Research Papers 2021

Synopsis: Below you will find details of Research Publications which have been prepared by the Research and Information Service (RaISe) for the Committee for Finance in 2021.

Scrutinising the Financial Reporting (Departments and Public Bodies Bill: key considerations

- Date: 24/11/2021

This Bill Paper is to help inform Assembly scrutiny of the Financial Reporting (Departments and Public Bodies) Bill, including that undertaken by the Committee for the Finance.

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UK Spending Review & Autumn Budget 2021: key points to inform Draft NI Executive Budget 2022-25

- Date: 23/11/2021

This briefing paper outlines relevant information and data recently provided by the United Kingdom central government and the Northern Ireland Department of Finance, which will help to inform the formulation of the 2022-25 Draft Executive Budget.

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Departmental Outturn and Forecast Outturn: Commentary on Full Year 2020-21 & August 2021 Data

- Date: 21/10/2021

This October 2021 Commentary is the third in a running series; building on previous Commentaries published by the PFSU in December 20201 and February 20212. It, as in the past, accompanies the Dashboard updates, to examine the most current departmental outturn and forecast outturn data that has been made available by DoF to the PFSU. This one covers the full year of 2020-21 and the current financial year, up to and including August 2021.

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Public Service Pension Reform: Key Preliminary Considerations

- Date: 23/09/2021

This Briefing Paper is prepared for the Committee for Finance, to facilitate its consideration of Public Service Pension Reform in Northern Ireland.

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Executive Budget 2021-2022

- Date: 16/06/2021

This briefing paper seeks to support Assembly committees in their scrutiny and advisory roles in relation to the Executive Budget 2021-22. The paper addresses the shorter timeframe for Assembly consideration of Budget proposals; amidst announcements of additional funding confirmed as part of the Chancellor’s Budget. 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 allocations. Included throughout are potential issues meriting consideration.

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Approaches taken to combustible cladding materials in Ireland

- Date: 17/05/2021

This paper follows on from RaISe research paper, ‘A comparison of approaches regarding a ban on the use of combustible cladding materials’ (NIAR 1-21). It sets out the approach taken currently to cladding on high rise buildings in the Republic of Ireland.

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A comparison of approaches regarding a ban on the use of combustible cladding materials

- Date: 17/05/2021

This briefing paper has been prepared on behalf of the Committee for Finance to assist in its scrutiny of proposals to amend the Building (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020. The paper seeks to provide a comparative overview of approaches taken to the banning of combustible material on external walls of applicable buildings across the UK.

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Internal Market Act 2020 and the Protocol on Ireland/ Northern Ireland

- Date: 23/04/2021

Within the current unsettled context, and from a layperson’s perspective, this paper seeks to explain how provisions contained in the Internal Market Act 2020 (the “IMA”) and the “Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland” appear to relate to each other; while also highlighting their relevance to the work of the Committee for Finance. Throughout, potential issues for consideration are provided, to support the Committee when discharging its advisory and scrutiny roles.

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The Public Procurement Common Framework

- Date: 09/03/2021

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

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Draft Executive Budget 2021-2022

- Date: 04/03/2021

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.

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2020-21 Spring Supplementary Estimates: Key Points

- Date: 25/02/2021

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.

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Analysis of Departmental Bids Relating to Monitoring Rounds and Separate Covid-19 Exercise

- Date: 22/02/2021

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.

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Departmental Outturn and Forecast Outturn: Commentary on Quarter 3 2020-21 Data

- Date: 22/02/2021

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.

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UK Freeport policy and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

- Date: 15/02/2021

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.

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Departmental Financial Forecasts & Outturns: Dashboard User Guide

- Date: 11/02/2021

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.

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