“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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  • cynic

    Again the Minister has managed to wreck what was proposed. Either she has no idea how to manage an organisation or this is deliberate. By adding in a majority of councillors at a stroke she

    1 destroys the proposed balance of power planned for the new relationships

    2 politicises the entire process (possibly her intention)

    2 totally undermines the concept of accountability. It’s now a confused mess again with no-one responsible, layers of petty interference and therefore no one who can be held to account. Which probably suits her Department very well.

  • Pete Baker


    But are any of our MLAs objecting?

  • cynic

    Why would they. More jobs for the boys …there is a recession on you know and we don’t need all those pesky teachers anyway

  • Barnshee

    The brain dead and the politically one eyed councillors associated with education.
    How big a laughing stock is Ruane going to make of herself before she implodes

  • Driftwood

    Another bureaucratic morass, I couldn’t make head nor tail of those proposals, couched in pseudo management speak, so as to be devoid of meaning.
    Our economy is corruptly creating public service jobs — endless co-ordinators of facilitation and facilitators of co-ordination — but not many in the private sector, the only true measure of economic health and growth. Any fool can create public sector jobs, and Mr Brown has done so: but not even the most brilliant man can make them economically productive in the long term.

  • Mack

    Driftwood – you’re bang on, but unfortunately without real fiscal powers wrt to tax – there’s not much the executive can do to spur (real) job creation. Hence, there is probably an in built tendendcy to expand the public sector..

  • Driftwood

    I thought the whole point of RPA, and the creation of the ESA, was to reduce the massive duplication of ‘work’ by amalgamating departments and quangoes in to more compressed units. Clearly the vested interests and associated political apparatchiks have brought influence to bear. Ruane isn’t going to risk take. It’s all too depressingly familiar.

    an effective champion for education? What does this mean? Whatever you want I suppose.

  • Driftwood

    Have a read at Petes link to DENI on RPA

    This article is about the NHS but sums up the whole charade…..


  • cynic



    Yep. And when you make a layer of them politicians the problems will multiply!!! Oh well…it keeps them off the streets.

  • Driftwood

    The political dimension adds a cement layer over any attempt to real change. Not that there was much chance of that anyway. Deckchairs on the Titanic with Captain Ruane.