A proposal for a new law (either from a Minister in the Executive, an Assembly Committee or an individual Member of the Assembly) is called a Bill. You will often hear of a Bill being referred to as a piece of "Legislation" or “Primary Legislation”.
Prior to a Bill being introduced to the Assembly there are a considerable number of steps which have to be undertaken to ensure that the legislation achieves the intended outcome. This will often involve a period of detailed policy development by civil servants in the responsible Department and a public consultation exercise. As part of this process the relevant statutory committee of the Assembly is also consulted by the Department and the Minister responsible will bring the proposals to the Executive for consideration. Detailed “Instructions” need to be prepared to allow the Bill to be drafted by the specialist team of lawyers in the Office of the Legislative Counsel in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).
The process continues with the Introduction of the Bill to the Assembly, which is followed by a Second Stage, a Committee Stage, then a Consideration Stage, a Further Consideration Stage and a Final Stage. The Bill can be changed at either of the Consideration stages as a result of recommendations arising from scrutiny at Committee Stage or debate in the House. Once a Bill has completed its passage in the Assembly it must receive Royal Assent before becoming Law i.e. an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Executive’s overall Legislative Programme is co-ordinated by the Legislative Programme Secretariat in OFMDFM.
- Functions of the Legislative Programme Secretariat
- Functions of the Office of the Legislative Counsel
Executive’s Legislative Programme
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2012 - 2013
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2011 - 2012
- Executive's Legislative Programme 15 May 2011 to summer recess 2011
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2010 - 2011
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2009 - 2010
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2008 - 2009
- Executive's Legislative Programme 2007 - 2008
- From Restoration on 8 May 2007 to summer recess 2007
Public Authorities Reform Bill
A Public Authorities Reform Bill which gives effect to some changes to certain public bodies following the Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland was co-ordinated by Legislative Programme Secretariat and received Royal Assent on 16 February 2009. All provisions other than those relating to Enterprise Ulster and the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board were commenced on 1 June 2009. A further commencement order will be required to bring into operation the Enterprise Ulster and Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board provisions.
Guidance on the Laying of Papers to the NI Assembly
The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on the procedures for laying documents before the Assembly, presenting papers to it, and depositing documents in the Assembly library.