Devolution and democracy in Northern Ireland – dealing with the deficit Contents

Annex 1: Impact of an absent Executive

Table 1: Examples of problems given by those who submitted evidence

Project / Area

Problem

Economy and Business

Industrial Strategy1

Consultation closed 25 April 2017, no Executive to consider.

Small Business Rates Relief2

Report on the 2016 consultation exercise has not been published.

Setting Regional Rates3

Delay disrupted the annual cash flow of small businesses.

Apprenticeship Levy4

Consultation closed 23 December 2016. Funding not being redirected into skills training.

Securing our Success: Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships5

Not fully implemented before collapse.

Better Regulation: An Action Plan for Reform6

Not been fully progressed.

Gender Pay Reporting Requirement7

Power contained in Employment (NI) Act 2016, but not subject to usual scrutiny. Regulations were intended to follow and be subject to consultation, but this has not happened.

Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill8

At committee stage prior to collapse.

Entertainment Licensing Legislation 9

Entertainment Licensing Review Group made recommendations which were in development.

Building a Prosperous and United Community 10

Joint NI Executive/UK Government initiative not been able to continue progressing.

Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol (MUP)11

NI Assembly and the Irish Government planned to introduce in conjunction, following a consultation in Northern Ireland, which has not been held.

Hunter Review in Tourism 12

10 recommendations not yet implemented.

Tourism Strategy 13

Draft developed by Tourism Northern Ireland and presented to the Department of the Economy.

Tourism VAT 14

Consultation now launched by UK Government. If this is then devolved by UK Government, implementation would stall.

Air Passenger Duty 15

Consultation now launched by UK Government. If this is then devolved by UK Government, implementation would stall.

Fisheries

Kilkeel Harbour development 16

The lack of a Minister has caused plans for Kilkeel Harbour to halt.

Construction

York Street Interchange 17

Project paused due to legal challenge. Substantial scheme which would usually have ministerial accountability.

North South Interconnector 18

Planning permission granted following independent report prepared by Planning Appeals Commission. Decision made by civil service in absence of Minister as in public interest.

Maintenance work 19

No Minister to decide how to apportion budgetary spend outside of capital/flagship projects.

Skills shortage in sector20

Skills shortage has been identified and was a subject of a panel event with MLAs just before the collapse.

New Capital projects 21

In absence of Minister, zero-based approach taken. No Capital funding is assumed and capital projects funded on a priority basis existing contractual, health and safety and Executive commitments being funded first.

A5 scheme 22

Project paused due to legal challenge. Substantial scheme which would usually have ministerial accountability.

Belfast Streets Ahead 23

Phase 3 Procurement was suspended in August due to absence of Ministerial or Executive endorsement

School Enhancement Programme 2021/22 24

Next phase delayed.

Strule Shared Education Campus 25

Now funded from Capital pot from Department. Now has affordability risk. Procurement since suspended.

School building schemes 26

10 schemes currently at design or feasibility stage not pursued.

Tender prices increasing 27

Projects stalling as, due to the fall in the pound, prices have now become higher than original estimates.

Housing shortfall 28

Addressing shortfall in new build homes require policy interventions.

Justice

Access to Justice 1 and 2 report 29

Reform programmes completed including consultation. Minister was considering proposals when Assembly fell.

Gillen Review of Civil and Family Justice 30

Review completed. Ministers were considering recommendations.

Legal aid 31

Minister was planning to bring forward an updated strategy for legal aid

Policing

Policing Board

Not currently properly constituted as MLA members require Ministerial appointment. Number of statutory functions cannot be fulfilled. See paragraphs 126–130

Education

Domestic abuse offence 32

Already exists in England & Wales under the Serious Crime Act 2015. Department of Justice had developed new legislation which was waiting Executive endorsement.

Personal Injury Discount Rate 33

Joint consultation with Scotland and UK Governments on whether to reduce was published 30 March 2017. The rest of the UK has reduced the rate to 0.75%, while it remains at 2.5%, In Northern Ireland.

Legal Aid in the Family Courts 34

New standardised fee structure proposed, with Minister finalising proposals when Assembly fell.

Northern Ireland Graduate Entry Medical School 35

Ulster University had cross-community support to build new medical school to address recruitment shortage. Waiting approval on business plan.

Education sector 36

Sector unsustainable, with 80% schools indicating that they will not be able to live within their budget allocations for 2017/18. In need of transformation.

Health and social care

Cancer services 37

Current strategy urgently needs review, with waiting times worst in the UK.

