Stage One of the Quinqennial Review of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency has been completed. The report has been made available to the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly's Libraries and on the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety's website.The purpose of Stage One was to establish whether there was a continuing need for the services provided by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency and, if so, to consider a range of options for delivering those services.The views of a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups including some from outside Northern Ireland were considered. These included Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) and HPSS Boards Trusts and Agencies, political parties and Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA). Various options for delivering the services—such as privatisation, contracting out/market testing, merger with another public body or reallocation of services to another public body—were considered. The review concluded that there was a continuing need for the services provided by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency and that agency status remained the best value for money option for delivering them.Stage Two of the review, which will begin shortly, will examine how the agency operates and make recommendations for how delivery of its services might be improved. I will inform the House of the outcome in due course.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(Mr. Desmond Browne)