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Research Publications 2020

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*
35/20

Pension Schemes Bill
The Pension Schemes Bill was introduced in the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Minister for Communities on 23 June 2020. The Bill mirrors the provisions of the Westminster Pensions Act 2017 which introduced a new regulatory framework for master trusts and sought to regulate unfair member-borne commissioning charges and early exit charges. This Bill paper explores the provisions of the Northern Ireland Bill.

07.07.20
34/20

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Health and Social Care Workforce
This paper has been produced to support the COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee and the Health Committee with their scrutiny of the pandemic response.  The paper will focus on the psychological wellbeing of health and social care staff who have been working on the frontline throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It will look to evidence from previous pandemics to identify potential risk factors for adverse mental health outcomes and examine emerging local and international evidence from the current crisis. The paper will also explore how decision makers can support the mental health of their workforce as well as interventions being introduced across the UK to assist staff in managing their wellbeing.

 25.06.20
33/20

The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol – overview and potential issues
This briefing paper provides an overview of some the main features of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol as they relate to the role and responsibilities of the AERA Committee and also identifies outstanding questions/issues around its implementation and operation moving forward.  This paper is not intended as a forensic examination of the Protocol in terms of its content or its implementation, as at the time of writing there are elements of the Protocol which are still effectively ‘work in progress’ between the UK and EU. Rather, the intended purpose of this paper is to provide an accessible ‘first taste’ of the Protocol.

 25.06.20
32/20

City Growth Deals in Northern Ireland: Key Preliminary Considerations
This briefing paper has been prepared for the Committee for the Economy to facilitate its consideration and scrutiny of City Growth Deals in Northern Ireland and the individual projects contained in them.

 19.06.20
31/20 Brexit Transition and Northern Ireland: A Reading List
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 new reading list focuses specifically on the transition period – that is, the period until the end of 2020 during which the EU and the UK negotiate further details of their future relationship. The list is intended to assist Members of the
Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and others in scrutinising that transition period, and particularly the ways in which those negotiations and their outcome may affect Northern Ireland and the border.
10.06.20
30/20 UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal
Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Potential
Implications for Single Electricity Market in Northern Ireland

This is paper 6 of a 6-part series, which explores key potential implications arising from the Withdrawal Agreement, the “Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland” and the Political Declaration in relation to the Single Electricity Market in Northern Ireland.
 05.06.20
29/20 UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal
Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Potential
implications for state aid in Northern Ireland

This is paper 5 of a 6-part series. It explores key potential implications arising from the Withdrawal Agreement, the Protocol and the Political Declaration for state aid. Throughout, the paper provides potential scrutiny points.
 05.06.20
28/20 UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal
Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Some Employment Considerations for Northern Ireland

This is paper 4 of a 6-part series. It highlights provisions under the Withdrawal Agreement, the Protocol and the Political Declaration, which concern employment rights and migrant workers, raising considerations for Northern Ireland. Throughout, it includes potential scrutiny points
 05.06.20
27/20 UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal
Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Potential implications for Value Added Tax and Excise in Northern Ireland

This is paper 3 of a 6-part series.  It explores key potential implications arising from the Withdrawal Agreement, the Protocol and the Political Declaration for VAT and excise.  Throughout, the paper provides potential scrutiny points.
 05.06.20
26/20 UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal
Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Potential Implications for Customs and Trade in Northern Ireland

This is paper 2 of a 6-part series, which explores key potential implications arising from the Withdrawal Agreement, the “Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland” and the Political Declaration in relation to customs and trade in Northern Ireland.
 05.06.20
25/20

UK Exit from the EU Briefing Paper Series: Withdrawal Agreement, Protocol and Political Declaration - Overview of  Governance Arrangements
This is paper 1 of a 6-part series. It provides a brief overview of the governance arrangements set out under the Withdrawal Agreement, the Protocol and the Political Declaration, for the limited purpose of providing context for subsequent paper in the series. It is not intended to be exhaustive. Throughout it includes potential scrutiny

05.06.20
24/20

Functioning of Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
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.

04.06.20
23/20

The Use of Digital Measures to Combat COVID-19
This paper has been produced to support the COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee and the Health Committee with their scrutiny of the pandemic response. The purpose of this paper is to provide information for the Health Committee on the use of digital measures aimed at combating the novel coronavirus COVID-19, specifically contact tracing apps and the use of 'big data'. The paper will examine the current and potential uses of both types of measures at various stages of the pandemic as well as the technical and ethical challenges that they present. The focus of this paper will be on the use of these measures in a European and UK context with reference to international experiences where appropriate.

 26.05.20
22/20

'Exit' From COVID-19 'Lockdown': Health-Related Issues
This paper has been produced to support the COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee and the Health Committee with their scrutiny of the pandemic response. 
It discusses a number of factors relating to the spread of infectious disease to be borne in mind when considering measures to control the virus going forward. This includes the impact of infectious dose, viral load and asymptomatic cases and the relationship between the ‘lockdown’ and the ‘R’ number of the virus. It then goes on to review a range of health-related measures and actions related to easing the ‘lockdown’. 

 20.05.20
21/20

When 'R' we going to get back to high fives, hugging strangers and kissing the Blarney Stone?
The UK Government and the devolved Governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have recently announced their plans for gradually lifting the lockdown restrictions that were introduced to bring the spread of the COVID-19 disease under control. These plans have been informed by the latest scientific advice and, in particular, the ‘all important’ R number.
This briefing note describes the epidemiological concept ‘R’, and examines its usefulness and limitations as a compass for guiding us through the mists of this plague.

