Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

DoE is rapped for slow responses to Assembly

The Department of the Environment has by far the worst record on answering Assembly questions, with 68.7% of replies late.

More than half of questions put to the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers (OFMDFM) were also answered late last year.

The Department of Justice was the best with only 0.9% late.

But Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness’ s OFMDFM was the second worst with 57.4%. The DoE stands out, with only 31.3% of questions answered on time.

Alliance chief whip Stewart Dickson said: “Assembly questions are a key part of the democratic accountability of Government.

“It ensures that MLAs can effectively scrutinise ministers and their departments.

“Any department that is not able to efficiently answer questions is therefore preventing ministers being held to account.

“It has long been an issue of quarrel between MLAs and departments over the length of time that it has taken to answer some questions — with a few questions taking over a year to be answered.

“So I was not surprised by some of the statistics.”

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