Committee Calls for Better Scrutiny of Spending Priorities

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 02 February 2011

Reference: E&L 08/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning has called on the Department to better target its priorities and spending in response to cuts to the Employment and Learning budget.

The Department, which has set out how it intends to support its programmes, appears to have ‘top-sliced’ funding rather than carry out an in-depth analysis on their effectiveness.

Chairperson of the Committee, Dolores Kelly, MLA said: “What we are hearing from the Department is that it intends to spread the available funding more thinly over the existing priorities and programmes.

“However, we are concerned that the Department appears not to be assessing the success or impact of various programmes before allocating what we all realise are very scarce resources.

“We do not know, at this moment, whether a particular priority or programme is providing value for money—something which is vital in the current economic climate."

Deputy Chairperson Jonathan Bell, MLA agrees that Committee members need more information from the Department. He said: “We call on the Department to take another look, use the available research and think again about its priorities.”

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