FERMANAGH COMHAIRLE DISTRICT COUNCIL CHEANTAIR FHEAR MANACH DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE COISTE FORBARTHA Minutes of the meeting of the Development Committee held in the Council Chamber, Townhall, Enniskillen on Monday, 14 September 2009 at 7.30pm. PRESENT: Councillors Stephen Huggett (Chairman), Harold Andrews, Alex Baird, Frank Britton, Cyril Brownlee, Pat Cox, Tom Elliott, Gerry Gallagher, Robert Irvine, Bert Johnston, Ruth Lynch, Brian McCaffrey, Fergus McQuillan, Breege McSorley, John O’Kane, Thomas O’Reilly and Paul Robinson. APOLOGIES: Councillors Arlene Foster, Gerry McHugh, Patricia Rogers and Bernice Swift. IN ATTENDANCE: Chief Executive, Director of Finance & IT and Committee Clerk. D69/09 MINUTES The minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 20 July 2009 were approved and signed. D70/09 MATTERS ARISING D62/09 LIAISON SUB COMMITTEES – ROADS AND HOUSING Members discussed the condition of the road surface on the A32 and it was agreed that this would be discussed further at the next Roads Sub Committee meeting. D71/09 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ICBAN Councillors Gerry Gallagher and Fergus McQuillan declared an interest and left the meeting for the duration of the discussion of this item. 2 The Director of Finance and IT informed the Committee that ICBAN would act as Lead Partner to manage and administer successful operations under the Multi-Annual Plan submitted to SEUPB for funding under the Interreg IVA Programme. In addition, ICBAN had facilitated a number of working groups which lobbied for improved roads and telecommunications in the region as well as social inclusion and spatial planning. All 10 member Councils had provided £15,000 per annum to ICBAN in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Following a review of expenditure within ICBAN and in light of recent public sector budget cutbacks the ICBAN Management Board agreed that member Councils should be asked to contribute £12,500 each for the 2009/2010 financial year. RECOMMENDED: That the Council provide a maximum of £12,500 to ICBAN in the current financial year subject to the other 9 member Councils providing the same level of funding. Councillor Elliott asked to be recorded as dissenting. D72/09 Interreg IVA Rural Development Measure Councillor Alex Baird declared an interest and left the meeting for the duration of the discussion of this item. The Director of Finance and IT informed the Committee that under this theme a call had opened for strategic proposals which supported the sustainable socio-economic development of particularly disadvantaged rural communities through strategically focussed cross-border actions. Proposals needed to demonstrate that they had the potential to make a major impact during and beyond the lifetime of the programme to ensure the continuing development of the rural economy through cross border activities. €10 million had been set aside for the theme; the closing date for applications had been extended from the end of September to Friday, 30 October 2009. Officers from Fermanagh District Council had been working with Officers from Cavan and Leitrim to develop a proposal for submission in response to this call. The project in Fermanagh involved the development of workspace in the Newtownbutler area with Cavan having a mixture of workspace and tourism projects. The strategic needs of Leitrim were different and they had concentrated on tourism based activities. 3 In order to progress the workspace project the Council had placed an advertisement in the two local newspapers asking for Expressions of Interest from landowners who were willing to sell two acres of land for development purposes. Six applications had been received and officers were currently assessing these in terms of ability to receive planning permission, proximity to Newtownbutler and the costs of development. Cavan recently changed its priorities and was now interested in developing tourism based projects. As a result the Fermanagh workspace project did not fit into the overarching tourism theme of the application. The Director informed the Committee that negotiations were ongoing with Monaghan County Council to investigate the potential for inclusion of a workspace project in partnership with them. The Committee was advised that it was unlikely that this project could be taken forward. RECOMMENDED: That, subject to identification of a suitable site, a site should be acquired for future development of workspace provision in the Newtownbutler area. D73/09 Competitiveness & Employment Programme Councillor Alex Baird declared an interest and left the meeting for the duration of the discussion of this item. The Director of Finance and IT informed the Committee that the Council was involved in two projects under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme. The first related to a Business Survival and Growth programme which had been approved subject to a positive economic appraisal. Grant Thornton had been appointed to appraise all successful projects and this would be complete by the end of September 2009. The second project related to the identification of suitable locations for workspace development. The Director informed the Committee that McCann Consulting had been appointed to work with community/enterprise groups in Fermanagh who were interested in developing workspace in their area and to assess their need and capacity. The Council would then apply to DETI for funding under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme to develop workspace in the recommended area/s. Following a widely