Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room (Room G05), City Hall

Contact: Mr. Barry Flynn  Tel: 028 9027 0610

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


            Regarding item 5a, viz., ‘Development and Outreach Funding’, Councillor Reynolds reported that he was associated of one of the organisations in receipt of support under the Programme.



Requests for Deputations


            The Democratic Services Officer reminded the Committee that the Digital TV switch-over was due to take place across Northern Ireland in October, 2012.  He reported that a request had been received from the representatives of the organisation which was overseeing the switch-over, viz., Digital UK, seeking to brief the Committee on the arrangements which had been put in place to ensure that the changes to television services in Belfast would be implemented successfully. Accordingly, he requested that the Committee consider receiving a short presentation in the matter at its meeting on Tuesday, 12th June.


            The Committee agreed to receive the deputation.



Belfast Masterplan pdf icon PDF 58 KB


The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 21st February, it had agreed that the Council’s Draft Masterplan should be subjected to further political scrutiny in order to align it with the Investment Programme for 2012/2015, and to take into account the priorities as set out within the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government. Accordingly, it was agreed that consultation on the Masterplan should take place over two phases, with initial engagement undertaken with the various departments within the Executive with a view to creating a shared agenda for the City. Thereafter, the Masterplan would be issued for public consultation to allow the Council to gauge wider perceptions. It had been agreed also that the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, together with the Political Party Leaders, would represent the Council at the initial discussions with the Executive departments.

The Director reported that consultations had begun with representatives of the various departments within the Northern Ireland Executive. However, he indicated that it would be unlikely that the round of consultations would be completed by mid-June and he suggested that it would be prudent for the Committee to agree to convene a special meeting to consider any amendments arising from the initial round of discussions prior to issuing the Masterplan for public consultation.   


            The Committee agreed to hold a special meeting in late-June, to which all Members of the Council would be invited, to consider any amendments to the Masterplan arising from the initial discussions with the various departments within the Northern Ireland Executive.



Cultural Framework for Belfast 2012/2015


            The Committee considered the undernoted report, together with a revised Cultural Framework document, a copy of which was made available on the Council’s website:


“1        Relevant Background Information


1.1       The Development Committee in May 2010 gave approval for the development of a new cultural strategy for Belfast City Council.


1.2       The previous Council strategy, the Integrated Cultural Strategy for Belfast (ICS) 2007–10, was developed in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). It established a shared vision for cultural development in Belfast and set out two guiding principles for the Council:


            -       To develop the cultural product in the city; and


            -       To use culture and arts to regenerate the city.


1.3       The Council invests just under £1.4m in culture, arts and heritage organisations each year through five funding schemes. This supports approximately 75 organisations; an audience of 4 million; 314 full?time jobs; 135 part-time jobs; 826 freelance contracts; and 736 volunteering opportunities. For every £1 of funding invested by the Council, a further £8 is leveraged. 


1.4       Investment to support and promote arts and culture in Belfast has been identified as a key economic driver in the Investment Programme 2012–15.



            Development of the New Cultural Strategy


1.5       Since June 2010, Officers have undertaken substantial developmental work on the new strategy. This includes engagement with stakeholders, including a series of consultation workshops with the arts and heritage sectors; engagement via existing networks such as the Festivals Forum and Tourism Forum Officers Working Group; one-to-one meetings including with Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI) and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL); two cultural and creative industries workshops; and an inter-Departmental briefing.


1.6       Officers also facilitated two consultation sessions with Members on 20 September and 28 October 2011, and provided party briefings to all parties.


1.7       An independent report on the socio-economic impact of the Unit’s Annual and Multi-annual Funding schemes and an audit of the audience at the city’s ticketed events and venues have been completed. An extended report on the competitiveness of Belfast’s culture, arts and sport was also commissioned from Oxford Economics and is included on


2          Key Issues


2.1       Following consultation and in-depth feedback, the ICS is considered to be still very relevant, and it provides a strong foundation for further development. Feedback from consultees indicated that a more practical, action-oriented strategy is required for the next three years.  


            Consultation with Political Parties


2.2       Officers have carried out briefings with all Political Parties. Key issues raised by the Parties included sustainability; deliverability; need for community engagement; and need to increase audiences. A summary of the feedback is included on and adaptations to the strategy following party consultation have been highlighted in the Cultural Framework in red.


