David Ford MLA said: “Recent talks on institutional reform have focused on cutting the number of Departments and MLAs, but Stormont needs a far more fundamental reboot to make it fit for purpose.
“We welcome the fact that parties may be moving towards agreement on cutting the size of Stormont, but this alone won’t make the difference that people deserve. If we are to ensure that the Executive and Assembly deliver for the public then we need to fix the way they function. We need Programmes for Government that are agreed before we form the Executive, not after. We need mechanisms that support parties who choose to stay out of the Executive. We need Ministers to work together, not apart. And we need to make Petitions of Concern work to protect the interests of voters, rather than parties and politicians.
“This is the reboot that we need to make Stormont fit for purpose.”
Key proposals for institutional reform
· Moving from mandatory to voluntary coalition
· Developing an opposition
· Assembly approval of the First Minister, deputy First Minister and the Executive
· Agreeing a Programme for Government before the Executive is formed
· Passing a Governance Bill to require Executive Departments to work together
· Strengthening the Ministerial Code
· Reforming the Petition of Concern system so that it can no longer be abused
· An end to sectarian designations in the Assembly
· A fairer system for election of the chairs of Committees
· Rationalising Executive Departments
· Reducing the number of MLAs