Calls for Evidence - getting your views

Northern Ireland Assembly Committees examine Bills put forward by Government departments and hold inquiries on issues that are important to everyone in Northern Ireland. The Committees want to hear your views to help them make their decisions about laws for Northern Ireland. They do this through a 'Call for Evidence' – a formal gathering of views.

An Assembly Committee might decide to hold an inquiry on a particular topic. The Committee will gather views on the issue and write a report on its findings. The report is discussed by MLAs at the Assembly and is sent to the relevant Department. Committees also gather views on Bills developed by individual MLAs, called Private Members' Bills. Committees are specifically interested in the wording of the Bill and whether anything is missing from it.

Current Calls for Evidence

Northern Ireland Assembly Committees are currently gathering views on the following:

Review of the Public Petitions Procedures

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Procedures is undertaking a Review of the Public Petitions Procedures in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The aim of the review is to examine the effectiveness of current procedures and to consider if a revised system of public petitions should be introduced to the Assembly. Click here for further information. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 18 December 2014.

Inquiry into Building a United Community

The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister is undertaking an Inquiry into Building a United Community. Any organisation or individual with an interest in this inquiry is invited to submit written evidence to inform the Committee’s position on the issues set out in the Terms of Reference. If possible, submissions should be sent electronically by emailing the Committee Clerk at committee.ofmdfm@niassembly.gov.uk. Any queries should be directed to the above email address or telephone 028 9052 1903. The closing date for written submissions is noon on Friday 10 October 2014.

Previous Calls for Evidence

Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill - Committee Stage (deadline for submissions - 21 August 2014)

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 May 2014 and received its Second Reading on 27 May 2014. The Bill has now been referred to the Committee for the Environment which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. Click here for further information.

Work and Families Bill - Committee Stage (deadline for submissions - 23 June 2014)

The Work and Families Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 28 April 2014 and received its Second Reading on 12 May 2014. The Bill has now been referred to the Committee for Employment and Learning which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. Click here for further information.

Inquiry into Post Special Educational Need Provision in Education, Employment and Training for those with Learning Disabilities (deadline for submissions - 30 June 2014)

The Committee for Employment and Learning is undertaking an inquiry into post Special Educational Need (SEN) Provision in education, employment and training for those with Learning Disabilities in Northern Ireland. Click here for further information.

Review of the Assembly’s Code of Conduct (closed 16 May 2014)

The Assembly’s Committee on Standards and Privileges is reviewing the Assembly’s Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members.  If you have an opinion on what rules should apply to MLAs then we would like to hear from you. Click here for further information.

Legal Aid and Coroners' Courts Bill - Committee Stage (closed 25 April 2014)

The Legal Aid and Coroners' Courts Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 31 March 2014 and has now been referred to the Committee for Justice which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. Click here for further information.

Inquiry into Wind Energy (closed 28 February 2014)

The Committee for the Environment initially agreed on 10 October 2013 to carry out a short Review of wind energy issues after hearing from a range of stakeholders over recent months. The Committee subsequently agreed that it would not complete this Review but that it would instead carry out a full inquiry into this topic. Click here for further information.

Review of Topical Questions (closed 24 February 2014)

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Procedures is undertaking a Review of Topical Questions which were introduced as part of Question Time in September 2013. Click here for more information and to find out how to submit evidence.

Review of the Business Week of the Northern Ireland Assembly (closed 3 December 2013)

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Procedures is undertaking a Review of the Business Week of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Click here for further information.

Local Government Bill (closed 12 November 2013)

The Local Government Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 23 September 2013 and received its Second Reading on 1 October 2013. The Bill has now been referred to the Committee for the Environment which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. Click here for further information.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill (closed 1 November 2013)

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill has now been referred to the Justice Committee which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Click here for further information.

Licensing of Pavement Cafes Bill (closed 13 September 2013)

The Licensing of Pavement Cafés Bill has now been referred to the Committee for Social Development which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Click here for further information. 

