“The new arrangements will see a clear separation of policy development from service delivery..”

I’m not sure how this is expected to work in practice in a centralised body.. nor if this was one of the objections mentioned earlier.. But according to the iol report – not yet announced elsewhere – there has, after all, been a development with the Education and Skills Authority. From the iol report

[Northern Ireland Education Minister Caitriona Ruane said] “The original proposal was that the ESA would have between 8 and 12 members, with no positions reserved for local elected representatives. However, I was not satisfied that the ESA would be an effective champion for education without democratic input. Therefore, I have decided that the majority of members of the ESA should be local councillors.”

That seems some way from the RPA’s originally recommended role for the ESA [pdf file]

The ESA will administer the education system within the framework of policy, legislation and accountability established by [Department of Education]. The relationship will not be one of ‘command and control’, but of ‘empower and hold to account’.

Some might prefer a second tier of political involvement.. And not just any particular Education Minister.. Adds NIA Bill 3/08 Education BillThat recommended overview in full [pdf file]

1. DE will focus on leading the Education system, setting the direction and the outcomes that are being sought for children and young people. The ESA will administer the education system within the framework of policy, legislation and accountability established by DE. The relationship will not be one of ‘command and control’, but of ‘empower and hold to account’. It will be characterised by the following:

· a clear reporting and accountability framework;

· access by DE to the full range of operational and statistical information held by the ESA;

· the inclusion of those functions of ESA that have a direct impact on the quality of teaching and learning within the remit of the Education and Training Inspectorate which will be formally part of DE but, as at present, will be operationally independent; and

· effective challenge mechanisms for DE, including the power to direct the ESA, and power to remove, in specified circumstances, the Chairman and/or other members of the ESA board.

And how does that work in a centralised body with the involvement of elected “local councillors” and area-based plans as set out by the Bain report?

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