied initially who might now be asked if they wish to become co-opted members.
2052/10 CHAIR’S BUSINESS:
1 (a) Standard checks:
The Chair reminded Members that they had to declare any conflict of interests in any discussions where decisions were required.
(b) The Chair reminded members of the necessity to register any offers of
gifts or hospitality since the last Council meeting.
2 Condolences: The Chair extended condolences on behalf of Council
to Maureen Hetherington and Robin Morton on the death of their Mothers.
3 Holocaust event: The Chair reported and he and the CEO had
attended this event which was held in the City Hall.
4 Complaint: re a recruitment process undertaken by Firinne. The Chair informed members that he was going to Fermanagh on Monday to see if he could assist in this matter.
5 Meeting Strabane Council/CR policy: The Chair advised that there had been a poor turnout at this meeting and that current policy seemed to be around ethnic minorities and Travellers.
6 Work on Peacelines: The Chair reported that he and the CEO had been in discussion with Atlantic Philanthropies regarding possible work in this area.
7 Victims strategy: The Chair said this matter would be covered in the
2052/10 Chair’s business continued: Action:
8 One Small Step: The Chair reported on a further meeting of the One Small Step campaign. Further steps will be communicated to Council in due course.
2053/10 CORPORATE PLANNING: presentation by CEO
The CEO said that his presentation was a follow-on the from conversations members had at CRC’s November AGM meeting (Derry/Londonderry).
The following were the main headings:
Review of CRC’s assets 2007-10
CRC has maintained all of this in the absence of central policy direction
Review 2007-10 Government
What should CRC’s relationship to Government and Government policy be?
Reviewing 2007-10 risks
CRC funding streams come to an end 2013
Government resources have no increased 16 years after the ceasefires
Economic climate has deteriorated sharply
Plan to close/dissolve by 2013?
Establish a legacy fund?
Develop different business models?
Change the language to Social Cohesion?
Seek to become a challenge body and cease funding?
Directly undertake project for delivery?
Looking forward – staff comments
Change the language to social cohesion including possible name change and reworded vision
Identify specific actions than more generic goals
Practice and delivery should be more closely tied to organisation policy priorities
Status need to be resolved
2053/10 Corporate planning: presentation by CEO Action:
Looking forward – staff comments continued:
Engage at an early stage with stakeholders to establish expectations
Should develop its evidence building and analysis capacity
2010-13 should be defined by smarter working not more working
International dimensions should be enhanced.
CRC should seek at status of critical friend in the process of change.
· Critical issues – Interfaces and segregation, regeneration, education, investment in young people, housing, inter-culturalism
· Definitive engagement with the legacy of the past
· Evidence-based policy, research, evaluation and monitoring
· Provide guidance and development support to institutions, with a special emphasis on local government
· Strategic funding in regional resources – targeted funding for local activity
· Develop international connections
· Build relations with partners – ECNI, NIHRC, other funders
· Improve communications and maintain delivery
A peaceful, inclusive, prosperous, stable and fair society founded on the achievement of reconciliation, equality, co-operation, respect, mutual trust and good relations.
There followed a general conversation. Main points raised were as follows:
Name change: Some members expressed the view that there were often losses associated with organisational/brand name changes and that this might be more of a disadvantage than an advantage given the limited (funding) time frames of some of the programmes.
Did the language of “social cohesion” allow for addressing the specifics of the problems that we face?
Are we entering into a dispensation where we are challenging and asking questions?
Does CRC challenge Government or does it get groups to ask the questions?
2053/10 Corporate planning: presentation by CEO Action:
(Ms McShane entered the boardroom)
Original discussions were around (as CRC was an independent body) “would it be a challenge or a funding body”? There might also be a role as a facilitative body.
CRC’s job to be the conscience of society? To get it (society) to recognise the continuing divisions.
CRC should remain a funding body.
CRC as an “encourager” of others? It should meet with others e.g. ECNI.CFNI etc to get things moving, to develop new ideas as funding programmes come to an end - get smarter.
It felt like “peace by pieces” for lots of groups and peace was nowhere near.
CRC needs to retain its funding role while developing its positions and recipients could listen to CRC rhetoric or not - without the funding as an incentive this might not happen.