Public Service Pensions Bill (closed 30 August 2013)

The Public Service Pensions Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday, 17 June 2013 and has now been referred to the Committee for Finance and Personnel for Committee Stage. The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Click here for further information. 

Carrier Bags Bill (closed 15 August 2013)

The Carrier Bags Bill has now been referred to the Committee for the Environment which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill. The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Click here for further information. Please note the deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 August 2013.

Tobacco Retailers Bill - (Closed 17 May 2013)

The Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety wishes to hear views from all interested parties on the Tobacco Retailers Bill in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Click here for further information.  

Inquiry into Attorney General (NI) participation in proceedings of the Assembly - (Closed 9 May 2013)

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee on Procedures is holding an Inquiry into the extent to which Standing Orders should permit the Attorney General for Northern Ireland (AGNI) to participate in proceedings of the Assembly. Click here for further information. 

Inquiry into Flexible Working in the public sector in Northern Ireland - (Closed 5 April 2013)

The Committee for Finance and Personnel held an Inquiry into Flexible Working in the public sector in Northern Ireland. Click here for further information. 

Review of D'Hondt; Community Designation and Provisions for Opposition (Closed 27 March 2013)

The Assembly and Executive Review Committee will review d’Hondt, community designation, and the provisions for Opposition Parties/Non-Executive Parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly to assist them in holding the Executive to account, guaranteeing safeguards and protections to ensure that the institutions operate on an inclusive and power-sharing basis.

The Committee for Regional Development wants to hear your views (Closed 18 January 2013)

The Committee held an Inquiry into Comprehensive Transport Delivery Structures
Please click here for full details on the inquiry and how to respond, or call the Committee Office on 028 9052 1440.

Inquiry into Criminal Justice Services available to Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Northern Ireland

The Committee for Justice held an inquiry to learn about the experiences of people who have either been a victim of, or witness to crime – from dealings with the police, to the quality of information and support provided, and the handling of cases by the Courts Service.  The Committee wants to make sure the system responds to the needs of victims and treats them with sensitivity and respect.

Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements, Welfare Reform Bill call for written submissions (Closed 11 December 2012)

The Ad Hoc Committee agreed at its meeting on Monday 26th November that it was content to receive written submissions on the Welfare Reform Bill from interested parties by the 11th December 2012. Find out more...

Committee Stage Of The Education Bill (Closed 16 November 2012)

The Education Bill was introduced into the Assembly on 2 October 2012. It is anticipated that the Bill will undertake its Second Stage on 15 October 2012 with the Committee Stage commencing immediately thereafter.

In order to inform the Committee Stage of the Bill, the Committee for Education would welcome your views/comments on the contents of the Bill.

Click here for more information and to find out how to submit your evidence to the Committee.

Civil Service (Special Advisers Bill) - Call for Evidence (closed 26 October 2012)

The Civil Service (Special Advisers) Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 2 July 2012 and received its Second Reading on 25 September 2012. The Bill has been referred to the Committee for Finance and Personnel for Committee Stage. Click here for further information.

Welfare Reform Bill - Call for Evidence (Closed 19 October 2012)

The Welfare Reform Bill is part of the on-going process of welfare reform and modernisation of the benefit system.

The major proposal for reform is the introduction of a new benefit, to be known as universal credit, which will replace existing in and out of work benefits.

Click here for more information and to find out how to submit your evidence to the Committee.

Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Northern Ireland

The purpose of the Inquiry is to identify areas where the CEIAG strategy for Northern Ireland is failing to meet the needs of target groups such as school age pupils, young people, the unemployed and those living in rural and urban areas. Find out more...

Criminal Justice Bill

The Criminal Justice Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 25 June 2012 and has now been referred to the Committee for Justice. The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill. Find out more...

Inquiry into the better use of public and community sector funds for the delivery of bus transport in Northern Ireland - closes 14 September 2012

The Committee for Regional Development is holding an inquiry into the better use of public and community sector funds for the delivery of bus transport in Northern Ireland and would like to hear from you. Find out more...

