Research Publications 2014

Synopsis The Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service (RaISe) produces a number of Research publications each year. These cover a variety of topics which are of interest to Members, Committees and the general public.






Women and sport: A summary of potential issues
This paper examines current participation levels of women in sport and physical activity in both Northern Ireland and elsewhere. It summarises the nature of current strategies and policies around this issue, before suggesting a number of potential issues for further consideration.


Substance Misuse
Background briefing jointly prepared by the Research and Information Service (RaISe) of the Northern Ireland Assembly and by the Library & Research Service (L&RS) of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Tithe an Oireachtais).


Legal Aid and Coroners’ Courts Bill
This paper outlines the main provisions of the Bill and considers what the Bill means for the delivery of legal aid and the Coroners’ Court.


Scottish Universities – Proof of Residence: Update
This paper briefly discusses the proof of residence requirements to be met in order to be considered eligible for free tuition (‘home fees’) as an EU student in Scottish universities.  The paper provides an update to the Briefing Note ‘Scottish Universities – Proof of Residence’, originally published in October 2012.


Models of Support for People with Learning Disabilities Post-Secondary School
This paper provides examples of models of support for individuals with learning disabilities and Special Education Needs (SEN) who have left the education system.


Post-Secondary School Provision for People with Special Education Needs in Northern Ireland
This paper provides a brief introduction to the provision for people in Northern Ireland (NI) with Special Education Needs (SEN) and/or Learning Disabilities (LD) who have left the secondary school system.   This paper is intended as a companion piece to NIAR 936-2013 on International Examples of post-secondary SEN Provision.


Science in the Revised Curriculum
There has been little research carried out to investigate the impact of the revised curriculum on the teaching of science. This paper makes reference to the limited number of studies that have been undertaken in this area. It should be noted that the Education and Training Inspectorate will undertake an evaluation survey of the World Around Us. This will be complete in June 2014.


Defamation in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland
The Committee for Finance and Personnel commissioned background research into the approaches adopted by the Scottish Parliament and the Oireachtas with respect to defamation law. This paper supplements Briefing Paper 90/13 ‘The Defamation Act 2013’ , presented to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on 26 June 2013. The paper considers defamation law in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland in the light of legislative change in England and Wales brought about by the Defamation Act 2013.


Caring for an aging population: TYC proposals
The most radical DHSSPS proposals to change how the health and social care system currently operates is known as Transforming Your Care (TYC). In the original TYC publication (2011), the theme of ‘older people’ was listed as one of ten major areas of care requiring transformation. This paper explores the issues surrounding this theme in more detail.


Framework Programme 7: Per Capita Statistics for 2007-2013
This briefing note is provided in response to a request for further information on European Union (EU) competitive funding in Northern Ireland. It supplements RaISe briefing NIAR 795-13 for the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister.


Call –in: Protection of minorities in divided societies
The following paper is a response to a request from the Environment Committee on call-in procedures in divided societies and the consideration of minorities. The paper explores examples from the UK and internationally in relation to commitments made under the Constitution for Kosovo.


Call-in operation in England and Wales
The Environment Committee requested information on the use of call-in by local authorities in England, with interest in examples of its operation. The following paper refers to reviews of call-in powers conducted for both England and Wales.


Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Councillors
This briefing note is in response to a request for information from the Environment Committee and considers the sanctions available in both England and Wales in relation to breaches of the code of conduct for councillors.


Publication pending


Provisions Contained in the EU Tobacco Products Directive
The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the provisions contained within the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). It assesses the implementation and potential impact on Member-States of the proposed revision to the TPD, whilst offering some context for Northern Ireland’s tobacco industry.


Specialised Grouped Housing for Older People - Introductory Briefing
This briefing paper provides an introduction to the subject of specialist grouped housing for older people, often referred to as sheltered housing.  The focus of this briefing is the policy around, and examples of, this type of housing in Northern Ireland and also the outworkings of the Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI). 


The Scottish Qualification Authority: Quality Assurance and Governance
This briefing note outlines the quality assurance arrangements and governance model adopted by the SQA. It also refers to the separation of awarding and accrediting functions and makes comparison to the system in Northern Ireland.


Parent Councils
This briefing note looks at the Scottish Schools (Parent Involvement) Act 2006 which established a new model of parent representation and came into effect on 1 August 2007. The Act replaced School Boards with Parent Councils, designed to be less formal and friendlier to encourage more parents to get involved school issues.


Language Immersion
This briefing note gives an overview of the immersion systems used as a technique of teaching a second language in the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland. It also makes reference the provisions made to inspect schools which adopt the immersion model.


Complaints Procedures for School Inspections
This paper summarises the processes with respect to school inspections by the Education and Training Inspectorate in Northern Ireland (ETI), Ofsted in England, HM Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn in Wales & the Inspectorate in the Republic of Ireland.


Inspections: Notification and Information
This briefing note outlines the notice period given to schools in advance of an inspection in the various jurisdictions. It also details the information and documents that the respective inspectorates request from schools.


Inspectorate Governance and Budget: England, Scotland and Finland
This paper summarises who has the power to make decisions and how account is rendered with respect to the school inspectorates in England, Scotland and Finland. It also makes reference to the budgetary arrangements for the inspectorates in England and Scotland.