Need to talk to other organisations/people taking messages forward – look at sectors/workplaces to be an “enabler/persuader."
Look to outside organisations e.g. Atlantic Philanthropies, Rowntree Charitable Trust etc. for possible other avenues of funding.
The notion of independence depends on Government funding and they might be tempted to view in another way if CRC sought external money as part of its strategy. Did not think this was “an either or” but rather a mixed provision model.
The Chair suggested CRC draw up a plan for the next 3 years bearing in mind the following:
· CRC will continue to be a funder for the next year?
· Will have Rowntree funding for a project which will continue for 3 years
· “Quality assurance” for work going on under name of CR? Kite mark developed to validate/commentate on work that goes on?
· Strategic priority is to development an economic model for CR both in the public and private sectors.
The Chair proposed that the March meeting be moved from Wed 31 to the 24 March to facilitate Easter arrangements. The meeting moved to CRC Offices at Linen Green, Dungannon.
2053/10 Corporate planning: presentation by CEO Action:
The Chair suggested the day could start at 11 a.m. to facilitate further development of the corporate planning debate. This could be followed by a shortened Council meeting after lunch.
A paper for discussion would be prepared.
Papers CRC/139/01/10/01(a) & 01(b), 01(c) Pgs 1 to 4 refer]
Financial statements up to 31.10.09 - 01(a) refers
Department Profit and Loss – 01(b) refers
Review to 31.12.09 – 01(c ) pages 1-9 refer
Mr Fitzsimons advised that papers 01(a) and 01(b) were interconnected. He said these had both had been through the Finance and General Purposes Committee. Mr Fitzsimons said that the main points were that the management accounts were deemed accurate, the deficit of £59,000 was not cause for alarm because CRC will have an additional amount from the EU Programme which reverses this figure.
Grant spend paper 01(c) refers: Mr Fitzsimons informed members that M£1,732,170 had been dispersed within a 3 month period and this paper would provide members a snapshot of grants paid.
Forms 296 (Companies Register) – Mr Fitzsimons reminded members that he had e-mailed this form to them and requested that they print these off, complete them and return them to him as soon as possible.
Travel claims: Mr Fitzsimons remind members that he needed these to be submitted as soon as possible in view of the forthcoming Financial Year End closure.
(Mr Fitzsimons left the boardroom, Mr Russell entered the boardroom @ 3 p.m.)
2055/10 POLICY PAPERS:
Papers CRC/139/01/10/02(a) & 02(b) refer]
Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland (02a)
(this paper was sent under separate cover)
A minor amendment was noted e.g. page 2 last line remove apostrophe in “departments”.
Members endorsed this paper.
2055/10 Policy papers continued: Action:
Good Relations Forum – “Ensuring the Good Relations work in our schools counts”
Suggested amendment to page 26 Item (h): Could be more specific re sharing of new resources.
Members endorsed this paper.
The Chair congratulated staff on their good work.
(Ms Francey left the boardroom @ 3.20 p.m.)
Bill of Rights: The CEO told members that a framework had been devised for responding to the Bill of Rights and that this has to be submitted before the next Council. He said that the final draft would come to Council.
(Mr Russell left the boardroom at 3.30 p.m.)
2056/10 OPERATIONAL PLANNING:
Papers CRC/139/01/10/03(a) & 03(b), 03(c) cover page & 03(c) refer]
· Operational Plan 3rd Quarter progress review - paper 03(a) refers: Ms Irwin told members that this was a summary paper and that a full paper was available (at the meeting) for their information should they request.
There were no questions.
· Equality Scheme Update - paper 03(b) refers: Ms Irwin said this was for member’s information and she was happy to take any questions.
There were none.
· CRC’s Fraud Policy – cover page 03(c) & full document 03(c ) refer: Ms Irwin reported that this document has been passed by both Audit and Finance and General Purposes Committees before coming to Council.
Ms Irwin said with regard to paragraph No. 5 (maintaining internal controls) that the Council might need to look at guidance to funding to external groups.
This paper was agreed.
