No legislative proposals are awaiting Executive approval at present. The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister is, however, developing proposals for a commissioner for older people and a new victims and survivors’ service. Legislation will be required to establish both, but we intend, as the first stage, to issue policy proposals for consultation later this year. After consultation, we will seek the agreement of the Executive to introduce the relevant Bills in the Assembly. Other legislative requirements may arise, and the Executive’s agreement to the policy and the legislation will be sought in accordance with established procedures.
As the Member well knows, we will continue to legislate to provide legal protection against discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity. Thus far, no policy decisions have been made about a single equality Bill.
How does the deputy First Minister, as leader of the Executive, rate their performance given that three Ministers have complained about issues that they want addressed being held up in the Executive? Sammy Wilson, Caitríona Ruane and Michael McGimpsey have raised that issue in the Chamber in the past couple of weeks.
People will know that, on an ongoing basis, there are matters to be agreed, processes to go through and agreements to be forged before we can move to deal with those matters. From our perspective, quite clearly, we need to see a situation develop whereby the issues that people want to bring to the Assembly will be dealt with. However, that can happen only in the context of us being in a position to do that by reaching the agreements that are required to ensure that those processes are expedited.
Since restoration, 27 Executive Bills have been introduced to the Assembly. Members will know that the First Minister and I were responsible for three of those: namely, the Public Authorities (Reform) Bill, the Commission for Victims and Survivors Bill and the Financial Assistance Bill.
A substantial body of work has been undertaken over the past couple of years.