Question Time – Finance and Personnel – Monday 16 November 2015

Question Time for Minister Foster began with the Minister answering questions on the Budget and Expenditure Limits and for an update on the financial position of the Northern Ireland Executive for the 2015/16 financial year. The Minister stated ” the UK spending review 2015 will determine the Executive’s Budget allocation for the five years commencing 2016-17. The outcome of the spending review will be announced on 25 November 2015. I will bring a Budget to the Executive and the Assembly for consideration after that date”.

Mr Buchanan asked the Minister for an update on the number of people who have left the Civil Service under the voluntary exit scheme and how staff are selected to leave. The Minister explained to the member that 866 employees left the Civil service on 30 September, a further 1,540 will leave between 30 November and 31 January, regarding the selection process the Minister told the house ” the selection criteria are being applied in order by Department grade, analogous grade and by discipline, where necessary, based on the numbers required by each Department to determine those who will exit under the scheme. The first criterion is the best value for money score, using the least cost, which is upfront compensation payment, and the maximum payback — the resultant wage savings in a one-year period. Where individuals are tied on that criterion, random selection is used thereafter. The decision on which staff are to leave has been devolved to departmental level because we felt that Departments were best placed to make the decisions on the staff that they need”.

The Minister was also asked questions on the New Minimum Wage for departmental budgets, Cicil Service Recruitment and Rate Relief for Sports Clubs.