2057/10 PATHFINDER: 1825 Project Craigavon
[Paper CRC/139/01/10/04 refers]
The CEO outlined the background to this project. He confirmed that it had made an application to IFI and this had been approved yesterday, meanwhile there was a need for interim funding for short term assistance for February and March (see attached paper page 3 refers)
Amount Recommended - £6,650.00
Amount Approved - £6,6,50.00
2058/10 CEO’S REPORT:
[Paper CRC/139/01/10/05 refers]
The above paper outlines the main areas of work.
The CEO told members that the main issues were laid out and he would welcome member’s comments.
Dissident activity: The CEO said current political disruption and personal scandals had detracted from the attack on Peader Hefron but he felt that the symbolic implications for the PSNI and stability were real. He pointed out that in the middle of all of this the UDA decommissioning almost went unmarked.
Changes to OFMDFM: The CEO said that following cuts in staffing level in Government Departments numbers and there would be some reorganisation from 1st April. He said there were considerable concerns about the (lack of) speed of decision-making from OFMDFM. He said that a particular and serious concern was around Victims funding and the extrusions of the contract for CRC’s own schemes, as well as CRC’s staff and the organisations CRC funds.
The CEO informed members that, after much “pushing” he had got an outline extension beyond 31st March but no clear final date. He said there was also a question around Procurement which OFMDFM were seeking to clarify.
(1) The CEO said that that in the past months Dr Maurna Crozier had formally left CRC. He said that she was one of the longest serving members of CRC staff and had initially been Director of the Cultural Diversity Group which then became the Cultural Diversity Programme. The CEO said that no one had done more for museums, TV and broadcasting than she had.
Mr Porter asked if there was any way of recommending such people for an award.
The Chair said this could be followed up.
2058/10 CEO’S Report continued: Action:
(2) The CEO informed members that Jim Dennison, Director of the EU Programme since 2002 was due to leave the Council on Thursday 4 February. He said that Mr Dennison had maintained a well-run programme and also negotiated some extremely complex programmes and associations with external bodies. The CEO said that he leaves the EU Programme is a very good position and wished him well in his new position.
(3) The CEO said that Ms Ali McAllister left the Policy Development Programme to join RCN (Rural Community Network). He said she would be a loss but as some of her work at CRC had been in liaison with RCN he hoped her move might strengthen links with them.
(Mr E Oakes left the boardroom at 3.40 p.m.)
2059/10 SECTOR REPORTS:
[Papers CRC/139/01/10/06 – 10 refer]
These reports outline the main areas of work and are for member’s information.
Communication & Learning Resources (Paper CRC/139/11/10/06 refers)
Mr Mullan reminded members about Community Relations week (26 April to 1 May 2010) he told members this had been an on-going event since 2003. Mr Mullan said that this was one week in the year set up to showcase and highlight good CR work happening around the province.
The Chair pointed out that if the current political situation was not resolved Assembly elections might be called in which case this date might have to change.
Mr Mullan pointed out that the current date had been set bearing in mind possible Westminster elections.
Funding & Development Programme + Victims & Survivors (Papers CRC/139/01/10/07 & 07.1 refer)
Policy Development Programme
(Paper CRC/139/01/10/08 refers)
IFI Community Bridges Programme
(Paper CRC/139/01/10/09 refers)
2059/10 SECTOR REPORTS continued:
(Paper CRC/139/01/10/10 refers)
1 Mr Russell asked if the Council was sending the Housing (Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland) paper to the Clerk and the members of the DSD Committee and that CRC sought opportunity to present its views if the Committee was still taking evidence.
This was agreed.
2 Ms McDermott suggested that as Derry’s UK Capital of Culture bid had an emphasis on moving Derry into a new era through exploration and purposeful enquiry about it past that someone from CRC may with to engage with Ilex/Derry City Council.
3 Closed Business: Staff left the boardroom. Two staffing matters were outlined by the Chair and discussed by members.
2061/10 DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS:
Ø Wed 24 March 2010 @ 10.30 for 11 a.m. (venue now moved to CRC’s offices in Linen Green Centre Moygashel, Dungannon) *This is date change to previous.
Ø Thurs 27 May 2010 in CRC’s offices Murray Street, Belfast
Ø Wed 30 June 2010 in CRC’s offices Murray Street,. Belfast – this is a provisional date to be confirmed
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