Equity Diversity Interdependence
Promoting a Peaceful and Fair
Society based on Reconciliation
and Mutual Trust.
31 March 2011
MINUTES OF THE ONE HUNDRED & FORTY-SEVENTH MEETING OF THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL HELD ON THURSDAY 31 MARCH 2011 @9.30 A.M. IN THE DRAWING ROOM @ GALGORM MANOR, 136 FENAGHY ROAD, GALGORM, CO ANTRIM
2171/11 PRESENT: Action:
Mr T McCusker (Chair), Mr J Deery, Mr W Gamble, Dr L Litvack, Mr H Mansour, Ms S McDermott, Mr T Kennedy, Mr E Oakes, Mr R Morton, Ms J Witherow , Ms H Francey, Ms R McCorley, Dr D Russell
Ms S Gordon, Mr S Farry, Mr J Byrne, Mr D Porter, Ms K Hanlon, Ms McShane.
2173/11 IN ATTENDANCE:
Dr D Morrow [CEO], Ms J Irwin [Deputy CEO], Ms H Scott [Personal Sec], Mr P Nolan [JRT Research], Ms B McKinley [SO/Policy Dev Prog] Ms D MacBride [PD/Cultural Diversity], Mr P Jordan (PD/Funding & Dev)
Ms R Dalton (OFMDFM)
Minutes of the previous meetings 26th November 2011 having been circulated were taken as read. Two minor amendments were noted. Minutes were approved subject to amendments.
2176/11 MATTERS ARISING:
Closed session – staff and OFMDFM representative were asked to leave the room while the Chair spoke to members.
2177/11 CHAIR’S BUSINESS:
1 Standard checks:
(a) The Chair reminded Members that they had to declare any conflict of interest 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 CEO’s Report: re TUPE liability issues for CRC and board members. The CEO advised he now had a legal view and this confidential correspondence was tabled at the meeting for later discussion.
2178/11 FINANCE: Action:
[Papers CRC/147/03/11/01(a), 01(b)refer]
Update on groups under investigation (verbal)
Management A/Cs & Financial statements to 31 Jan 2011 - 01(a) Departmental profit and loss to 31 Jan 2011 - 01(b)
The CEO advised that spot checks on high risk groups was being undertaken by FPM. He said they were seeking access to computer records. The CEO said that as of yesterday nothing of urgent concern had arisen.
Ms Irwin pointed out that if any of the “at risk” groups revealed further potential risk auditors would expand their investigations.
Case 1 (as per January minutes) – The CEO told members that OFMDFM had written to the organisation requesting (final) answers to questions they had set. He said that CRC would be liaising with OFMDFM and DSO next week.
Case 2 (as per January minutes) – The CEO reported that a further investigation (a sample audit) was being undertaken by Messrs Goldblatt McGuigan. He said that the consequence of this might be that a full audit would follow but that CRC continued to liaise with PSNI.
Management Accounts/Departmental Profit & Loss – The CEO informed members that the Finance and General Purposes Committee had been through these account in detail.
There were no questions.
[Papers CRC/147/03/11/02, 02.1, 02.2 & 02.3 refer]
Equality update & Equality Scheme 02 & 02.1
Complaints procedure (cover note) 02.2 & 02.3
Equality: Ms Irwin informed members that the Equality papers were discussed at the Finance & General Purposes Committee and the Scheme had come at the request of the Equality Commission. She said that ambiguity continued as CRC was caught between public policies (Shared Future, CSI etc).
The CEO said that CRC would continue on current policy (Shared Future) he advised that he had written to OFMDFM in this regard but had not received a formal reply.
Ms Irwin said that document had come to Council for formal approval.
This was agreed.
2179/11 Equality continued: Action:
Complaints Procedure: Ms Irwin advised that there was a two stage process within CRC (at staff level), second stage would involve the Chair with a final resort to the Commissioner for Complaints if not resolved.
This was approved.
2180/11 PATHFINDER PROPOSALS:
[Papers CRC/147/03/11/03, 03.1 & 03.2 (tabled at meeting) refer]
Glebeside Community Association– 03
The CEO said that this project worked in a loyalist estate and had made significant efforts to build connections with the wider area. He said that IFI funding would commence in June and this would amount to bridging funding.
The CEO told members that CFNI strongly supported this organisation and there had been measurable progress.
Amount Requested: £5,961.26
Amount Approved: £5,961.26
Women into Politics – 03.1
The CEO informed members that this application was predicated on a meeting with OFMDFM who advised that there would be a merger between WIP and TWN (Training for Women Network).
