Cutting red tape and bureaucracy – another step forward

Another major milestone in the drive to cut excessive bureaucracy in government funding to the voluntary and community sector has been reached with the publication of a new report, Addressing Bureaucracy.

The Addressing Bureaucracy working group was established in response to the NI Audit Office report on the relationship between government and the sector. Both the Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee reports agreed that excessive bureaucracy with ever increasing demands over the years has skewed resources from the actual funded activity to over reporting.

DSD Permanent Secretary Will Haire set up the working group to effectively tackle the issues. He involved the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Finance and Personnel Stephen Peover; Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General and; Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive of NICVA.

Seamus McAleavey said: “In response to the frustration felt by so many of our member organisations, this issue has been one of the first things NICVA has raised with every Social Development Minister since devolution. We understood it was very difficult to deal with, as effective financial reporting is essential but needs to be proportionate in cost terms, so Minister McCausland and his officials should be commended for leading on this complex piece of work.

"We have now made real progress and this would not have happened without the leadership of the Heads of DSD, DFP, the NIAO and the support of the Public Accounts Committee."

In his foreword to the report, Will Haire said, “I fully recognise that the production of the report is only the first step, but is a key one in that it has established a common platform from which we can move to implementing the key recommendations. In doing so, it is absolutely vital that we work collectively across Government, and with the VCS, if we are to make a real difference in tackling disproportionate bureaucracy."

The report makes 19 recommendations for implementation across government in general not just DSD. The full document with and executive summary and list of recommendations is available here.

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