To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total cost of the Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union to the Northern Ireland Office and its associated agencies, broken down by (1) staff time, (2) printing costs, (3) running of engagement events, (4) witness expenses, (5) publicity of the reports, and (6) any and all other associated costs.
As the Noble Baroness will be aware, the Balance of Competences Review concluded in December. The Review involved a large number of Departments across Whitehall to produce the 32 reports. The Review was based on the evidence and views received through consultation with interested parties. Across the whole review, departments received close to 2,300 evidence submissions. Departments held over 250 events, attended by around 2,100 stakeholders.
It was important that this examination of EU membership was done with appropriate time and care. But the government is also very conscious of the need to ensure value for money in everything that it does.
Between 2012 and 2014, work on the Balance of Competences within the Department was staffed by the equivalent of one Grade B (salary range £35,188-£44,964). As many lead departments liaised direct with the Northern Ireland Executive, under 1% of the official’s time was spent on the Review. The Northern Ireland Office did not incur printing costs; costs for running engagement events; publicity costs or other associated costs. Across the whole of the Balance of Competences Review witness expenses amounted to approximately £2,225.