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Research Publications 2021

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.

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Number   Title Date*

Sport and disability in Northern Ireland
This research examines Northern Ireland’s sports and physical activity participation rates for those with a disability. The second part of the paper provides details of key challenges for disability sport, how relevant organisations are tackling those challenges, the resulting impacts and future plans.


Female participation in sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland
This research paper explores key issues relating to female participation in sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland and compares findings with neighbouring jurisdictions. The paper also includes a summary of different strategies and policies to increase female participation


Protection from Stalking Bill
This paper has been prepared to inform consideration of the Protection from Stalking Bill, which completed its second stage on 8th February 2021.  The Bill has 20 clauses and is divided into three parts. Its predominant policy objectives are creating two new offences relating to stalking and introducing provision for Stalking Protection Orders.


Topical issues in other legislatures
This briefing paper has been prepared following a request from the Committee on Standards and Privileges. It discusses issues in other legislatures in relation to standards that have arisen between January 2017 and January 2020.


Suicide: Northern Ireland
This research paper considers the complex issue of suicide in the context of: mental health; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; support services; suicide data - including the most recent suicide data for Northern Ireland (2020) and suicide rates from neighbouring jurisdictions; and suicide prevention strategies.


Statutory Time Limits in other jurisdictions
This paper has been prepared in response to a request from the Committee for Justice for information about statutory case time limits and statutory custody time limits in other jurisdictions and whether they have contributed to a reduction in delays in criminal proceedings.
The statutory time limits that apply to custody and case proceedings in national and international jurisdictions vary considerably. This paper details the various limits and examines their application in practice. It also looks at Northern Ireland's current legislative provisions and processes to provide background and context to the issue.


Reform of the Criminal Justice Process in other jurisdictions
This briefing paper provides information in response to the Committee for Justice’s request regarding:  what other relevant jurisdictions have reformed or removed the committal process and the impact and/or effectiveness this has had on reducing delays in the criminal justice trial process; and the proposed changes and the anticipated impact of the introduction of a pre-trial hearing in the criminal trial process in the Republic of Ireland.


Programme for Government: Draft Outcomes Framework
This briefing note has been prepared for the Committee for the Executive Office, as an addendum to the paper entitled ‘Outcomes Based Accountability and the Programme for Government’ (NIAR 362-20, published 29th January 2021). The note details the key changes to outcomes since the first outcomes-based Programme for Government in 2016, and then considers the lack of detail in the draft Outcomes Framework beyond the nine proposed outcomes. Throughout, questions are specified which the committee may wish to consider.


Mental ill health and substance misuse: Dual Diagnosis
This paper has been compiled in response to an MLA request on the complex issue of 'dual diagnosis' in the context of service provision. Specifically, the paper provides the following: An overview of dual diagnosis; estimated prevalence rates; the impact of dual diagnosis on people's lives; types of services available and challenges in terms of accessibility; recommendations for service delivery and the policy context in Northern Ireland and neighbouring jurisdictions.


Ireland/ Northern Ireland Protocol and Net Zero
This briefing note is a follow up to the RaISe paper Northern Ireland and Net Zero (NIAR 47-21)It provides examples of some of the potential impacts of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol in achieving Net Zero, and should not be considered as a comprehensive analysis or assessment.


Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill: Motion under Assembly Standing Order 34
This paper supplements section 5 of the RaISe Bill Paper entitled 'Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill', dated 5th March 2021 (Paper 16/21, NIAR 54-21). It details the Assembly debate on the 8th March 2021 regarding a Member's motion under Standing Order 34, which sought the Bill's referral to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for advice on its human rights compatibility. Although the Assembly passed this motion, the Bill still progressed to its Second Stage, and has since passed this before being referred to the Committee for Health.


Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill
This paper aims to support MLAs’ consideration of the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill. It discusses relevant legislative and policy background in this area, before considering the content of the Bill as introduced; the Assembly’s consideration of the Bill so far; and key issues arising from the Bill as introduced.


The Public Procurement Common Framework
This paper explores issues arising from the Public Procurement Common Framework, to assist the Committee for Finance in its scrutiny role.


Northern Ireland and Net Zero
This paper has been provided in response to an AERA Committee request for information on net zero targets across the UK, Republic of Ireland (RoI), and particularly Wales; it also examines departmental programmes aimed at addressing climate change across different sectors in Northern Ireland (NI).  Finally, examples of “greenhouse gas removing technologies” are provided, as mentioned in the Climate Change Committee Letter on Northern Ireland’s contribution to UK Net Zero and DAERA’s response Letter.


Draft Executive Budget 2021-2022
This Briefing Paper seeks to support Assembly committees in their scrutiny and advisory roles in  relation  to the draft Executive Budget 2021-22. The Paper addresses  the  compressed timescale for Assembly consideration of the draft Budget proposals; amidst ongoing funding allocation  changes,  including  those  from  Treasury  to  the  Executive.  Thereafter, the  Paper presents available information on the range of funding sources available to the Executive for 2021-22,  before  briefly  assessing  the  Executive’s draft proposals. Included  throughout  are potential issues meriting consideration.


Restraint and Seclusion of Children with Additional Needs in Schools
This briefing paper discusses the use of restraint and seclusion in schools in the UK, specifically with children and young people who have additional needs. It explores the relationship between challenging behaviour and the use of restrictive practices, as well as the impact that the use of such practices have on children, their families and education staff.
The paper examines the use of restrictive practices and their implications for children's human rights as well as presenting an overview of policies and actions being introduced across the UK aimed at reducing their use. Finally, the paper provides a brief overview of positive behaviour support (PBS) strategies as an alternative approach to managing challenging behaviour with restraint and seclusion used only as a last resort option.