Mr Gamble advised members that TWN has no plans to merge with WIP.
The CEO said that CRC was informed that not only was a merger in advanced stages that TWN would be moving in this WIP.
Mr Gamble reiterated his clear understanding that TWN had to move there was no option but to downsize and suggested that TWN should be invited to provide a formal response.
The Chair expressed the view that there were too many uncertainties.
The CEO said that he would report (to OFMDFM) that serious issues had been raised with regard to the veracity of the merger. CEO
Amount requested: £26,486.74
This application was not considered and withdrawn by Council.
2180/11 Pathfinder proposals continued: Action:
Lower Shankill Community Association – 03.2 (tabled at meeting)
The CEO outlined the background to this project. He said this area was one of the most deprived areas with consistently high levels of crime and poverty and low levels of educational achievement. The CEO said that the organisation had engaged with key services and had become the representative body negotiating with BCC, NIHE, re-imaging Project (ACNI, PSNI as well as other agencies).
The Chair suggested that 6 months was a long time for an transition grant and thought a report after 3 month (possibly June meeting) would be appropriate.
Amount requested: £25,550.00
Amount approved: £25,550.00 subject to the following conditions:
· Payment will be conditional on the production of a details work plan for two quarters.
· This payment will be made over two quarters. The second payment will be conditional on evidence of a sustainable programme of community relations activity.
2181/11 POLICY PAPERS:
[Papers CRC/147/03/11/04, 04.1 & 04.2 refer]
Advocacy paper – 04
Ms McKinley said that this paper was very much a starting point looking at the core areas of engagement.
A general discussion ensued with the following suggestions:
· This useful as a first template but CRC should develop an advocacy plan.
· Use of board members should be considered
· Develop a one or two page paper outlining the key things CRC is doing under these headings and members could be updated at meetings
· Bring this to Committee and management team level to decide how to capture and co-ordinate key issues/strategies
Draft – Interface Working Group guidance papers on proposed process for barrier removal- 04.1.
Ms McKinley told members that people had expressed frustrations at the obstacles around the opening of gates. She said the paper attempted to set out steps/a process to enable barriers in interface areas to be removed when
2181/11 Policy papers continued: Action:
conditions were considered right. She said the IWG (Interface Working Group) hoped to get the paper signed off so that they could bring it to a ministerial group in April.
The CEO said that the IWG was an interagency sub group and was hoping for CRC’s endorsement of the draft.
The Chair indicated that CRC would be broadly in favour of carrying this forward as a tool but indicated that the two streams of public and community relations should be merged.
Remembering the Future– 04.2
The Chair said he thought the conference (last week) had been very successful and that the co-operation with the Heritage Lottery (Ms McDermott) had ensured this.
Ms MacBride told members that this paper was an update people on actions taken and how CRC’s position was evolving. She said that based on the report a document would be circulated and placed in the CRC website.
This paper was agreed.
(Ms Francey and Mr Russell entered the boardroom @ 12.30 p.m.)
2182/11 CEO’S REPORT:
[Paper CRC/147/03/11/05 refers]
Sectarian issues: The CEO said that the on-going sectarian incidents and “rumblings” continued to create local difficulties and were possibly attempts to disrupt local elections.
Staffing: The Chair advised that he had heard an appeal with regard to the decision to terminate the Director of Finance & Personnel’s post and he had upheld the CEO’s decision. He said that it had been a difficult situation but that Council could not continue without a Finance Director. The Chair said that recruitment would need to proceed as soon as formal approval was received.
The CEO indicated that CRC did not have to make a business case as this post was specifically exempted as per previous correspondence with Mr Noel Lavery (OFMDFM).
The Chair asked members if they were content to proceed with recruitment of a Director of Finance & Personnel.
Members indicated approval.
2182/11 CEO’s report continued: Action:
Finance Officer: The CEO advised that Tracey Wilson (Finance Officer) would be back from maternity leave on 8th April but that it had been agreed, in the absence of a Director of Finance, that Mr Keith Gibson would remain for a further 3 months to assist with accounts/finance.
Victims Programme contracts: The CEO informed members that yesterday CRC had been advised that the Executive budget would have to be recalculated. He said that the budget had only been signed off on 10 March and at this time a business case for Victims work still had to be made by the Department. He said they (OFMDFM) were prepared to issue an indicative contract for 1 year with a caveat that the business case would have to be signed off (money would be guaranteed for the first quarter only).
The Chair enquired whether this would technically mean redundancy notices would have to be issued. He asked if the audience at the conference were aware of the current situation and asked that this be communicated by the CEO.
