A range of measures is in place to ensure that resources used by Departments provide value for money. First, all expenditure is subject to scrutiny by the Department of Finance and Personnel’s central finance group in conjunction with the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. The Assembly and its Committees also examine expenditure. In addition, the Comptroller and Auditor General provides the Assembly, and the Public Accounts Committee in particular, with reports that identify the extent to which Departments provide value for money from the resources allocated to them.
How does that analysis work for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety? Despite a 37% increase in that Department’s spending in the lifetime of this Assembly, waiting lists are higher than ever. How can the Minister account for the £110,000 that was spent on translation services as good value for money, given the current state of the Health Service?