Bureaucracy in social work 38

Audit to establish the number of unpaid hours worked by staff needed.

Multidisciplinary Primary Care Teams 39

Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee launched inquiry which has since been paused.

Social work workload 40

Department of Health Workforce Strategy Steering Group developing strategic policy.

Universal Credit “Rape Clause” 41

Two-child limit on claiming universal credit unless a woman can show she was raped was passed in Westminster during this collapse. In NI, it is also an offence to not report a crime. At the time, both Sinn Féin and the DUP spoke out against the policy.

Adoption and Children Bill 42

The Department of Health had also consulted on the draft Adoption and Children (Northern Ireland) Bill, to bring the legal framework into line with Scotland, England and Wales.

Power to People: proposals to reboot adult care and support in NI Report 43

Published in December 2017. They recommended an urgent radical overhaul of the system.

Abortion (Fatal Foetal Abnormality) Bill 44

Introduced to Assembly (first stage). Bill fell at collapse.

Environment and Energy

Environmental NGOs 45

Difficult to plan organisational budgets and work programmes.

Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017. 46

Consultation on draft version closed on 9 February 2017.

NI Renewables Obligation 47

Closure of the scheme in April 2017 has left a policy gap.

Renewable Energy Development 48

Minister-ordered research conducted, but unable to translate this work into new policies.

Sustainable Development in the Countryside 49

Minister-ordered research conducted, but unable to translate this work into new policies.

NI Environmental Agency 50

Minister signalled intention to appoint independent members to the NI Environment Agency Board but had not happened at the time of collapse.

Living with Water programme 51

Implementation action plan for long-term strategy not being progressed.

Air Quality 52

New legislative strategy being consulted upon.

Fuel Poverty 53

Affordable Warmth Scheme public consultation ended Feb 2018.

Energy efficiency 54

Policy developments, e.g. EnergyWise have stalled.

Incinerator in Mallusk 55

A High Court ruling has determined that civil servants do not have the power to approve planning for the waste incinerator and that the decision must be made by a Minister. This could have a significant impact on other projects.

Legacy

Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition 56

Due to report in Autumn but without Executive it will be unable to progress.

Inquests 57

In February 2016, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland set out a 5-year plan for the delivery of legacy inquests. Executive has not implemented and Assembly has not endorsed.

Public and community sector

Public sector pay 58

Delay in making awards.

Community Relations Council 59

Requires annual business plan not be approved.

Short-termism 60

Projects limited to reacting to current issues. Longer term decisions unable to be made.

NI Social Value Act 61

Only administration in UK without a similar Act which address procurement processes. Finance Minister had pledged to bring Act forward to the Assembly.

Local Government (NI) Act 2014 62

Secondary legislation required under s.127 incomplete. This means many sections of the Act have not taken effect, e.g. Local Government (Standing Orders) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 have not been agreed

Local Government Partnership Panel 63

Panel composed of local and central government representatives. Not meeting as no Ministers to join.

Civil marriage equality 64

Arguments for reform discussed in Assembly and subject of disagreement in talks. Matter to be raised in Westminster

Governance

Delivery Plans (PfG) 65

Consultation reports produced but not actioned.

Northern Ireland Audit Office 66

No Public Accounts Committee in Stormont to scrutinise audit reports.

Source: Evidence submitted to this Committee. See publications page on the Committee’s website


1 Department for the Economy (NI) Industrial Strategy for Northern Ireland 25 April 2017

2 Department of Finance (NI) Small Business Rate Relief - Discussion Paper 13 May 2016

3 Department of Finance (NI Latest developments in rating policy

4 Department for the Economy (NI) Apprenticeship Levy 23 December 2016

5 Department for the Economy (NI) Securing our Success - the Northern Ireland strategy on apprenticeships 24 June 2014, due September 2017: NI Assembly Minister for Employment and Learning 9 Feb 2016

6 Department for the Economy (NI) Better Regulation: An Action Plan for Reform 25 March 2016

7 NI Assembly Minister for Employment and Learning 1 Mar 2016

8 Primary Legislation - Bills that fell due to the dissolution of the Assembly Northern Ireland Assembly accessed 23 March 2018

9 Department for Communities (NI) Entertainment Licensing Review: Synopsis 1 February 2016 NI Assembly Minister for Environment 26 Jan 2016

10 Northern Ireland Executive Building a Prosperous and United Community 14 June 2013; Northern Ireland Office Building a Prosperous and United Community: 2016 Progress Report March 2016

