Present: David Russell (Acting Chair), Katie Hanlon, Rosie McCorley, Jonny Byrne, Sinead McShane and Stephen Farry
In attendance: Ray Mullan, Jacqueline Irwin, Duncan Morrow, Dympna McGlade, Grace Hamilton
1 Welcome and Apologies
Apologies: Hassan Mansour, Tony Kennedy, Tony McCusker, David Porter, Michael Wardlow
2 Minutes of the Previous Meeting
Minutes of the previous meeting were taken as read.
3 Good Relations Indicators Presentation – Pauline Donnan (OFMdFM)
David Russell welcomed Pauline Donnan from OFMdFM to the meeting. Ms Donnan made a presentation on Good Relations Indicators to those in attendance, (copies circulated to members in advance).
Members in attendance then discussed the presentation and suggested future mapping exercises which could be developed from the work.
Duncan Morrow explained that further to this CRC are presently undertaking a mapping exercise which has started in schools. Young people are being provided with GPS systems and diaries to show what areas they move within on a daily basis, and this is then fed back into a specifically developed computer programme. Presently this is a pilot scheme being conducted in areas such as Ballymena, Belfast and Derry.
It was also suggested that there needed to be similar work carried out in regards to the work around victims and survivors and evaluating the services that they currently receive.
4 Chair’s Business
As the Chair was unable to attend the meeting, there was no Chair Business raised.
5 CSI Update and Review
No progress has been made on the CSI policy since the election was called and likewise in regards to the administrative aspect of the work, an issue that CRC has raised with the Department.
It was noted that a substantial number of the consultation responses on CSI had endorsed the existing policy on the Shared Future and that the approach taken under the Shared Future was very relevant in terms of cross-departmental involvement.
Stephen Farry informed members that the five political parties are meeting from 3pm on Thursday 12 May at Stormont Castle to discuss a list of issues including, education, the review of public administration, the reform of the NHS in Northern Ireland and CSI.
Duncan Morrow highlighted that as CSI falls within this discussion would indicate that it is a pressing issue at present.
6 CRC Policy Conference 2011
The CRC Annual Policy Conference is to be held on Thursday 26th May 2011 at the Stormont Hotel. Presently 136 people have registered to attend the conference with capacity at 160.
Invitees to sit on the political panel have yet to respond. Mr Farry suggested that this was due to the reshuffling of positions that is currently taking place, following the election results and that it is likely responses will be forthcoming next week.
Committee members attending the conference agreed to make themselves available to carry out any tasks that may be required on the day.
7 Community Relations Week 2011
From Monday 9th May 2011, buses throughout Northern Ireland will be displaying advertisements publicising CR week. A media launch will be held in Derry on Monday which Duncan Morrow will attend.
CRC Chair, Tony McCusker will attend a photo opportunity on the steps of Parliament Buildings alongside newly elected MLAs on Tuesday 17th May.
A number of articles have been placed in the press to be published during CR week, including a feature in the Irish News on the Open Hands Project and an interview with Gareth Harper from Peace Players International. The Belfast Telegraph is to feature a profile of Charmain Jones of RCN and in addition to this two pieces will appear in the Business Telegraph by Neil Gibson and CRC. In the Newsletter there will be a feature on NBIN.
Press Releases will be issued in advance of CR week which are expected to attract media interest.
Only two district councils within Northern Ireland are not participating in this year’s CR week, (Ards and North Down Councils).
8 External Communications Review Update
External Communications are a strong priority at this time of year for CRC. There is a continuation of being proactive in terms of the press, and this has been partly through engagement with ‘One Small Step’.
An article placed by Duncan Morrow in the press responding to the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr. Duncan Morrow also appeared on Sunday Sequence on Sunday 8 May 2011 to provide an analysis of the election results.
The profile of CRC has been maintained steadily and at the end of CR week there will be a need to take stock of the strategic direction.
On the back of this, there have been a large number of publications coming from seminars and conferences that have been hosted by CRC, including the Shared Housing Seminar, Commemorations Conference, and the IFI programmes. There are also a number of pieces of research which are yet to be publicised.
The Advocacy Strategy is being developed with the Management Team as an active learning tool.
9 Consultations and NI Assembly Update
Dympna McGlade updated members that this area of work had been the key priority of the Policy Development Officer’s role. With Gemma Attwood being on maternity leave, the Policy Development Team has been short-staffed as the business case to temporarily fill this position remains outstanding since the beginning of March.
Dympna McGlade explained that CRC is listed on the Registrar of the Equality Commission and receive all EQIA’s carried out by public bodies. To cope with the level of response, a generic response letter has been drafted. Consultations that are received that do not have a community relations element are set aside.
The Policy Director reminded the Committee that it had been agreed by at a previous committee meeting that the Policy Department respond to four consultations per yearly quarter and that there would be extensive consultation within this. Programme staff have tried to manage this in Gemma’s absence but it has been impossible to respond to all consultations and the usual response process has not been as thorough for those that are being responded to.
Ms McGlade thanked those members who provided assistance in the responses to consultations and directed the attention of members to the handout, showing consultations received between March and May, explaining that those highlighted in red will not be responded to due to time and staff constraints and that those in green are being responded to.
Stephen Farry advised that another consultation that needed to be added to the list was that on Corporation Tax, as this incorporated issues such as how segregation can inhibit the ability to transform the economy.
Duncan Morrow agreed to lead on this response and David Russell advised that he would share the NIHRC’s response to this paper with CRC.
Dympna McGlade informed members that amongst the consultations being responded to are the Strategic Investment Fund.
10 Interface Working Group
There was discussion around an issue that had been raised at a previous meeting by Tony McCusker as to the direction of the work on interfaces and the role of CRC within this.
It was suggested that CRC should take ownership of the work, due to the amount of work and commitment already invested. David Russell highlighted that Interfaces are the physical manifestation of the central role of CRC’s work and this needs to be explored on a project basis. It was further agreed that in order to sustain this work, there is a need for resources, and discussion with the Department of Justice.
Duncan Morrow recommended that there was the need for a mapping process which should be undertaken by the Policing Partnerships, as this role is part of their remit.
It was agreed that a Business Case be produced by CRC outlining the work that has been carried out to date in regards to Interfaces, and a series of steps that need to be taken in the future. This then would be presented at a meeting with the Department of Justice.
12 Date of Next Meeting
Wednesday 15 June 2011 at 10am in the Board Room of CRC Offices.