Assess the View That Since 2007 the Assembly Has Been Successful in Holding the Executive Committee to Account

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Assess the view that since 2007 the Assembly has been successful in holding the Executive Committee to account

In Northern Ireland, holding the Government to account is one of Parliament’s main functions. The Assembly forces the Executive to justify bills, explain their motives and defend their actions; essentially through many mechanisms of scrutiny, that is Committees, Question Time and Debates.

The main scrutiny instruments in the Assembly are the Statutory Committees. They hold the Executive to account through their wide-ranging scrutiny powers, mainly holding inquiries, scrutinising budget and by scrutinising legislation. Statutory Committees, as well as committees in general, are the engine room of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Statutory Committees hold inquiries into topical issues then report with recommendations and/or suggested solutions or alternatives back to the minister in question. Committees carrying out such scrutiny would convene and work with experts and stakeholders in the specified area surrounding the matter at stake, assisting the committee with their knowledge and understanding of the topical issue in question to which they can bring forward to the minister a fuller representation of evidence into the inquired issue. Much evidence to those is taken on board by the minister which subsequently leads to the implication good scrutiny. For example, in 2009 the Health Committee published a report on Obesity. 22 out of the 24 recommendations made were accepted by Edwin Poots (Minister for Health prior to the current Jim Wells DUP). They also produced a 10 year Obesity Prevention Strategy which was also executed by the Department of Health. In fact, from 2011 to present, 70% of all Statutory Committee recommendations have been implemented by the Executive Committee.

However, Statutory Committee inquiries do not always bring success. More…...

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