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About Economic Policy and Regeneration

The Economic Policy and Regeneration Directorate has responsibility for the Programme for Government, Sustainable Development Policy, sponsorship and oversight responsibilities for Integrated Development Fund, Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland, ILEX and Strategic Investment Board, strategic planning for NI's infrastructure investment and facilitating the regeneration of the Maze/Long Kesh, Ebrington and Magherafelt sites. The Directorate consists of two Divisions:

The Economic Policy Unit

The Economic Policy Unit (EPU) has a broad range of responsibilities. It works with Ministers and the Executive on the development of the Programme for Government, the allocation of public expenditure and the annual budgetary and monitoring process (in conjunction with the Department of Finance & Personnel). EPU is responsible for providing advice to Ministers on a range of economic issues, particularly those of a central or cross-cutting nature. It also has responsibility for the development and strengthening of policy capacity across the NI Civil Service. Additionally EPU has lead strategic responsibility for sustainable development and promotes effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy. Finally, EPU is responsible for the oversight and management of the Integrated Development Fund and of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) as a supported body.
Branches within the Economic Policy Unit are as follows:
Programme for Government Unit
This unit is responsible for:
  • the development, monitoring and annual review of the Programme for Government (PFG) and Public Service Agreements (PSAs);
  • work on policy co-ordination and development and public consultation in support of the Programme for Government; and
  • work with the Department of Finance and Personnel on the Efficiency Review and other key strategic initiatives.
Further information is available from the Programme for Government and Budget page on the NI Executive website at the link below:
Financial Issues Unit
Financial Issues Unit is part of the Economic Policy Unit (EPU). The unit is responsible for:
  • Work with the Department of Finance and Personnel on the overall level of public spending in Northern Ireland and the allocation of financial resources in the support of the Programme for Government;
  • Oversight and management of the Integrated Development Fund;
  • Oversight and monitoring of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) – ERINI is a Company Limited by Guarantee and is an executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by OFMDFM. It has a board of 14 directors and 1 Chairperson, all appointed by Ministers and comprises representatives from academic, business, trade union and other interests.
  • Work with the Department of Finance and Personnel to monitor the effectiveness of current EU Funding Programmes and assist with negotiations on future levels of EU funding support and
  • Management of Economic Policy Unit internal financial resources.

Review of Economic Research Inistitute of Northern Ireland (ERINI)

A review of ERINI was carried out in 2007, use the link below to access.
Policy Innovation Unit
The Policy Innovation Unit (PIU) was established in July 2000 as part of a wider programme to develop the policy-making and strategic capacity of the Northern Ireland administration.
This unit is responsible for:
  • improving the administration’s capacity to address strategic, cross-cutting issues;
  • promotion of good practice and innovation in the development of policy and in the delivery of the administration’s objectives, informed by best practice elsewhere; and
  • the promotion of evidence-based policy making, including the dissemination of relevant information and research.
Further information on our work can be found on the Policylink webpages.
Economic Advice Unit
The Economic Advice Unit was established to ensure a co-ordinated approach across the NI administration to the range of economic policies aimed at addressing key challenges facing the NI economy.
This unit is responsible for:
  • co-ordinating the administration’s economic policies and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of public spending in achieving the administration’s economic goals: this remit also covers EU expenditure;
  • enhancing the local evidence base for economic policy making by commissioning and undertaking economic research, in conjunction with DFP;
  • liaising with providers of external independent economic advice, including monitoring the research programme of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland;
  • providing economic briefing and advice, including advice on economic appraisals
  • providing briefing and advice to the Ministers co-ordinating the Cross Sector Advisory Forum (CSAF), and the CSAF sub-group - Hardship, Poverty, Debt and Energy; and providing analysis of reports emerging from the sub-groups of the Cross Sector Advisory Forum. Further information on the Forum can be found by clicking on the link below.
Sustainable Development
More information on OFMDFM's role in Sustainable Development can be found using the link below

