Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
I thank the Member. I am going to bring a little bit of illumination into your life. You are absolutely right: the system has changed. The system that you and your colleagues would have been used to was a system in which people immediately drew up bids, usually as long as their arm and usually chancing their arm, and every Department said that it really could not do without moneys to meet these pressures. What we have come up with is an entirely different system. It is an Executive united in common purpose, where, every day, there are engagements with other Departments. In fact, in some of those Departments, we now have working groups that are trying to look into the future and predict problems coming down the tracks so that we can budget efficiently and effectively. We tell every Department to try to make allocations, as the Economy Minister did for the renewable heat incentive (RHI), in their own Department and that, if it is going to come forward with a bid, it has to be really serious, thought-out and value for money. The key point is that we do not want shopping lists or wish lists. If a Minister comes to me with a real pressure, we can discuss in concert with other Executive colleagues how that is met.
The system that we have today is evidence of that working. We now have a situation in which the key pressures facing the Executive in toto — the Executive across the board and not just one silo of education, agriculture or health — have been dealt with in an efficient and timely manner that exhibits value for money. I know that the Opposition fret about the process and how the process has changed, but the most important issue of all is that this system delivers for ordinary people, as it has today. As I said, Chris Conway of Translink is outside the door, because it has delivered for him. It has also delivered for roads maintenance, which I know will bring cheer to many of those who are still concerned that we do not budget adequately for roads maintenance at the start of the year. I know that that is a point that you have brought up, a LeasCheann Comhairle. It will bring some succour and comfort to those people that we are delivering. I am happy to focus on the minutiae and on process, but, ultimately, I want my focus to be on delivery, and that is what we are doing today.