Committee Reflects on Success in Mandate

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 21 March 2011

Reference: F&P 03/10/11

Eighty percent of recommendations made by the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel have been accepted by the Department of Finance and Personnel. That’s a result that the Committee and its Chair are reflecting on as the current Assembly comes to an end.

The Committee for Finance and Personnel has had a unique role in leading the Assembly’s oversight of the Executive’s budget and expenditure. This has included providing recommendations to the Department to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government spending. During this Assembly the Committee has reported on the Executive’s draft Budget proposals for 2008 – 2011 and 2011 – 2015 making recommendations at both strategic and departmental level.

Reflecting on the Committee’s achievements over the past four years Chairperson Daithí McKay MLA said: “The Committee is pleased with the impact it has made during this mandate. More than 80 per cent of the recommendations it has made to the Department, through inquiries and scrutiny of legislation, have been accepted, with almost one third of these already implemented. A further 10 per cent are still under consideration.

“Most recently the Committee was pleased that its recommendations to require carbon monoxide monitors in new builds will be implemented and that existing Building Regulations will be amended.”

He continued: “I am particularly proud of the way that the Committee has worked to support local businesses. We carried out a major inquiry into public procurement with the aim of helping small and medium sized businesses to bid for government contracts. Forty key recommendations were presented to the Department resulting in new guidance on procurement. In addition, we recommended that community enterprises be helped to access government contracts. This has now resulted in the greater use of social clauses in construction contracts, including the recruitment of apprentices.

“Rating was another area in which the Committee had a positive impact. The Department has taken up our recommendations and has now introduced discounts for single pensioners, additional relief for carers and the introduction of rates for vacant domestic properties.

“Finally I would like to thank the Department for its constructive approach to working with the Committee and I am confident that this will continue into the new Mandate.”

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