Northern Ireland (United Kingdom): Implementing Joined-up Governance for a Common Purpose

image of Northern Ireland (United Kingdom): Implementing Joined-up Governance for a Common Purpose

Northern Ireland is currently undertaking public administration reforms organised around three main objectives: improving strategic approaches, improving operational delivery of services to citizens and businesses, and improving engagement with people. This review supports those reforms by providing an assessment and recommendations on a wide range of issues, including strategy-setting and co-ordination, strategic government-wide human resources management, open government, regulatory reform and digital government. It highlights areas where Northern Ireland possesses strengths upon which to build future reforms and suggests actions for the future. This is the first Public Governance Review to be conducted by the OECD at the subnational level.




In 2014, the Government of Northern Ireland asked the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to provide an assessment of its public-sector reform agenda. The necessity for Northern Ireland to pursue public-administration reform is explained by three factors: first, fiscal pressures on the Northern Ireland budget as a result of reductions in the United Kingdom grants to Northern Ireland that reflect the United Kingdom’s general fiscal consolidation efforts mean that Northern Ireland is designing and delivering public services in a context of diminishing financial resources. Second, because of this, public-administration reform constitutes a key element of the 2011-15 Programme for Government (PfG) and the political agreement between Northern Ireland’s political parties codified in the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement. Third, reform is being designed and delivered against the exigencies of what the Agreement calls a Divided Society – a polity marked by persistent, long-standing community fault-lines.


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