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Research Papers 2020

Synopsis: Below you will find details of Research Publications which have been prepared by the Research and Information Service (RaISe) for the Committee for Finance in 2020.

Functioning of Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

- Date: 04/06/2020

This paper has been prepared to inform consideration of the Functioning of Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill that completed its second stage on 16 March. The Bill has 15 clauses and one Schedule and addresses a range of policy objectives, primarily in relation to the conduct of special advisers and ministers. This paper makes comparisons, where appropriate, with arrangements in other legislatures in the UK and Ireland. It draws on two other recent RaISe papers: Special Advisers: Appointment and Conduct (February 2020) and Investigations into alleged breaches of ministerial codes (March 2020).

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Assembly Committees: Coordinated Budget Scrutiny

- Date: 01/05/2020

This Briefing Paper updates Briefing Paper NIAR-116-20, issued on 21 April 2020. The update is based on: data provided in return template replies from the Departments of Health and Economy, received after initial paper was compiled; and, other Executive Budget timetable developments, notified to the Committee for Finance on 24 April. The paper aims to support coordinated Assembly scrutiny of the Executive Budget 2020-21. It draws on departmental template returns, other accessible departmental data and past papers compiled by RaISe PFSU.

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Centralisation reforms of public procurement in the Republic of Ireland and Scotland

- Date: 03/03/2020

This Briefing Paper provides background information to the Public Accounts Committee, ahead of its forthcoming consideration of the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s (NIAO’s) examination of major capital projects in NI. It begins with a summary of current NI public procurement structures, before reviewing the current arrangements in Republic of Ireland and Scotland. A section on public sector efficiency is also included given the prominence afforded to savings figures in procurement reform publications.

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Special Advisers: Appointment and Conduct

- Date: 21/02/2020

This briefing paper has been prepared in response to a request from the Finance Committee for a comparison of the Northern Ireland Code of Appointment and Code of Conduct for Special Advisers to those of other jurisdictions.

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Assembly Committee Engagement on 2020-21 Departmental Budget Planning

- Date: 21/02/2020

This Briefing Paper aims to support Assembly committee engagement on departmental budget planning for the new budget year, 2020-21. It highlights unique circumstances impacting on the formulation 2020-21 Executive Budget. Many are due to Northern Ireland’s Public Finance Framework under devolution (the rules), and are not within the immediate control of departments, nor the Executive. Despite challenges arising from current circumstances, this Paper is an effort both to improve openness and transparency in on-going departmental budget planning for 2020-21, and to ultimately increase government accountability through informed committee scrutiny. The Paper seeks to strategically coordinate and focus committee engagement on the Budget. Providing background information, it draws relevant linkages and identifies potential generic issues for committees’ consideration and use.

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