Committee Chair Expresses Shock at Social Economy Network Closure

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 26 August 2011

Reference: ETI 02/11/12

Alban Maginness, Chair of the The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment today expressed his dissatisfaction at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s failure to inform the Committee that it was withdrawing funding from The Social Economy Network (SEN)1.

Reacting to the news today that SEN will close its doors today as a direct result Alban Maginness said: “The withdrawal of funding by the Department and the resulting closure of the SEN has come as a complete shock to me and other members of the Committee.

“Only two months ago the Committee received a briefing from the Department including SEN’s Strategy Annual Report. At no time during this briefing or indeed any other time, was there any indication that withdrawal of funding from SEN was even being considered.

“The development and growth of our social economy has always been of particular interest to the Committee. For the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to take this decision without keeping the Committee informed is not just a discourtesy, but a failure to act in a transparent and proper fashion. I have written to the Minister to express my grave dissatisfaction at the manner in which this has been done.”

Deputy Chair of the Committee Daithí McKay added: “It is our understanding that the decision to remove funding is based on the findings of an evaluation conducted by KPMG. It would have been appropriate for the KPMG report to be sent to the Committee along with the Department’s plans; however the Chair of the Committee only received sight of it late yesterday afternoon having requested a copy from the Department. It is very disappointing to find that the Department has taken such action without keeping the Committee and the Assembly informed.” 

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