The Strategic Investment and Regeneration Division

This Division provides advice to Ministers and Departments on infrastructure investment. It also manages the development of a small number of key security sites and the Maze/Long Kesh site to facilitate a programme of economic renewal. The Division also has an oversight role in the regeneration of the Derry City Council area through the co-ownership, with DSD, of the ILEX Urban Renegeration Company Ltd. It is also responsible for advising Ministers on policy relating to the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland and Public Private Partnerships, in conjunction with the Department of Finance & Personnel and for oversight and monitoring of the Strategic Investment Board.
Branches within the Strategic Investment and Regeneration Division are as follows:
Strategic Investment Unit (SIU)
SIU was established to advise Ministers on the development and co-ordination of PPP policy and to monitor and evaluate its implementation. SIU carries out its work in conjunction with the finance and procurement teams in the Department of Finance and Personnel and supports the work of the Strategic Investment Board.
The unit is responsible for:
  • Providing advice to Ministers on the development and co-ordination of Public Private Partnership (PPP) .
  • The oversight and monitoring of the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) The SIB is a company limited by guarantee, wholly owned by the OFMDFM. It was created to provide a centre of excellence and expertise in project development, project management and procurement and provide guidance and support NI Departments on the appropriate use of PPP projects.

Public Private Partnership

We have responsibility, in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Personnel, for the development and co-ordination of Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in the public sector in Northern Ireland and the evaluation of its implementation.
Working with government departments and the Strategic Investment Board, we aim to develop knowledge and skills and identify new PPP models required to deliver the investment in the Northern Ireland infrastructure.
Regeneration of Sites
In May 2002, the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative was launched by the then Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Minister and deputy First Minister. This groundbreaking initiative was intended to provide a new momentum for social and economic regeneration in Northern Ireland.
As part of the initiative, the Government agreed to transfer to the Executive, without charge, a number of former security sites, namely Crumlin Road Gaol, security bases at Malone Road, Belfast and Magherafelt; Ebrington Barracks in Londonderry; and the Maze Prison/Long Kesh site, near Lisburn. The Maze/Long Kesh site is uniquely significant in this regeneration programme.

International Relations

Strategic Aim
To enhance our international message and develop mutually beneficial relationships with targeted countries, regions and organisations to secure investment, trade, tourism, students and to exchange knowledge and expertise.
Background
Under the devolution legislation, international relations and relations with the EU remain the responsibility for the UK Government. However, it is recognised that the devolved administrations will have an interest in international policy making in relation to devolved powers.
Under the Belfast Agreement the duties of the First Minister and deputy First Minister include dealing with and co-ordinating the work of the Executive Committee and the response of the Northern Ireland administration to external relationships.
Inward Visits
At home Ministers continue to meet with visiting foreign diplomats, politicians and key leaders as part of the Department’s strategic inward visit programme.
In 2012, International Relations Branch accommodated over 26 international visits to Northern Ireland including high profile visits such as, Chinese State Councillor Madame Liu Yandong , the Thai deputy Prime Minister ,the Thai Crown Prince and Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Columbia, South Korea, UAE, Canada and Australia.
Outward Visits
During 2012, FM and dFM visited USA, India, Dubai and China.
The First and deputy First Ministers international visits are targeted at initiating government to government relations or maintaining and enhancing relations.  The purpose of this is to raise Northern Ireland’s profile and promote the objectives and priorities of our Programme for Government. This will also lead into follow up work by other Ministers’ visits.

Bodies sponsored by this Directorate include:

Reinvestment and Reform Initiative

The Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI) was designed to address the major deficit in infrastructure and to modernise key services. The Initiative targets services such as water, health, transport and education and intends to reverse the damage caused to Northern Ireland’s public services by 30 years of focus on security issues.
Further information on the Strategic Investment Board can be found on their website. You can also view press releases and speeches related to RRI.

Contact the Economic Policy and Regeneration Directorate

Economic Policy Unit Strategic Investment and Reform Division
Rm E5.20, Castle Buildings Rm E5.25, Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SR Belfast BT4 3SR
Tel: 028 9052 3366 Tel: 028 9052 3443
Fax: 028 9052 2552 Fax: 028 9052 2552
Email: gillian.russell@ofmdfmni.gov.uk Email: lorraine.sinclair@ofmdfmni.gov.uk