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Northern Ireland Office: Cost-saving

Volume 709: debated on Monday 16 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 9 February (WA 165–66) concerning cost-saving measures implemented by the Northern Ireland Office, what is the disproportionate cost to provide an Answer to Questions; who calculates it; and how. [HL1593]

The disproportionate cost threshold for providing an Answer to a Parliamentary Question is £750.

The area of the department responsible for answering a Parliamentary Question assesses the costs involved, including staff and other resources, and whether this represents disproportionate cost.

In relation to the Answer given on 9 February (Official Report, cols. WA 165-66), disproportionate cost has been cited because to provide a more detailed breakdown of departmental efficiency gains than that published in the Northern Ireland Office's autumn performance report 2008 would require an extensive manual investigation of records.

This would involve investigating files to collate information on 170 separate efficiency initiatives and associated targets. Monitoring of the 170 agreed initiatives commenced in 2005 and was done bi-monthly until 2008. To determine the progress of each individual initiative would require significant staff resources, which would be in excess of the £750 disproportionate cost threshold.