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Public Bodies

Volume 228: debated on Thursday 8 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to whom each of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office is responsible; whether the public bodies or their members in each case are subject to (a) surcharge, (b) investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner, (c) scrutiny by the Audit Commission or National Audit Office, (d) the statutory provisions for open government which apply to local authorities, (e) performance indicators and (f) provisions under the citizens charters; and whether the chairpersons and members of the boards of each of these bodies are required to declare an interest.

[holding answer 6 July 1993]:Available information can be obtained from the following publications, copies of which are held in the Library.

  • (i) "Public Bodies 1992" lists the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments and includes the audit arrangements for each executive non-departmental public body.
  • The responsibilities of the Audit Commission or National Audit Office do not extend to the six Northern Ireland Departments, which have their own similarly appointed body—the Northern Ireland Audit Office.
  • (ii) The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints is responsible for undertaking the investigation of complaints against non-departmental public bodies. The Commissioner for Complaints (Northern Ireland) Act 1969 and the "Statutes Revised (2nd edition) Cumulative Supplement" list the non-departmental public bodies subject to investigation by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints.
  • All public servants are subject to the citizens charter and non-departmental public bodies are therefore encouraged through their sponsor Departments to adopt charter principles.The other information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.