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18 new bills presented to the Assembly

24 October, 2007

Measures to improve the State Pension, restructure education bodies and overhaul the regulation of charities are among the 18 Bills the Executive has identified for the 2007/2008 assembly Session.

In a letter to the Speaker William Hay, the First Minister the Rt Hon Dr Ian Paisley MP, MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA advised the Assembly of the Executive's planned Legislative Programme for the current session up to July 2008.

The Ministers described it as a "vital and tangible stage" in the development and implementation of the Executive's objective of securing real benefits and improvements across the full range of its responsibilities.

Including three Bills which are currently under consideration by the Assembly, the 18 Bills include measures to improve the State Pension, restructure Education bodies, overhaul the regulation and governance of charities, revise the child maintenance system, improve the capacity to prevent the introduction and spread of animal diseases (including Foot and Mouth Disease) and put in place new procedures to allow for the registration of deaths, to help in particular, the families of "the disappeared".

In the letter, the First Minister and the deputy First Minister emphasised the importance which the Executive attaches to the Legislative Programme.

Dr Paisley and Mr McGuinness are tabling a motion which will allow the Assembly the opportunity to discuss the content of their announcement.

Notes to Editors:

Executive Committee Legislative Programme 2007-2008

Diseases of Animals (DARD)

The Bill contains provisions which will:

  • protect and improve NI's animal health status through enhanced disease prevention, biosecurity and control measures;
  • enable policies to be introduced reflecting the latest developments in research and technology to trace and combat disease; and
  • clarify and extend existing enforcement powers and introduce measures to deal with certain types of offences.

Education Reform (DE)

To restructure education bodies (DE, Boards and NDPBs) and their functions in line with Review of Public Administration.

Road Freight (Licensing of Operators) (DOE)

To ensure the safe and proper use of goods vehicles, ensure fair competition in the industry, protect the environment around operating centres, enable more effective enforcement and contribute to a reduction in organised crime.

Building Regulations (Amendment) (DFP)

To allow the Department to write regulations to promote sustainable development and further the enhancement and protection of the environment. To enhance district council's powers to address dangerous buildings. To move the building regulations away from current "deemed to satisfy" provisions towards a guidance-based system.

Budget 2008 (DFP)

Supplementary Estimates 2007-2008 & Vote on Account for 2008 - 2009

Presumption of Death (DFP)

The proposed legislation will create a single and comprehensive procedure in Northern Ireland for obtaining a court order which would declare a missing person to be presumed dead and which would be binding for all purposes, specifically the registration of the missing person's death.

Budget (No 2) (DFP)

Main Estimates 2008-2009.

Civil Registration (DFP)

The civil registration reform will provide for improved service delivery, better access to services and information and the introduction of new and more responsive services. It will also involve much wider use of technology to improve customer service.

Children (Emergency Protection Orders) (DHSSPS)

To remove an incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights of a procedural aspect connected with Emergency Protection Orders in respect of children.

Public Health Amendment (DHSSPS)

To permit the Department to make regulations in connection with contamination, and thus comply with World Health Organisation International Health Regulations.

Charities (DSD)

To provide for better regulation and governance of all charities operating in Northern Ireland.

Pensions (DSD)

To improve coverage, generosity and sustainability of the State Pension and enact some simplification measures in private pensions.

Mesothelioma (DSD)

The Bill will provide for people with mesothelioma to be paid a lump sum compensation payment within 6 weeks of making a claim. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which is invariably fatal. The Bill will ensure sufferers of mesothelioma can receive compensation and benefit from it while at the same time knowing that their families will be secure in the future.

Child Maintenance (DSD)

The Bill contains provisions which will:

  • enable parents to make a choice about their child maintenance by removing the requirement for parents with care who claim benefits to be treated as applying for child maintenance;
  • encourage parents to make their own arrangements by increasing the amount of maintenance that parents with care on benefit can keep before it affects their benefits;
  • simplify and streamline the child maintenance assessment process; and improve collection and enforcement processes and increase efforts to collect and manage debts.

Public Authorities Reform (OFMDFM)

To abolish the Fisheries Conservancy Board and the Northern Ireland Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board and amend the appointment processes in relation to certain other bodies.

Three of the Bills which were introduced to the Assembly before the summer recess, ie Health (Miscellaneous Provisions), Taxis and Libraries (and which are currently at Committee stage) bring the total number of Bills to be progressed through the 2007/08 session to 18.

Details of the three Bills currently under consideration by the Assembly:

Libraries - DCAL
Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) - DHSSPS
Taxis - DOE

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