publicised call for 4 Expressions of Interest, nine had been returned. Six of the projects were deemed ineligible under the Competitiveness Programme and were therefore ruled out. McCann Consulting had provided the Council with an interim report and the three remaining projects were ranked as: 1) Kinawley Enterprises Ltd 2) Rosslea Enterprises Ltd 3) Cavanacarragh Community Association. The Committee was advised that McCann Consulting would produce a final report by the end of September 2009 to include a report on the process and demonstration of compliance with requirements of the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for each of the projects. RECOMMENDED: That the Council proceed with an application under the Competitiveness and Employment Programme for all three projects. D74/09 Social Economy Enterprise Strategy 2009-2011 The Director of Finance and IT informed the Committee that the Social Economy Enterprise Strategy 2009-2011 had been launched for public consultation on Wednesday, 12 August 2009. It stated that DETI aimed to provide an enterprise environment which encouraged greater social entrepreneurial activity and supported those Social Economy Enterprises that wanted to grow. Three strategic objectives and associated actions had been identified to achieve this vision: 1) Increase awareness of the sector and establish its value to the local economy 2) Develop the sector and increase its business strength 3) Create a supportive and enabling environment. The Committee considered a draft response to the consultation paper with the following points included: The Social Economy Network was the representative body of the Northern Ireland social economy sector and was identified as a key stakeholder for the implementation of the strategy. The Social Economy Network had a very low membership base in Fermanagh and had no Board members from the West of the province. This was concerning given the high number of Social Economy 5 Enterprises in Fermanagh and the West and further the high number of Social Economy Enterprises in rural areas. The Social Entrepreneurship Programme was launched in June 2009. All mentor support offered for start-ups must be completed by the end of the first year of trading and support for post start-ups was only available to Social Economy Enterprises that demonstrated export potential. Therefore there was a gap in provision between start-up Social Economy Enterprises and those with potential for significant growth. In addition, criteria for the support available was challenging, especially to avail of post-start strategic mentoring. The focus of the strategy was on supporting Social Economy Enterprises that wanted to grow. Traditionally Social Economy Enterprises were established to provide services that the private sector would not provide as it was unprofitable for them to do so. Whilst many of these Social Economy Enterprises did not have the will or capacity to grow they were essential in the community they served and their value should not be underestimated, e.g. childcare provision to enable parents to work outside the home. These Social Economy Enterprises should be given the recognition that they deserved and should be supported to continue to provide these essential services. The approach of the Scottish Government could be more applicable, i.e. invest in Social Economy Enterprises to deliver high quality services to those that needed them focusing on moving towards financial sustainability and reducing organisational dependency on grants rather than on growth. The Council was fully supportive of the strategy and the aim of encouraging Social Economy Enterprises to grow. However, it was important to recognise that many community businesses did not have the potential for growth or the ability to put support mechanisms in place to ensure the sustainability of these organisations and services. RECOMMENDED: That the Council respond to the strategy accordingly. D75/09 LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOUNDARIES COMMISSIONER The Chief Executive informed the Committee of a letter received from Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of the Environment, 6 on the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner’s Final Report – Names of the new Local Government Districts. The Committee discussed the suggested name for the area ‘Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’. RECOMMENDED: That a letter be sent to Local Government Policy Division advising that Fermanagh District Council supported the new name – Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. D76/09 WESTERN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE TRUST The Chairman welcomed Mrs Elaine Way, Chief Executive, Mr John Doherty, Director of Women and Children’s Services and Dr Michael Parker, Clinical Director for Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Western Health and Social Care Trust, to the meeting. Mrs Way confirmed that as of Monday, 14 September, gynae services had been reinstated at the Erne Hospital, Enniskillen. Eight out of nine junior doctors were now in post and the ninth had been appointed and was waiting for a VISA to come through, in the meantime, a locum would be used to fill the vacancy. The Trust staff addressed the following issues: The process (the deanery system) for appointment of junior doctors, The circumstances that led to the temporary suspension of gynae services at the Erne Hospital, The role of the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) in the appointment of junior doctors, Interim arrangements, How the Council could work