European Funding Streams: Education
This Briefing Note provides an overview of non-competitive & competitive EU funding.


The Reservoirs Bill
This Bill paper provides an overview of the Reservoirs Bill as introduced to the Assembly on the 20th January 2014. The paper also identifies those areas within the Bill which may be contentious and, where relevant, compares similar legislation within England, Scotland and Wales


Human Rights and Equality Proofing of Public Bills
This paper outlines the procedures by which legislation made by the Northern Ireland Assembly is scrutinised on human rights and equality grounds. The paper is written in the context of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee’s (A&ERC) Review of Petitions of Concern.


European Commission Legislative & Non Legislative Proposals Q1 2014
This paper provides spreadsheets detailing European Commission legislative and non-legislative proposals Q1 2014


European Commission Legislative & Non Legislative Proposals Q4 2013
This paper provides spreadsheets detailing European Commission legislative and non-legislative proposals Q4 2013.


Electoral Registration statistics and voting patterns
This Briefing Note reviews voting behaviour in the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections, held on 5 May 2011. In particular, as requested, the note will consider the following three questions:

  1.  The percentage turnout by constituency.
  2.  The percentage of women who voted and / or registered to vote by constituency; and
  3.  The percentage of the population registered as an ethnic minority by constituency (2013)



Waiting Times - Supplementary ‘Issues’ Briefing on the 18 Week RTT Policy in England and Scotland
As waiting time policies for elective care in England and Scotland have been in place for a number of years (particularly in England), this briefing paper takes a look at a range of the issues that have arisen in England and Scotland (and possible lessons to take) from the outworking of the policies in order to further inform the Committee review.


Review of Gender Issues in Northern Ireland
This paper briefly summarises some of the recent developments in Northern Ireland on issues related to gender.


Electricity prices: European comparisons
This paper compares domestic and industrial electricity prices across 32 European countries. The allocation of component costs on a per kilowatt charge basis is also examined.


Power NI: Hedging
The Utility Regulator requires a company to outline its hedging policy in advance in a hedging policy statement. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of this hedging policy statement and to outline the hedging products available to electricity suppliers within the Single Electricity Market (SEM). It has not been possible to provide specific details of Power NI’s historic hedges as this information is commercially sensitive.


Power NI: tariff methodology
This paper supplements Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service paper 11/14 ‘Electricity tariffs: components and legislative underpinnings’. It does so by outlining how Power NI’s total allowable revenue is broken down into the pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) rate consumers pay for their electricity.  Information on this is limited due to commercial sensitivity.1 It is therefore, only possible to discuss the tariff methodology in general terms. 


Electricity tariffs: components and legislative underpinnings
This paper provides a brief outline of the legislation which underpins the Northern Ireland electricity market. The latter part of the paper provides a breakdown of Power NI’s retail tariff and outlines the reasons for the recent increase in these component parts. The focus on Power NI’s retail tariff is due to that fact that it is the only tariff upon which all details are publicly available since it is a regulated tariff.  


Electricity: security of supply
This paper provides an overview of evidence presented to the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee1 on the issue of electricity security of supply. To provide context the paper begins by examining historic electricity consumption in Northern Ireland and outlining forecasted consumption until 2022.


Women in the Northern Ireland Assembly
This paper summarises the background to women’s representation in politics, outlines the legislative frameworks relevant to women’s representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly and reviews some mechanisms for increasing female representation.


Governance models for sport across the UK and Ireland
This paper examines the different governance models adopted by the sports councils across the UK and some of the different ways in which local councils deliver their sports services. It includes some information on the relationship between sports bodies and local government.


Statutory Bodies in Community Planning: Scotland
This paper is in response to a request from the Environment Committee on the contribution of statutory bodies to community planning in Scotland. The paper describes the connection made between statutory planning partners under the Local Government Bill in Northern Ireland, for comparison with the detail given on the situation in Scotland.


General Power of Competence in England
This paper considers the General Power of Competence under the Localism Act 2011. As requested by the Environment Committee, it provides information on the use of the power by local authorities throughout England. The power came into force in 2012, therefore reviews and information on its implementation is relatively limited.


Commissioner for Complaints in other jurisdictions
This briefing paper considers the roles of the Commissioner for Complaints in other jurisdictions, in particular, the system used under the Localism Act in England; however it also briefly explores the approaches used in Wales and Scotland.


This briefing note is in response to a request from the Environment Committee on the process for call in as stated under the Local Government Bill, and consideration of the process in other jurisdictions such as England and Scotland.


Single Transferable Vote: Operation in the new councils
This paper is a supplementary to the briefing note on Single Transferable Vote (STV) (NIAR 854-13). Information on how STV may operate in the new councils was discussed with Departmental Officials.  Detail on the specific operations of STV has not been confirmed as yet; therefore information provided in this paper may alter in any resulting guidance to come.


Single Transferable Vote
This briefing note is in response to a request from the Environment Committee on information surrounding the Single Transferable Vote (STV) model.

01/14 Standing Committees that examine conformity with human rights and equality issues in legislatures in the UK and Ireland
This briefing paper has been prepared following a request from the Assembly & Executive Review Committee for information, where it exists, on the role and remit of any Standing Committees in the UK and Ireland examining conformity with human rights and equality issues, their membership and the main processes of these Committees.

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