Press Release

Joined Up Thinking Paramount in Redistributing Department Functions Says Committee

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Reference: CEL 05/11/12

A report on the dissolution and redistribution of functions of the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) has been launched by the Assembly Committee responsible for advising and overseeing the work of the Department.

The Committee for Employment and Learning, which began its consultation in January, spoke to a wide range of stakeholders, including Departmental staff, the universities and colleges of further education as well as business organisations, unions and voluntary and community organisations.

Chairperson of the Committee, Basil McCrea MLA said: “As the Committee with oversight responsibilities for the Department of Employment and Learning, we believed it was very important to gain the views of Department stakeholders on the proposed dissolution. We took the view that such a consultation would tease out issues and could inform the way responsibilities were redistributed.

“We have been impressed with the responses and options for redistributing functions identified by the stakeholder groups. One option, in particular, that of the creation of a new Department for the Economy, showed that people were looking for another way for Northern Ireland to put economic and skills development at the centre of government.

“I expect that the Executive will want to take many of the ideas and recommendations on board. This report is a valuable contribution to this exercise and demonstrates the mature way that all of us are working in these financially difficult times."


Notes to Editors:

1. The Assembly will debate the Committee’s report on Tuesday 15 May 2012 in Plenary.

2. The Committee’s consultation was in response to the Office of the First Minister/deputy First Minister’s proposal to reduce the number of Executive Departments from 12 to 11 and redistribute the functions and responsibilities of the Department for Employment and Learning. That proposal was issued on 10 January 2012 and the Committee agreed to carry out a consultation on 25 January 2012.

3. Those responding to the consultation were:

Action on Hearing Loss

Alternative Education Provider’s Forum (AEPF)

Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Colleges NI

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Department of Employment and Learning staff

Disability Action

Forum for Adult Learning NI (FALNI)

Include Youth

Institute of Directors (IoD)

Invest NI

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

Labour Relations Agency (LRA)

Law Centre NI


National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)

Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO)

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY)

Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA)

Northern Ireland Schools and Colleges Careers Association (NISCA) Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN)

Orchardville Society

Parkanaur College

Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster- Joint Response

St. Mary’s University College Belfast

Stranmillis University College

Belfast Ulster Teachers’ Union

Ulster Supported Employment (USEL)

University and College Union (UCU)

University of the Third Age (U3A)

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