Anna Lo MLA said: “It is vitally important that we reduce the number of government departments we have here as we seek to make savings and protect frontline services.
“The coming months are going to be very testing in terms of public finances and we need to be radical to ensure the best value for money.
“Reducing the number of departments is not just about saving money. We need to start a debate on streamlining departments because we need to address the arbitrary splits in government functions. Such rationalisation measures would also help us increase the level of joined-up government we have here. Increasing joined-up working will help make government more effective and co-ordinated and that is what we should be aiming for.
“There must be constant evaluation of government to see where possible changes to the system can be made. Given the current pressures on our budget, we are potentially facing serious cuts and I believe that we need to look at every possible option to help safeguard vital frontline services.”