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Inquiry into the Role of the Northern Ireland Assembly in scrutinising the Executives Budget and Expenditure

Terms of Reference

The Committee for Finance and Personnel will undertake the following three-stage exercise aimed at maximising the Assembly’s contribution to the NI Executive budget process and enhancing the role of Assembly statutory committees and members in budget and financial scrutiny:

Stage 1

1. To contribute to the ongoing Review of the NI Executive Budget Process by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) by

a) examining the budget scrutiny processes in other applicable legislatures, for the purpose of identifying lessons for NI;

b) co-ordinating the views of the Assembly’s statutory committees on the strengths and weaknesses of the 2007 Budget process; and

c) reporting on the outcome of (a) and (b) to DFP by end of October 2008.

2. To consider and respond to the findings from DFP’s Review.

Stage 2

3. Following confirmation of the Executive’s future budget process, to review the resources available for assisting Assembly statutory committees and members in undertaking budget and financial scrutiny and to put forward a set of practical recommendations for enhancing the capacity of the Assembly in this regard.

Stage 3

4. To review the processes for the in-year monitoring of departmental expenditure by the Assembly and its statutory committees, with a view to making recommendations to further improve the operation of the processes and to facilitate more effective scrutiny. This review to take place after the end of the current financial year, when the statutory committees and their respective departments will have experience of operating the recently introduced format for monitoring round information.

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