The Centre for Cross Border Studies has today submitted evidence as a contribution to Northern Ireland Executive’s Consultation on the Draft Programme for Government Framework 2016-2021.
CCBS commends the adoption of a new approach to the Programme for Government, particularly one that includes the active participation of society in all of its stages – design, implementation and evaluation. We also welcome its key elements, especially the focus on outcomes and the recognition that such outcomes “are designed to stay in place for a generation rather than a single Assembly term” (Draft PfG Framework, p.7). However, although certain strategic issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure the Framework’s success going forward will be identified later in this response, the quality of stakeholder engagement, the need for a coordinated approach and explicit recognition of the value of working across jurisdictional boundaries should be highlighted from the outset.
The introduction to the Draft PfG Framework states that the next period will see the Executive “engage with stakeholders about the actions needed to help deliver on the indicators”, and “agree the Programme for Government, the Budget, a refreshed Economic Strategy, a new Investment Strategy and a Social Strategy by the end of 2016” (p.8). In light of this, CCBS makes the following recommendations:
- That the engagement process on the actions needed to deliver on the indicators proactively seeks the widest stakeholder constituency possible.
- That the budgetary process includes the active involvement of society stakeholders.
- That the Economic Strategy, Investment Strategy and Social Strategy are entirely reflective of, informed by, and contributory to the PfG, which is the overarching strategy.
- That a wide stakeholder engagement is undertaken in the design of these strategies, and that society stakeholders are involved in all of them. If each strategy is developed with its own group of stakeholders, then the silo mentality that the new approach to the PfG is seeking to avoid will instead be maintained.
To view the full response click here.