            Consultation with the Arts and Heritage Sectors


2.3       Officers undertook a series of workshops with the arts and heritage sectors, which identified some of the challenges they face, including:


-     The relationship with the Council was generally  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


St. Georges Market pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:


Strategic Review


            The Director provided an overview of the success of St. George’s Market since it had re-opened after renovation in 1999.  He reminded Members that the City and its economy had undergone significant changes within that period which had seen the Market increase in popularity as a community facility and tourist attraction. However, he pointed out that the current economic situation posed a number of challenges to the Council and the Market and, as such, it would be prudent for the Council to undertake a strategic review of St. George’s Market to enable it to continue to maintain its position as a major attraction in the City. 


            The Director outlined the aims of such a study which included repositioning the Market as a shopping and entertainment venue; addressing the scope for additional trading; identifying traders’ and customers’ future needs; considering the future marketing and promotion of the site; and addressing issues such as parking and access on a longer-term basis.  He indicated that the cost of carrying out the research would be in the region of £30,000 and he requested that the Committee authorise the undertaking of the research as outlined. 


            After discussion, the Committee agreed that a tendering exercise would be initiated to procure consultants to carry out the review as outlined and that the Director be authorised to award the tender under the powers which had been delegated to him under the Scheme of Delegation.



Real Deal Charter


            The Committee was informed that the ‘Real Deal’ National Charter was a scheme which had been introduced across the United Kingdom in an attempt to regulate and protect the reputation of markets as safe shopping environments. The main aims of the charter were to prevent the selling of counterfeit goods and other illegal products which would undermine the public perception of a market. In addition, the charter sought to protect the interests of legitimate traders and promote the concept of fair trade. The Director reported that the traders at St. George’s Market were seeking the Council’s support to join the scheme which would permit the Council to display the ‘Real Deal’ logo which would act as an assurance to the general public.


            The Committee agreed that a sum of £3,000 be allocated to enable St. George’s Market to sign up to the ‘Real Deal’ National Charter and to assist with the costs associated with a public launch of the initiative.



Gilpin's Site at Sandy Row - Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 147 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 24th January, it had agreed to contribute a sum of £10,000 for the undertaking, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, of a feasibility study and economic appraisal at the site of the former Gilpin’s Shop, Sandy Row.  The Director outlined the principal aspects of a draft terms of reference which had been formulated for a feasibility study and reviewed the aims, objectives and guiding principles which would oversee the proposed study. The Director requested that the Committee consider endorsing the terms of reference and consider appointing representatives to a steering group which would oversee the initial study at the site.


            After discussion, during which the Committee endorsed the terms of reference for the feasibility study, it was agreed that the steering group would consist of the following:


·         One officer from the Council, the Department for Social Development and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive;


·         One representative from Belfast South Community Resources, the Sandy Row Community Forum and the South West Belfast Neighbourhood Partnership; and


Each of the Elected Members for the Laganbank District Electoral Area and Alderman Stoker.


TEDx Belfast 2012 pdf icon PDF 66 KB


            The Director informed the Committee that a request for financial assistance had been received from the Technology, Entertainment and Design organisation viz., TEDx. He outlined the principal aims of the organisation which sought to engage with local communities, organisations and individuals to stimulate discussion and learning in the fields of technology, the arts, politics, education, science and the voluntary sector.


            He reported that the organisation would be holding a seminar in Titanic Belfast on 6th June entitled ‘Titanic Ideas’. He outlined the range of bodies, agencies and speakers who would be partaking in the event and the benefits which the Council would accrue should it agree to provide sponsorship. He added that the subjects for discussion at the event would be pertinent to economic and community development in Belfast and would complement the Council’s State of the City initiative. 


            The Committee agreed to provide funding in the sum of £3,000 to the event.



Research Proposals - Impact of Anchor Institutions pdf icon PDF 76 KB


            The Committee considered a report which proposed the undertaking of a piece of research which would provide an insight into the various anchor institutions throughout Belfast.  The Director reported that anchor institutions were organisations such as universities, hospitals, museums, libraries, churches and other large corporations which provided significant employment and expenditure within the local economy.  The Director reminded the Members that the University of Ulster was due to relocated to the inner north area of the City and this move would have a wider impact on the economy of the City.  Accordingly, the Director indicated that it would be prudent to undertake a study on the potential impact of the University’s relocation on the other major institutions within the City. He added that such research would enable the Council to identify opportunities to maximise the benefits which would accrue through the relocation of such a major anchor institution as the University to the City. 


            After discussion, during which the Director assured the Members that the scope of the study would consider the full range of anchor institutions in the City – including The Queen’s University of Belfast and Belfast Harbour - the Committee agreed to the undertaking of the research as outlined at a cost not exceeding £25,000.



