Northern Ireland has a long history of reports and reviews. Bengoa into health, Bain into education, the more recent Fair Start into educational underachievement, and the Patten Report into policing.
A review is under way into special educational needs provision, an independent review of education is taking a look at the entire system.
There are scores more. Sadly, they are only started when something isn’t going well.
But being seen to be trying to do something about failures isn’t what it should all be about.
There’s little point in commissioning a report and then picking and choosing what best suits before it inevitably drifts past its sell-by date.
There’s likely been an excavation deep under the hill at Stormont where a vast storage unit has been installed to keep all the recommendations, all welcomed at the time but mostly forgotten when the hard work had to be done. We even find ourselves reviewing something that a report was published on several years before.
It won’t be long before there’s a call for a review into how reports are implemented.
In 2019, the Gillen Review was published. It was heralded as a new dawn for how Northern Ireland deals with the laws and procedures around sexual offences.
When it appeared, retired judge Sir John Gillen made 253 recommendations. Three years on, just 34% have been fully implemented (page 18).
The slow wheels of justice are matched only by the slow wheels of Stormont.
And what hope now of any speeding up of the process with the Assembly sitting idle?
Last year, the number of rape offences reported in Northern Ireland was more than double the number 10 years previously.
The number of sexual offences increased dramatically too.
When there is a continued message to victims that the help and support is there, that they should come forward and they will find the justice the need, should we not do more to make that a reality?
The world moves quickly. We have to keep up.