“On the face of it, that is slightly disappointing…”

The Belfast Telegraph’s Insider column brings us OFMDFM officials Dale Heaney and James McEldowney’s verdict on the Northern Ireland Executive’s delivery, or not, on the Programme for Government 2008-2011.  They were appearing in front of the relevant Assembly committee.  From the Belfast Telegraph article

Mr Heaney argued that, in spite the impact of the economic downturn, ministers “have made, and continue to make, a significant difference to people’s lives”.

In introductory remarks to the hearing, he went on: “Delivery reports tend to focus on what remains to be done rather than on what has been done. Improvements could be made in striking a better balance between the positive and negative aspects of delivery.”

A pass mark for a particular commitment contained within the vast four-year programme means it has either been completed, is on the road to completion (‘amber/green’), or has at least been green-lighted.

“Of the key goals and commitments, 55% are rated as green, amber/green or completed,” Mr Heaney said. “On the face of it, that is slightly disappointing.”

On the face of it, that is slightly understating the situation.  And what we aren’t told is what percentage of the “key goals and commitments” were actually “completed”, rather than “green-lighted”.  That might be why the NI Executive hasn’t produced a new Programme for Government…

[But it’s been “stable”! – Ed]  Relatively… and where were they going to go?

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  • Brian Walker

    Well worth reading the actual report, eg the public service agreements for sectors in Annex 2. Amazing that the professional media who still I believe employ correspondents haven’t done a proper report. Will they ever?


    Strengths. It gives tabulated account of how abt £8 billion a year was spent. Not unenlightening.

    Weaknesses. It is up to a point self fulfilling – they set the targets. As under Blair there are too many targets, too tactical not strategic enough. Some tiny, some impossibly wide, as the civil servants explain,. But what a poor committee session! So this is scrutiny!

    It is not a full policy analysis of outcomes achieved/ not achieved and what new policy options are envisaged. Traffic lights are not good enough.

    So will we have a another list largely set by civil servants after all the fuss and bother of an election?

    What’s needed are first a proper programe for government with realistic policy objectives, qualitative as well as quantitative – not enough to say how much was spent but why, how and with what result -not a huge wish list. Fllow it up with strategic business plans eg


    and better still than the UK coalition and more manageable for a regional government, real cross-cutting progammes, as to be fair, one of the MLAs asked for.

  • Pete Baker


    You seem to have linked the delivery report up to 31 March 2010.

    There’s also a later one online, at the link in the original post, up to 30 September 2010.

    But this would appear to be about the final delivery report over the full period the Programme for Government was due to cover [2008-2011].

  • Cynic2

    Shouldn’t it be a Plan for Not Governing?

  • Cynic2

    In any case its the usual Civil Service jargon jungle designed to obscure meaning and pretend theres progress where there isn’t.