Fewer Departments essential to coherent government

Alliance Enterprise Spokesperson Sean Neeson MLA has called for an urgent review of departmental structures in Northern Ireland, to make coherent, “joined-up” government a reality.

The East Antrim Assembly member stated: “People know that joined-up government in Northern Ireland is currently a myth. We have far too many departments, which are inclined to compete rather than cooperate with each other.

“The creation of 10 departments was designed to facilitate an even sectarian carve-up, but it clearly has not worked. Boards, voluntary-sector bodies, businesses and individuals are all having to deal with a multitude of departments and agencies even to get the simplest task done.

“A reduction in the number of Departments is essential to providing the best possible public services in the most efficient and effective manner.

It was nonsense to carry out the Review of Public Administration without tackling this obvious hurdle.

“Five or six Departments each with two Ministers, as is the case in Scotland, would be more likely to deliver genuine ‘joined-up’ government, as well as ensuring collective decision making by the Executive rather than individual fiefdoms.

“The result would be a much more transparent, cost-effective and competent system of government for Northern Ireland. This is a prerequisite for a successful Assembly.”


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