together with the Trust for a successful Erne Hospital and new South West Acute Hospital. Members also raised questions with Trust staff regarding the maternity unit at the Erne Hospital and Drumhaw Residential Home, Lisnaskea. RECOMMENDED: That the Chief Executive write to Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, outlining the Council’s concern about the process for appointing junior 7 doctors and the risk that similar problems might arise in the future. The Chairman thanked the representatives from WHSCT for the presentation and they left the meeting. D77/09 LIAISON – PUBLIC SERVICES The RPA, Super-Councils & Change Management – The Communications challenges The Committee was informed that this seminar had now been cancelled. D78/09 Books of Honour Ireland The Committee considered attendance at the above conference and launch to be held on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny. RECOMMENDED: That the Chief Executive and the Chairman attend the above conference and launch. D79/09 Retail NI 09 Conference The Committee considered attendance at the above conference to be held on Thursday, 17 September 2009 in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast. RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the conference. D80/09 Chartered Institute of Housing Autumn Conference The Committee considered attendance at the above conference to be held on Thursday, 24 September 2009 in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. RECOMMENDED: That Councillor Gerry Gallagher would attend the conference. D81/09 Innovation in Delivering Public Services Seminar The Committee considered attendance at the above seminar to be held on Wednesday, 14 October 2009 in the Odyssey, Belfast. 8 RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the seminar. D82/09 Exploring the future of public transport The Committee considered attendance at the above seminar to be held on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 in the Grand Opera House, Belfast. RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the conference. D83/09 UK Business Incubation 11 Conference The Committee considered attendance at the above conference to be held from Tuesday, 1 to Thursday, 3 December 2009 in various locations in Belfast. RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the conference. D84/09 Stratagem seminar The Committee considered attendance at the above seminar to be held on Tuesday, 6 October 2009 in the Europa Hotel, Belfast. RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the seminar. D85/09 Getting a Grip 2009 The Committee considered attendance at the above conference to be held from Thursday, 8 to Friday, 9 October 2009 in the Europe Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry. RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the conference. D86/09 2009 La Touche Legacy Seminar The Committee considered attendance at the above seminar to be held from Friday, 2 to Sunday, 4 October 2009 in Charlesland Golf & Country Club Hotel, Greystones, Co Wicklow. 9 RECOMMENDED: That the Committee noted the details of the seminar. D87/09 Co-option The Chief Executive informed the Committee that a Special meeting would be held on Monday, 5 October at 7pm prior to the Council meeting to consider co-option to replace former Councillor Domhnall Ó Cobhthaigh. D88/09 Council coats The Chief Executive informed the Committee that new Council coats would be made available to all Members who required them. The coats would be available with embroidery in either English or Irish. Members should confirm details with the Administration Officer in the Townhall. D89/09 Birthday Honours List The Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Council had received a letter from the Department of Environment giving advance notice that nominations for the Birthday Honours List 2010 would be sought in September 2009. Parties could consider potential candidates and the official request for nominations would be issued in due course. D90/09 VAT The Director of Finance and IT informed the Committee that the Council had appointed KPMG to submit a claim on it’s behalf to HM Revenue & Customs to obtain a refund of VAT and simple interest. The claim was based on a cultural exemption, an education exemption and two sporting exemptions applicable for periods as far back as 1981. The claim was based on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis subject to a fee of 12.5% for all successful claims. The Committee was informed that there was now a possibility of making a claim for compound interest. The cost of making the claim if full details were lodged would be £10,000 or £5,500 if particulars were excluded. The £5,500 included £2,000 law firm fees, £2,000 KPMG fees and £1,500 court costs. KPMG had advised that most consulting firms were lodging claims without full particulars and that there were time limits for making these claims. If successful KPMG would be 10 entitled to a fee of 12.5%, less their initial £2,000 fee for lodging the claim. RECOMMENDED: That the Council proceed with a claim for compound interest without particulars at an approximate cost of £5,500. RISING: The Committee rose at 10.10pm. All Members named were present for the commencement of the meeting except Councillors Ruth Lynch, Brian McCaffrey and Thomas O’Reilly who arrived at 7.35pm and Tom Elliott at 7.45pm. All Members named were present for the duration of the meeting except Councillors Pat Cox and Robert Irvine who left at 8.50pm, Breege McSorley at 9.10pm, Gerry Gallagher at 9.15pm, Frank Britton at 9.50pm and Cyril Brownlee at 9.55pm.