11 Alcohol Action Ireland Minimum Pricing accessed 23 March 2018

12 Department of the Economy (NI) Tourism accessed 23 March 2018

13 Department of the Economy (NI) Tourism accessed 23 March 2018

16 Oral evidence: Brexit and Northern Ireland: Fisheries, HC 878, Q121

17 Department for Infrastructure York Street Interchange 28 June 2017

18 Department for Infrastructure Planning permission granted for North South electricity interconnector 23 January 2018

19 Northern Ireland Department of Finance, Briefing on Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018–20, 18 December 2017 p.103

20 Federation of Master Builders, Apprenticeships and Skills accessed 23 March 2018; Construction Industry Training Board NI, Skills’ crisis the subject of Stormont event 4 November 2016

21 Northern Ireland Department of Finance, Briefing on Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018–20, 18 December 2017 p.127

22 A5 Scheme Update January 2018, A5 WTC accessed 23 March 2018

23 Stormont deadlock ‘puts construction jobs at risk’ BBC News 1 November 2017, Construction Employers’ Federation (DDD0001), (DDD0034)

24 Department of Education School Enhancement Programme - Second Call Protocol for selection 25 January 2017; Northern Ireland Department of Finance, Briefing on Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018–20, 18 December 2017 p.119

25 Northern Ireland Department of Finance, Briefing on Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018–20, 18 December 2017 p.120

26 NI Assembly Written Ministerial Statement, Minister of Education, 15 March 2016

27 Construction Employers’ Federation (DDD0001), (DDD0034)

28 Northern Ireland Department of Finance, Briefing on Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018–20, 18 December 2017 p.27; Northern Ireland Executive4 Delivery Plan: Indicators 8 and 48 9 December 2016

29 NI Assembly Claire Sugden MLA 17 January 2017

30 NI Assembly Claire Sugden MLA 17 January 2017

31 NI Assembly Claire Sugden MLA 17 January 2017

33 Ministry of Justice Damages Act 1996: the discount rate: review of the legal framework 30 March 2017

34 NI Assembly Claire Sugden MLA 17 January 2017

36 Education Authority (DDD0036)

37 Dr Lesley-Ann Black and Keara McKay Cancer: Northern Ireland Paper 32/17 28 June 2017

38 Northern Ireland Assembly Committee of Health, Official Report: Minutes of Evidence Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers 1 December 2016

39 The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (DDD0005);

40 Northern Ireland Assembly Committee of Health, Official Report: Minutes of Evidence Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers 1 December 2016

41 The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (DDD0005); The Guardian Labour sounds alarm over rollout of universal credit rape clause into N Ireland 23 July 2017

43 Expert Advisory Panel Report, Power to People: proposals to reboot adult care and support in NI 11 December 2017

45 NIEL Brexit Coalition (DDD0014)

47 Department for the Economy Onshore Renewable Electricity Action Plan publication 22 January 2018

48 Department for Infrastructure, Hazzard announces planning review on renewable energy and countryside development Date published: 27 September 2016

49 Department for Infrastructure, Hazzard announces planning review on renewable energy and countryside development Date published: 27 September 2016

50 NI Assembly Michelle McIlveen 25 October 2016

51 Department for Infrastructure Long-term Water Strategy - Implementation action plan 22 November 2017

52 Northern Ireland Assembly Oral Answers to Questions Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, 5th December 2016.

53 Department for Consultation Changes to the Affordable Warmth Scheme 16 February 2018

54 Department for the Economy The EnergyWise Scheme consultation closed May 2016

57 Northern Ireland Assembly Ending All Forms of Paramilitarism—Legacy Inquests 8 November 2016

58 Department of Finance, 2017 pay bulletin 1/2017 25 September 2017

59 Community Relations Council, Governance, accessed 26 March 2018

60 Community Relations Council Written Evidence (DDD0039)

61 Bryson Charitable Group One Step Closer to Social Value Act in Northern Ireland 30 November 2016

62 Northern Ireland Assembly Local Government (Standing Orders) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 24 February 2015; Northern Ireland Assembly Local Government Regulations Oral Answers to Questions (Environment) 9 March 2015

63 Local Government (NI) Act 2014 section 103; Northern Ireland Local Government Association Minutes of Partnership Panel Meeting 12 October 2016

64 UK Parliament What’s On in Parliament accessed 26 March 2018

65 Northern Ireland Executive Programme for Government Delivery Plans 20 October 2016

66 Letter from National Audit Office




Published: 22 May 2018