Children's Rights and Educational Policy in Northern Ireland: Implementation of the UNCRC
The UK’s 6th periodic reporting cycle to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is underway.  In February 2021, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is expected to send the UK Government a request for specific information, known as a ‘List of Issues Prior to Reporting’ (LOIPR). The list asks the UK government and its devolved administrations to detail measures and developments relating to its implementation of the UNCRC.
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the predominant issues currently impacting on a child’s right to education in Northern Ireland (NI).  It will provide an overview of the UNCRC including how it is implemented and monitored across the UK. The paper will also focus on the concerns and recommendations raised by the CRC in relation to education in its previous round of reporting in 2016, progress made by the NI government on the relevant issues, as well as commentary by key stakeholders in NI.

10/21 2020-21 Spring Supplementary Estimates: Key Points
This briefing note – commissioned by the Assembly’s Finance Committee – aims to support the Committee’s consideration of the 2020-21 Spring Supplementary Estimates (SSEs), the 2021-22 Vote on Account, and the corresponding Supply Resolutions; prior to the scheduled debate in the Assembly plenary on 1 March 2021. In particular, the briefing summarises and contextualises the 2020-21 SSEs highlighting key points meriting the Committee’s attention.

Analysis of Departmental Bids Relating to Monitoring Rounds and Separate Covid-19 Exercise
This briefing paper - commissioned by the Assembly's Finance Committee (the Committee) - aims to support the Committee's oversight of departments' Monitoring Round bids and the separate Covid-19 funding exercise; both processes directed by the Minister of the Department for Finance (DoF). The paper provides a brief analysis of those bids (Monitoring Round and Covid-19 exercise) overall, and at the departmental level. A table containing aggregated departmental bid responses is appended to facilitate the Committee's consideration.


Select literature review: Autism and its economic costs
This briefing paper was commissioned by a Member of the Assembly, to aid consideration of the issue of autism and related economic costs. As requested, the paper provides an overview of key findings arising from a selection of relevant available literature addressing economic and financial costs associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - i.e. costs for both individuals who have ASD and their families, as well as government, when ASD is addressed and unaddressed. The examined literature concerns research undertaken in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and the United States.


Departmental Outturn and Forecast Outturn: Commentary on Quarter 3 2020-21 Data
This Commentary is part of an ongoing pilot project, proactively undertaken by the Public Finance Scrutiny Unit (PFSU) of the Assembly's Research and Information Service (RaISe). Ultimately, the project aims to further support Assembly committees when discharging their advisory and scrutiny roles and responsibilities under current Northern Ireland (NI) devolution financial arrangements. In particular, it seeks to enhance committees' understanding of departmental Outturn and Forecast Outturn data; so that committees use that data to scrutinise departments' forecasting accuracy – i.e. to scrutinise how effectively departments plan and actually spend their expenditure.


UK Freeport policy and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
This paper has been prepared for the Committee for Finance to assist in its scrutiny role. The paper’s central focus is to examine the interaction between United Kingdom (UK) Freeport Policy and the “Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland” (the Protocol). It also provides a range of background information to provide a useful context for the analysis. 


Brexit Outcomes and Northern Ireland: A Reading List (updated 22 March 2021)
In the period between the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union in June 2016 and its formal departure on 31 January 2020, the Assembly’s Research and Information Service (RaISe) published 31 versions of ‘Brexit and Northern Ireland: A Reading List’. This was followed by 6 versions of ‘Brexit Transition and Northern Ireland: A Reading List’, the last appearing on 31 December 2020. This new reading list focuses specifically on the period following the departure of the UK from the EU – that is, the period from 1st January 2021. The list is intended to assist Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and others in scrutinising this new situation, and particularly the ways in which it affects Northern Ireland and the border. 


The Executive's International Relations and comparisons with Scotland & Wales
This briefing provides information on the Northern Ireland Executive’s international relations strategy and places this in a comparative context, in which the approaches of the Scottish and Welsh governments are also detailed.


Departmental Financial Forecasts & Outturns: Dashboard User Guide
The Dashboard presents Departmental Total Forecast Outturn (TFO) data for capital and resource spending in three parts, across five pages to cover:  monthly expenditure profiles, annual expenditure profiles, and monthly forecast performance. The monthly expenditure profile and monthly forecast performance pages cover the current financial year running from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. The Annual expenditure profile pages cover the financial years of 2017-18 to 2020-21.


Outcomes Based Accountability and the Programme for Government
This research paper considers Outcomes Based Accountability, in the context of the publication of the Executive’s Outcomes Framework for consultation in January 2021. The paper has been developed in advance of the publication of a new Programme for Government (PfG) in 2021. The key points detail findings that may be of value when considering and scrutinising the new PfG, its delivery and the allocation of associated budgets.


Public Health (Coronavirus Restriction) Regulations: emergency procedures
This briefing note has been prepared following a request from the Committee for Health. It considers the use across the UK of an 'emergency procedure' to make public health regulations which, due to the coronavirus pandemic, place restrictions on a range of activities. It also considers the ability of the relevant legislatures to scrutinise these measures.


* Please note: Date refers to the date on which the paper was published on the website.


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