Charities Bill - closes 28 September 2012

The Bill provides for the transfer of functions which still remain within the Department’s jurisdiction, to that of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Any organisation or individual with an interest in this consultation is invited to submit evidence. Find out more...

Business Improvement Districts Bill – closes 21 September 2012

The Business Improvement Districts Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 25 June 2012 and will receive its Second Reading in the autumn of 2012.  Subject to approval by the Assembly at Second Stage the Bill will then be referred to the Committee for Social Development which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill.

The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill.

Further information can be found here.

Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill

The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister is undertaking an inquiry into the Bill and would like to hear your views.

Maximising the Assembly's Contribution to the Northern Ireland Budget Process

The Committee for Finance and Personnel is calling for responses to their Budget Scrutiny Discussion Paper.

Review of Judicial Appointments in Northern Ireland - closed 30 April 2012

The Committee for Justice is currently undertaking a "Review of Judicial Appointments in Northern Ireland".

Inquiry into School Councils

The Committee for Education is currently gathering evidence from schools about the role of School Councils. It will examine the experience, operation and contribution of School Councils in Northern Ireland, with a view to identifying ways to support and enhance their work.

Pensions Bill - closed 20 February 2012

The Pensions Bill was formally introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 23 January 2012 and received its Second Reading on 31 January 2012. The Bill has now been referred to the Committee for Social Development which has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill.

The Committee therefore wishes to hear views from all interested parties in order to assist it with the scrutiny of the Bill.

Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland - closed 16 March 2012

The Committee for Regional Development is holding an inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland and would like to hear from you.

Inquiry into the Creative Industries - Closed Tuesday 20 December

The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure has launched an Inquiry into how to maximise the potential of the creative industries to benefit the local economy and job market. 

The Committee wants to look at the support that the industries receive and what needs to be done to advance Northern Ireland as a region of creative excellence.

Inquiry into Developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research & Development
Closed Friday 16th December

Northern Ireland has one of the lowest spends on research and development compared to other regions in the UK. The Committee wants to look at how the Northern Ireland economy can be developed by improving our performance in relation to innovation, research and development.

Inquiry into Used Tyre Disposal

The Committee for the Environment is holding an Inquiry into Used Tyre Disposal.
The aim of the Inquiry is to examine the current approach to the management of used tyres in Northern Ireland. The Committee wishes to examine the current audit trail for managing tyres from purchase through to disposal, compare with approaches used elsewhere (GB/ROI) and make recommendations to enhance the transparency and robustness of the processes in NI.

Calls for Evidence Explained

How to find out about Calls for Evidence

When a Committee wants to hear your views on an issue or a Bill it will place a notice in the daily papers (Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and Newsletter). We will also add it to this page on our website, the relevant Committee page, send a tweet and post a message on Facebook.

How to respond to a Call for Evidence

You must respond to a Call for Evidence by a specific date – the date will always be included in the notice in the paper and on our website. We will also tell you who to send your evidence to, and where.

Government Bills are often very long so it is important to tell us which part of a Bill you are writing about. You should also refer to an inquiry's Terms of Reference when drafting your reply. To help you we have included an example of a written submission for a Committee Inquiry (PDF) and a written submission on a Bill (PDF).

What happens to your evidence

All views and evidence received is collated by the Clerk to the Committee and given to each Member of the Committee. It is reviewed and discussed at a Committee meeting. If the Committee decides it wants to get more information it may write to you and ask you to come to a Committee meeting and talk to them (giving oral evidence). Once the Committee is satisfied it has all the information it needs it will write a report. This will include all written and oral evidence received by the Committee. The report will set out what the Committee thinks the relevant government Department needs to do. In most instances the report will be discussed by MLAs in the Assembly Chamber (Plenary). The Government Department often decides to accept the Committee’s recommendations.

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