Overview of the Bill
1 The Bill would:
● Extend the period provided in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 for Northern Ireland Ministers to be appointed until the 26 March 2019 with the possibility to extend that period for up to 5 months with the agreement of Parliament,
● Clarify that a senior officer of a Northern Ireland department is not prevented from exercising a function of the department during the period for forming an Executive if they are satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so,
● Require the Secretary of State to provide guidance to Northern Ireland Departments about the exercise of those functions,
● Enable the Secretary of State and the Lord Chancellor to exercise appointment functions normally exercised by Northern Ireland Ministers in relation to specified offices, and enable by regulations further such functions to be exercised by UK Ministers,
● Replace the requirement for UK Ministers to consult, or obtain the approval of, Northern Ireland Ministers or the Executive Committee before exercising appointment functions with a requirement to consult the relevant Northern Ireland department, and
● Enable the Secretary of State to exercise any appointment function of a Northern Ireland Minister that is exercisable jointly with other persons who include the Secretary of State, following consultation with the relevant Northern Ireland department.