 19.05.20
20/20

Constituency Casework Guide - COVID-19: Housing Support
The purpose of this constituency guide is to signpost MLAs and their constituency staff to key information and resources on housing, and to provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions on housing repairs, repossessions, evictions, student housing, gas safety etc. The final section of the paper provides links to independent advice lines and other useful resources. (Updated 18/06/20)

 12.05.20
19/20

Comparative analysis of Covid-19 statistics
This Briefing Note examines a number of issues concerning comparisons of surveillance data on COVID-19 across different countries and regions.  In terms of the pandemic, the note also identifies three models of good practice and presents some meta data from selected countries.

 07.05.20
18/20

COVID-19: Testing for Sars-CoV-2 in the UK; and the Use of Testing and Contact Tracing in Selected Countries
This briefing paper has been prepared to assist the Health Committee and COVID-19 Committee with their scrutiny of the COVID-19 testing strategies in the UK to date by reviewing testing in the UK and in a selection of other countries. The paper highlights the importance of both timely testing and contact tracing (manual tracing and ICT developments) to drive suppression of transmission of the virus to a low-level, to enable or maintain parts of economic and social life.

 04.05.20
17/20

Assembly Committees: Coordinated Budget Scrutiny
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.

30.04.20
16/20

Domestic Abuse Legislative Provisions
On 31 March 2020, the Justice Minister introduced the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill (the DA&FP Bill) to the Assembly. This Briefing Note addresses a number of domestic abuse related legislative developments, identified from other jurisdictions, which are not specifically addressed in the DA&FP Bill. Specifically the developments considered in this paper are: new 'Domestic Violence Protection Orders'; a statutory basis for domestic violence disclosure schemes; and creation of the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

 27.04.20
15/20

Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill
This Bill Paper discusses the provisions of the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill.

24.04.20
14/20

COVID-19: The use of Personal Protective Equipment and Ventilators
This Briefing Paper has been prepared to support the NI Assembly Ad-Hoc COVID-19 Committee. It provides information on the role of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in infection control measures including an overview of current guidelines relating to their use. The paper will also look at the use of ventilators in supportive therapies to treat COVID-19 patients.  Lastly, the paper will explore how shortages of PPE and Ventilators are a major global issue of the ongoing pandemic and will examine actions taken by the UK government to increase supplies in the face of these shortages

 02.04.20
13/20

COVID-19: Background, Public Health Measures and Testing for SARS-CoV-2
This Briefing Paper has been prepared to support the NI Assembly Ad-Hoc COVID-19 Committee.  It provides some introductory background information on COVID-19 and then focuses on the policies and actions taken in the UK and other selected countries regarding tackling the pandemic, focusing on public health measures and testing of individuals.

 02.04.20
12/20

Key Issues for a Bill of Rights
This paper has been prepared to support the Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights. The paper briefly summarises key issues in the consideration of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. The issues are drawn from themes that have been raised in the past and in the context of more recent developments.

 19.03.20
11/20

Northern Ireland Qualifications per Constituency Area
RaISe has prepared this briefing note in response to an MLA query regarding:

  • The geographical spread across Northern Ireland of graduates working in the local labour markets.
  • The geographical spread across Northern Ireland of those working in the local labour market with vocational skills, and those without basic skills.

The note presents data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2018 and Census 2011. It shows the geographical spread of the Northern Ireland (NI) workforce according to (i) highest qualification gained; and (ii) all persons with no qualifications, per constituency area. 

 06.03.20
10/20

UK Fisheries Bill 2019-20
This briefing paper provides an overview of the key elements of the UK Fisheries Bill 2020. The paper focusses on the Northern Ireland specific components of the Bill, some of which are unique to here, but also covers those wider UK elements which require legislative consent from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

 05/03/20
 09/20

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

 03.03.20
08/20

Environment Bill 2019-20
This research paper provides an overview of the key elements of the UK Environment Bill 2020. The paper focusses on the Northern Ireland (NI) specific components of the Bill, some of which are unique to here, but also covers those wider UK elements which require legislative consent from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

02.03.20
07/20

Social Sector Size Criteria ('bedroom tax') mitigation in Northern Ireland – a timeline of key developments
This short briefing note provides background context to the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC) and associated Welfare Supplementary Payments in Northern Ireland. It also provides an overview of some of the main developments relating to the SSSC including a timeline and links to recent key papers and research on this issue.

 24.02.20
06/20

UK Agriculture Bill 2019-20
This briefing paper provides an overview of the key elements of the UK Agriculture Bill 2019-20. The paper focusses on the Northern Ireland specific components of the Bill, some of which are unique to here, but also covers some wider UK elements which require legislative consent from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

 21.02.20
05/20

Special Advisers: Appointment and Conduct
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.

 21.02.20
04/20

Mapping of GP Surgeries
This briefing note contains mapping of General Practices across Northern Ireland, for the years 2015 and 2020. The practices have been mapped out according to data obtained from the Business Services Organisation (BSO) website and from correspondence from the BSO.

21.02.20
03/20

Assembly Committee Engagement on 2020-21 Departmental Budget Planning
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.

20.02.20
02/20

Waiting Lists and Waiting Times for Elective Care in Northern Ireland: Taking Stock
This paper takes its starting point from a series of previous Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service briefings and provides an update on elective care waiting lists, waiting times and related policy and actions in Northern Ireland. For information and comparison, it also updates the same in neighbouring jurisdictions.

 06.02.20
01/20

Who Runs Northern Ireland?  A Summary of Statistics Relating to Gender and Power in 2020.
This Briefing Paper is prepared to update the paper Who Runs Northern Ireland?  A Summary of Statistics Relating to Gender and Power in 2019.  The paper summarises statistics on gender representation in decision-making positions in Northern Ireland. The statistics are set out in simplified tables to offer an at-a-glance view of gender and power in Northern Ireland.

 15.01.20

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