Northern Ireland

NI Executive: First Minister announces new department names

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Media captionPeter Robinson said there would be greater efficiency following the changes

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has formally announced the names of the nine new Stormont departments that will replace the current 12 in 2016.

Mr Robinson made a statement to the assembly setting out the new arrangements.

The parties committed to reducing the number of departments from 12 to nine, before the 2016 election.

The reduction was suggested during the Stormont House Agreement.

Mr Robinson said on Monday that the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) would now be known as The Executive Office.

The other departments will be as follows:

  • Department for Communities
  • Department for the Economy
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health
  • Department for Infrastructure
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Mr Robinson said no functions were being done away with, and "no policies terminated" as a result of the changes.

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Image caption The reduction in the number of departments was suggested during the Stormont House Agreement

"Staff will follow functions, and there may be a certain amount of early disruption," he added.

"But once the changes have been effected, there will undoubtedly be greater efficiency."

He said the executive had also agreed the drafting of a Departments Bill and a Transfer of Functions Order to provide a legislative basis for the changes.

"We aim to introduce the Departments Bill to the assembly after the Easter Recess," he added.

"A more detailed Transfer of Functions Order will be available for assembly scrutiny later this year.

"There will be extensive opportunity for the assembly to consider and debate these changes."

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