asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 29 September (WA 317), why the number of staff employed in the Northern Ireland Office has risen from 1,909 to 2,088 since 2005; and what policies and proposals for cutting staff numbers in the Northern Ireland Office and the civil service have been in place or announced since 2004. [HL5447]
The 2004 spending review set stretching efficiency targets for all departments. The additional resources released by efficiency gains were to be re-allocated to front-line services, leading to improvements in public services. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) committed to reduce civil servant headcount by 128 as part of the spending review. The NIO achieved this headcount by reducing central administrative posts within the core NIO. The efficiency gains this released allowed more front-line staff to be recruited, leading to increased headcount in the NIO's agencies.