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The Northern Ireland Executive

The Executive Division provides support and guidance for all the functions of the Executive, including Executive and Ministerial business in the Assembly in particular, legislation.
Executive Division also carries out the OFMDFM Departmental role of supporting the First Minister and deputy First Minister and Junior Ministers in relation to all aspects of their engagement with the Assembly, including questions, committees, statements, legislation and motions.
Read more about the work of the supporting branches:

Assembly Section

The main focus of business for Assembly Section is liaison with the Assembly on behalf of the Northern Ireland Departments.
Its principal functions are:
  • to assist the junior Ministers in their responsibilities for arranging Executive business in the Assembly;
  • to provide advice, support and training to NI Departments on Assembly Questions, Assembly Committees and on Assembly procedures in general;
  • to liaise with the Department's statutory Committee and co-ordinate and monitor all Assembly Questions (AQs) directed to the Department; and
  • to assist Departments in presenting papers to the Assembly.

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.

Executive Secretariat

The Executive Secretariat makes sure that the business of the Executive is carried out as efficiently and as effectively as possible. It supports the First Minister and deputy First Minister in their roles as joint Chairs of the Executive and it provides administrative and secretarial support for meetings of the Executive.
Executive Secretariat provides advice and guidance where required to Ministers and Departments on the application of the statutory Ministerial Code to their roles and responsibilities. It is also responsible for preparing guidance on a wide range of procedural matters relating to the role and conduct of Ministers.

Legislative Programme Secretariat

Functions of the Legislative Programme Secretariat
  • Preparation and monitoring of the Executive’s Primary Legislation Programme of Assembly Bills, including the provision of advice and reports to FM and dFM and the Executive.
  • Maintenance of procedures and provision of advice and guidance to departments on the processing of both primary and subordinate legislation (statutory rules).
  • Monitoring Assembly Private Members Bills, Westminster legislation extending to NI in the devolved field and subordinate legislation requiring Assembly approval, liaising with departments and advising on handling.
  • Provision of training on legislative procedures in conjunction with the Centre for Applied Learning.
  • Taking forward cross-cutting legislation where there is no other clear lead department.

Machinery of Government

Machinery of Government branch on behalf of the Executive provides a co-ordination role across the Northern Ireland Government Departments on business associated with the working and administration of devolved government including North South and East West matters.

Work of the Machinery of Government branch

We provide support for Ministers on a range of issues including:
  • North South Ministerial Council
  • Joint Ministerial Committee
  • British Irish Council
  • North West Gateway Initiative (see below)
  • Institutional and cross-cutting North South matters
  • Correspondence with other governments
  • Acting as a central point of contact for guidance and procedures on the business of government across the administration.

North West Gateway Initiative

The establishment of the North West Gateway Initiative (NWGI) was announced at the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference in May 2006. The NWGI was established to foster and encourage economic growth in the North West area, covering Derry, Limavady and Strabane and Donegal County Council. The objective was to provide a focus for sustained cooperative action from the two Governments which, over a period of time, would make a real difference to the region.
The Initiative has played an important role in providing a focus on the region and in encouraging practical co-operation from existing Departments and agencies on a North South basis in developing a range of projects.
The Executive has agreed that the current work programme should be reactivated, where appropriate, and completed with renewed contact with stakeholders. Work is being taken forward by a group of officials, from across Departments on a cross border basis.