The CEO said that only after the business case was formally signed off would there be some security. He said that he would advise the conference participants of the current uncertainties when closing the conference. CEO
The Chair advised that CRC (Victims Programme) would not have money until April and then only guaranteed for 3 months subject to a business case being approved and, as unlikely as this might seem, he pointed out that the business case could fail. He said if this happened CRC would have to issue redundancy notices.
The CEO said there was nothing transitional or strategic about this funding. He pointed out that the time table (providing a Victims Service) by 2012 could not be met and the outline for the Service was in any event extremely poor. The CEO said that CRC required clarity as to what the long term situation was going to be. He suggested that if clarification was not forthcoming by September 2011 CRC would need to work on an exit strategy.
The Chair said CRC has no option but to accept what was being offered otherwise Victims groups would not be funded. He said that CRC would have to make clear the terms under which it was operating.
Mr Kennedy enquired who was making the business case.
The CEO advised that OFMDFM were. He noted that but that CRC was also involved in a dispute over the baseline of CRC’s budget in calculating CRC core costs.
2183/11 CORE FUNDING:
[Paper CRC/147/03/11/05 refers]
Ms Francey outlined the paper. She advised that 15 renewal applications and 8 new applications had been received. She said that a small group would be meeting after the Council meeting to review two projects.
Ms Irwin pointed out that budget allocation would be subject to receiving a CR budget from OFMDFM.
The Chair said he would (at a later stage) like a discussion around core funding allocation and there were questions that should be considered e.g. (i) is this still the best way? (ii) should we look at commissioning an area of work which CRC would like to focus one?
The Chair said that in relation to the core funded groups there were other question to be considered e.g.:
(1) How long had they been funded?
(2) Was there an easy way to identify outcomes for each of them?
Mr Jordan said that at the last CIC meeting a portfolio was presented looking at earlier work and looking at other funders. He also pointed out that core funding budget had not been increased over many years. Mr Jordan said that Mr McNally’s work on evaluation has been very useful in helping assessments and to ask the necessary questions.
Ms Francey agreed with the Chair that CRC should be looking at what it wanted in terms of work.
The Chair said CRC needed to avoid the perception that core funding went to a “magic circle” and for those not included there was no funding. He suggested a paper for the June (29th) meeting. P JORDAN/CIC
Ms Irwin pointed out that staff had already been working on this paper, also on a thematic level. She pointed out that core funding was a mixture now and that CRC had moved to another model where it did not fund a project in its entirety.
Ms Irwin suggested that the following papers could come to the June meeting:
1 a summation of what CRC was core funding
2 an evaluation paper
3 application forms (so members could observe the rigour)
2183/11 Core Funding continued: Action:
The Chair suggested that CRC should be asking “is core funding strategically the right thing” to continue with. He emphasised that this was not a criticism of the current scheme but wondered if CRC should move away from the notion of core funding.
2184/11 SECTOR REPORTS:
[Papers CRC/147/03/11/07 to 12 refer]
The above papers outline the main areas of work.
There were no questions.
Ms Irwin informed members that the EU Programme’s recent call for applications had been massively oversubscribed she thought this might be due to people thinking this was a “last chance” for EU funding.
1 TUPE liability: The CEO referred to a letter from Solicitors Jones Cassidy that had been tabled earlier. [Mins 2177/11, Item 2 refers]. He said that a short discussion would take place after lunch (during the Strategic Planning session). He also reminded that members treat this letter as confidential.
2 Advisory meeting (re Conflict in Cities (Cambridge): The Chair replaced the CEO at this meeting.
3 19 -21 May Conflict in Cities conference @ QUB: The CEO indicated that there would be a large academic presence and CRC would be sponsoring a table.
4 (i) Membership Renewal: The Chair apologised for fact that there was no paper was available for this meeting. However he proposed that the following members (due for renewal) were extended until the June 2011 Council meeting when a paper would be presented:
Ms Hazel Francey
Mr Stephen Farry
Mr James Deery
Ms Sylvia Gordon
Mr Tony Kennedy
These extensions were agreed.
(The Chairman withdrew from the boardroom)
2185/11 AOB continued: Action:
4 (ii) Renewal of Chair: The CEO advised that board members were required to indicate their approval for this which then was subject to confirmation by OFMDFM.
Approval was proposed by Mr Kennedy and seconded by Mr Russell
2186/11 DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS:
May Council meeting changed to 1st June (Murray Street)
June 29th Council meeting remains unchanged (probably Murray Street)
Sept 29th meeting will possibly to move to 6th October TBC
30th November (venue TBC)
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