Northern Ireland Election 2016

A political makeover at Stormont

Stormont Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption A new set of MLA's arrived at Stormont on Monday, following elections last Thursday

Stormont's system of government is set for a makeover.

The new buzzwords are to be "outcomes" and "indicators".

They are words most people living in Scotland or Finland will be very familiar with.

Because Stormont's administrators have been studying what happens in those countries and they like what they see.

Scotland has a series of sixteen National Outcomes which describe what the Government there wants to do over the next ten years.

This so-called outcomes based approach to government focuses on actual results achieved.

Image copyright iStock
Image caption The Scottish Parliament has sixteen outcomes which describe what the government aim to achieve over the next ten years

The theory is it allows the government and wider public sector to focus on making sustainable improvements to public services and the quality of life for people in Scotland.

A series of indicators allow them to track progress towards the achievements of these outcomes.

Sources close to the negotiations for a programme for government at Stormont say this is the model they intend to follow.

One source said it is about "doing things differently" and denied the change was merely cosmetic.

As a first step a "framework" programme for government will be produced in just over a fortnight. It will then go out to consultation.

At the end of this year it will be replaced with a detailed programme for government.

There will also be a budget, not for one year but for the next three to four years.

And there will be documents setting out strategies on the economy, capital investment and social policy strategy.

Sources say this is not a programme for one Assembly mandate but for a 10 - 15 year period.

They say it will also require the civil service to be "more outward facing."

Politically, this seems the model Sinn Féin and the DUP intend to move forward with - with or without the other parties.

Can the SDLP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance agree to go into the next Executive on the basis of a "framework" programme knowing they won't get the real detail for another seven months?

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