Present: Eamonn McCartan (Chair), Frances McCandless, Michael Wardlow, Robin Wilson, Malachi O'Doherty,
Apologies: Damien McIlroy, Mark McCann
In attendance: Ray Mullan, Jacqueline Irwin, Maurna Crozier, Ellana Tomasso
Mark McCann and Damien McIlroy have resigned from the Committee.
1.1 Mr Mullan will speak to Dr Morrow with regard to bringing new Committee members on board. This may be either by co-opting new members from outside Council or approaching current Council members who may wish to sit on the Committee. Mr Mullan reminded members that there must be a majority of Council members on the Committee.
The previous meeting's minutes were agreed.
3 Matters Arising
3.1 Mr McCartan extended his congratulations to Mr Wilson on the success of the Policy and Development Conference held on 28 May 2004. Thanks and congratulations were also passed on to Ms McGlade and her team in the Policy and Development Programme of CRC.
3.2 Surplus funds
It had been agreed at the previous meeting that advice would be sought from the CRC Director of Finance, Mr Fitzsimons, about transferring the underspend of £20,000 from the Publications and Media Grant Scheme to the Council's Core Funding Scheme. Mr Fitzsimons had approached OFM/DFM for advice and it had been agreed that the Core Funding Scheme should receive the surplus.
4 Communications Strategy
Mr Mullan sought approval from the Committee on the outline of three key messages, which were designed to reflect the committee's earlier indication that these should be:
A positive message
A hard/challenging message
An optimistic/visionary message
Senior management had already discussed these and were happy that these text outlines should be the basis of CRC's key messages. The committee discussed the wording suggested and made several comments, e.g.. that the hard/challenging message should be more hard hitting, and that the optimistic/visionary message could be seen as unrealistic. It was pointed out that the suggested text was simply for briefing purposes and that actual advertising and design material had yet to be developed. The committee would have an opportunity to view any campaign material before testing or production.
Mr Wardlow thought that the One Small Step Campaign could have parallels with CRC's messages. Mr McCartan said that CRC needs to continue with its messages but that dialogue with One Small Step might be useful to avoid duplication.
It was agreed by the Committee that CRC would go ahead with its key messages. Mr Mullan is to conduct a communications survey/audit of target audiences during the summer to test current communication with CRC and preferred future channels. Pilot material will then be designed in the autumn and the key messages will then be tested on focus groups.
Mr McCartan stated that there was a need to ensure that the correct financial resources were in place. Mr Mullan informed the Committee that he had submitted a budget request of £40,000 for the communications strategy as part of CRC's bid to CRU.
To conduct a communications audit of target audiences and update the committee on the findings (RM)
To ensure that there are enough resources in place to be able to carry out any promotion of key messages (RM).
5 CR Week 2004
Mr Mullan reported on the success of CR Week 2004. There were 80 events that took place all over Northern Ireland which received a large amount of media coverage. Over 70 newspapers featured events from the week which resulted in over 200 articles. About half of the District Council's took part in arranging or putting forward events for the week.
Mr McCartan congratulated Mr Mullan on the success of the week.
Mr Mullan was asked by the Committee to advise it on the strengths and weaknesses of the Week and indicate what might be done differently in the run up to next year's CR Week.
It was suggested by Mr Wardlow that the Churches may wish to do something next year to promote community relations within their congregations.
There was a consensus that next year's CR week should be planned well in advance and the dates should be set very early so that people can put it into their calendars in good time.
Report to be presented to committee on plans for the next CR Week. (RM)
6 Publications and Media Grant Scheme
6.1 Mr Mullan reported to the Committee that in the last financial year 10 publications and 3 media projects had been funded by both grant schemes. There had been a £20,000 underspend which had been transferred to the Council's Core Funding Scheme. (See minute 3.2 – above).
6.2 Mr Mullan informed the Committee that Dr Morrow, Dr Crozier and himself were CRC readers for applications being made to the publications scheme. Specialist readers would be brought in if required, if necessary from outside CRC. Decisions on awards up to £5,000 could be made by any two of the above staff and were reported to quarterly Communications Committee meetings. All decisions on awards over £5,000 were referred to the committee.
6.3 Media Grant Scheme: (Mr O'Doherty declared an interest and left the room.)
Dr Crozier presented a paper to the Committee to seek approval for designating the 2004/2005 Media Fund (£40,000) to television and media projects that highlight incomers to Northern Ireland. As racist attacks are on the increase in region it was felt that CRC should be addressing these issues.
The Committee agreed with the proposal and therefore £40,000 from the Media budget this year would be awarded to documentary film projects addressing the issue of incomers to Northern Ireland. This would be done in association with the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission.
The new use of the scheme to be advertised and applications invited. (MC)