European Day of Languages and Opportunity Europe pdf icon PDF 69 KB


            The Committee noted the contents of a report which provided an update on the work of the European Unit together with the Opportunity Europe programme and agreed that the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, or their nominees, would represent the Committee at the European Day of Languages in the City Hall on 26th September, and at the official opening of the Opportunity Europe programme in St. George’s Market on 16th October.



Request for Funding - 'The Pipes are Calling' pdf icon PDF 68 KB

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            (Mr. G. Copeland, City Events Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee deferred, until its meeting on 12th June, consideration of a report in respect of a request by Co-operation Ireland for financial support in the sum of £25,000 to assist in the staging of an event entitled ‘The Pipes are Calling’, which would take place at the Odyssey Complex in September. It was noted that this would enable further information to be obtained regarding the draft programme and clarification on the level of financial contributions which had been committed by other bodies and agencies towards the event.


Conference Subvention Update pdf icon PDF 89 KB


            The Head of Economic Initiatives reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 10th September, 2010, it had endorsed a three-year Conference Subvention Scheme which had been developed in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau. She provided an overview of the scheme and outlined the range of conferences which had received support from the Council during 2011/2012, together with the estimated economic value which such events had brought to the City.  She reported that a total fund of £70,000 per annum had been included within the Council’s budgets to oversee the scheme, which was due to end on 31st March, 2015.


            The Head of Economic Initiatives pointed out that, given the considerable amount of time between subvention approvals and the actual holding of conferences, the current timescale for the scheme presented a difficulty in that the Council could not support conferences taking place after 31st March, 2015. Therefore she requested that the Committee consider extending the duration of the current policy for a further three-year term commencing on 1st April, 2015 and ending on 31st March, 2018.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Development and Outreach Funding pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:


            (Councillor Reynolds left the room whilst this item was under discussion.)


            The Head of Economic Initiatives reminded the Committee that the Council’s Development and Outreach Initiative Grant Scheme had been designed to build capacity and to enable cultural activities to take place within communities considered to have a weak culture and arts infrastructure.  She advised the Members that a budget of £165,000 had been established for the 2011/2012 financial year. However, the Council had received twenty-four applications for assistance which had totalled £443,057 and, due to the high standard of submissions, only those projects achieving over 63% in the scoring matrix, that is, 12 out of the 24 applicants, had been recommended for assistance.


            Accordingly, following the application and assessment process, she recommended that the following awards be made:



Total Score


Amount Requested



North Belfast Interface Network




Youth Action Northern Ireland




Beat Initiative




Golden Thread Gallery




New Lodge Arts




DU Dance




Flax Art Studios




Cliftonville Regeneration Forum




Streetwise Community Circus




Primecut Productions




Beyond Skin




Open Arts




ArtsEkta Ltd




Creative Exchange




Small Steps




Workers Educational Association




Arts For All




Queens Film Theatre




Possibilities NI








Black Box Trust




Glentoran Partnership




Ligoniel Improvement Association




Polish Association NI









            After discussion, during which the Head of Economic Initiatives undertook to consider a number of minor amendments to the eligibility criteria, the Committee adopted the recommendations.


Council Youth Forum pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted the contents of a report which provided an overview of the work of the Council’s Youth Forum. In addition, the Committee authorised the recruitment of a new Youth Forum in September and endorsed a framework for a future programme of work at a cost not exceeding £50,000 per annum.



Community Development Infrastructure Programme pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


1         Relevant Background Information


1.1       At its December 2012 Committee agreed that council officers should continue discussions with the Belfast Regeneration Office (BRO) and the Voluntary and Community Unit (VCU) in DSD towards the establishment of a new strategic programme to support a resilient and effective community development infrastructure across the city (referred to in this paper as the ‘Community Development Infrastructure Programme’ or CDIP).


1.2       The CDIP is one of the commitments of the council’s Investment Programme. It is also one element of a wider agenda relating to the transfer of functions from Government Departments to Belfast City Council under the Review of Public Administration. It will thus be important to ensure that the work undertaken as part of the CDIP is aligned to this broader agenda.


1.3       There are three main drivers for the new programme:


(i)            Supporting strategic community development activity: Currently public sector grant support for community development is somewhat uncoordinated and lacking in strategic focus. It is diluted by disconnected aims and deliverables and its impact has been extremely difficult to measure. A single shared programme presents an opportunity to support a process whereby statutory partners can work with the community and voluntary sectors to agree on a shared vision, strategic outcomes and the necessary shared infrastructure, programmes and initiatives required to deliver them.


