DCAL: Arm’s-length Bodies

Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 28th May 2012.

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Photo of Dominic Bradley Dominic Bradley Social Democratic and Labour Party 2:45 pm, 28th May 2012

7. asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for an update on her Department’s review of its arm’s-length bodies. (AQO 2052/11-15)

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

My review of the Department’s arm’s-length bodies started with reviews of Sport NI and Museums NI. The reviews are being taken forward in two stages. The first stage considers the continuing need for the functions of each body. It also examines the governance and accountability arrangements in place, and the effectiveness and value for money of each body in its current form. The second stage will consider future delivery options for the functions of each body.

The stage one review for both bodies is nearing completion and has highlighted some issues. I am considering how those issues will be addressed before the review team finalises stage one and completes stage two.

Photo of Dominic Bradley Dominic Bradley Social Democratic and Labour Party

Go raibh míle maith agat, a Phríomh-LeasCheann Comhairle, agus Tá an-áthas orm go bhfuil an tAire ag caint liom arís.

I am delighted that the Minister is speaking to me again after the last day. Can she confirm that she has withdrawn her edict to arm’s-length bodies to channel all announcements through her?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I am not really sure what the Member is referring to. I think that he may be referring to the media communications protocol that we are trying to finalise with some arm’s-length bodies. Rather than withdraw it, we are progressing with it. Most of the bodies have signed up, and we are still completing the protocol with the rest.

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

Will the Minister confirm whether the movement of responsibility for delivery of stadia development from Sport NI to the Department has anything to do with the findings of the review of Sport NI that is currently being undertaken?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

I can confirm that that is not the case. It was quite obvious, and I said this at the time, that the stadia programme was quite big for a body such as Sport NI to take on on its own. There were delays, so I made a decision to make the Department responsible for it to ensure not only that we reached the targets set by the Executive but that the money was spent, that nothing was returned and that the three sporting bodies got what they needed. It has absolutely nothing to do with the review that we are undertaking of Sport NI.

Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP

I thank the Minister for her answers. Will she detail her work with her Executive colleague the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment on reviewing the excellent work of Screen NI, given that it funded by both Departments?

Photo of Carál Ní Chuilín Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin

Needless to say, the work that we are to do is still not finalised. The Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and I are not only involved in the work and funding of Screen NI but are responsible for creative industries and taking forward a robust music strategy.

So, work in those three areas is under way. I think that the Member is trying to say that, through NI Screen, a lot of Executive resources have been spent, particularly on film and television. We want to continue to make sure that that is still value for money, and we are making those areas competitive so that we can attract other productions, which will help our economy.