(ii)          Efficiency savings: In the current financial climate there is an increased emphasis on community development and self-help solutions and a need for a well structured and skilled sector with the necessary resources to tackle social and economic exclusion. The various existing community development funding strands have substantial associated administrative overheads both for funders and for grant recipients. There are likely to be inefficiencies in the many parallel application processes and monitoring and evaluation systems. A single programme has the potential to address many of these issues. Such work also addresses one of the priorities of the new Joint Public Sector Forum which, as part of the Government’s Concordat with the sector, will be tackling issues of bureaucracy in the relationship between the public and community and voluntary sectors.


(iii)         Learning for the Review of Public Administration: The transfer of local community development responsibilities is one of the first such functions to be transferred planned under the Review of Public Administration. This is an opportunity for the council and DSD to test many of the practical issues related to such transfers including issues around staffing, audit systems integration, governance arrangements, etc.


2          Key Issues


            It is proposed that the CDIP will draw together eight existing funding streams including:


-           all of BRO’s funding for community development under the Neighbourhood Renewal programme;


-           the Voluntary and Community Unit’s Community Investment Fund to groups in the city; 


-           Belfast City Council’s funding under the Community Support Programme - which includes our Capacity Grant programme, Revenue funding for community facilities, and funding for the city’s Advice and Information consortia and our small grant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Research Proposal - Welfare Reform Act pdf icon PDF 75 KB


            The Director reminded the Committee that the Welfare Reform Act had come into force in March, 2012 and that the amendments implemented by it represented one of the most significant overhauls of the Welfare System since 1948.  He outlined the principal changes which had been enacted through the legislation and how such amendments would impact on the City and its ratepayers, particularly those from areas of greatest socio-economic need. He pointed out that the community and voluntary sectors throughout the City would be affected adversely by the reforms and as such it would be prudent for the Council to undertake research into how its relationships with these groups would be impacted upon by the Act. He outlined the key aims and objectives of the research and how this would enable service provision to be maintained in light of the Act. The research would enable also the Council to devise a risk management strategy to address the challenges posed to it in delivering value for money services in future years.


            The Committee agreed to authorise expenditure in the sum of £25,000 for the carrying out of the research as outlined.



Cairn Lodge Amateur Boxing Club pdf icon PDF 65 KB


            The Committee was reminded that the Cairn Lodge Amateur Boxing Club had been based in the Council’s Hammer Community Centre for approximately 13 years. The Director reported that, in 1994 and 1998, the Council had purchased two boxing rings for the club which were still in use. The Committee was advised that a request to transfer ownership of the rings to the club had been received and the Director indicated that such a move would be cost effective, given the ongoing maintenance costs incurred by the Council. He added that there existed no legal impediment to transferring ownership of the rings to the club.


            The Committee agreed that ownership of both rings would be transferred to the Cairn Lodge Amateur Boxing Club, subject to the drafting of an appropriate legal agreement between the Council and the club.



Great Belfast Restaurant Week pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director reminded the Committee that the Council had over the past years worked in conjunction with the restaurant sector to promote a range of initiatives aimed at encouraging people to eat out within the City. He reported that representatives from restaurants throughout Belfast had met with Elected Members and Council officials to discuss the feasibility of the City hosting a ‘Great Belfast Restaurant Week’ during October 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Director reported that the aim of the week-long event would be to develop the City’s tourist product, increase trade and to showcase the best of local culinary skill and fresh produce.


            The Committee was advised that the costs associated with promoting and delivering such a high-profile initiative would be in the region of £30,000 to £50,000. The Director pointed out that a sum of £20,000 had been set aside within the Department’s budget for 2012/2013 to promote events such as the ‘Great Belfast Restaurant Week’ and that the remaining costs would be sought from a wide range of bodies and agencies, as well as the restaurants partaking in the event. 


            The Committee agreed to support the holding of the ‘Great Belfast Restaurant Week’ for a three-year period commencing in 2012 and agreed also that a sum of £20,000 be allocated towards the holding of the event in 2012, subject to the Council securing adequate additional funding from other agencies and the private sector.



Northern Ireland Tourist Board - Gala Awards


            The Chairman informed the Committee that Belfast Music Week had won the Best Event category at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Gala Awards which had been held in the Grand Opera House the previous evening. He added that the City Dressing Campaign had been highly commended at the event.


            The Committee agreed that its congratulations be conveyed to all Council officers involved in both initiatives.