6 September 2016

The Committee for the Economy - What does it do and how does it work?

What is the purpose of the Committee?

The Committee for the Economy was established to advise and assist the Minister on matters within his/her responsibility. The Committee undertakes a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Department for the Economy and plays a key role in the consideration and development of legislation.

How does it work?

The Committee determines its forward work plan at the beginning of each session. It does this by looking at the topics which the Department has responsibility for, and researching which areas need to be improved or examined. The Committee liaises with stakeholders on matters of concern to them, and incorporates what issues the Department will be focusing on, as well as what legislation it plans to bring forward. All of this information enables the Committee to formulate its work plan for the year ahead.

Monitoring Rounds

Throughout the year, the Committee examines and monitors Departmental policy and financial spending, scrutinises proposed legislation, and conducts inquiries into areas of current interest. The Committee examines ‘Quarterly Monitoring Rounds’ which are reports produced by the Department, outlining the expenditure of the Department. The reports detail how the Department has spent its allocated monies to date, if it is able to surrender any unused money, if it intends to make any spending changes to what was agreed in the overall Budget, and whether it needs to bid for any additional funds. There are three Monitoring Rounds each year: June, October and January.

Future Policies

The Committee invites the Minister and Departmental Officials to attend meetings on a regular basis, to update and inform the Committee Members on the implementation of any current and future policies. Committee Members have this opportunity to directly question the Minister and Departmental Officials on their work.


The Committee will produce a number of reports on its work which will outline the decision making process behind its findings and recommendations.

Who sits on the Committee?

There are 11 MLAs on the Committee for the Economy:

Committee Membership (correct as of  5th September 2016)
  • Committee Chairperson: Mr Conor Murphy (Sinn Féin) Newry and Armagh
  • Deputy Chairperson: Mr Steve Aiken OBE (Ulster Unionist Party) South Antrim
  • Ms Caoimhe Archibald (Sinn Féin) East Londonderry
  • Ms Sinead Bradley (SDLP) South Down
  • Mr Tom Buchanan (Democratic Unionist Party) West Tyrone
  • Mr Alan Chambers (Ulster Unionist Party) North Down
  • Mr Gordon Dunne MBE (Democratic Unionist Party) North Down
  • Dr Stephen Farry (Alliance) North Down
  • Mr Gordon Lyons (Democratic Unionist Party) East Antrim
  • Mr Alex Maskey (Sinn Féin) West Belfast
  • Mr Mervyn Storey (Democratic Unionist Party) North Antrim

How can I get involved with the work of the Committee?

There are lots of ways you can keep up to date with the work of the Committee:

Attend meetings

The Committee for the Economy usually meets each Wednesday at 10.00am, when the Assembly is in session. If you are interested in attending check the business diary to confirm the details and plan your visit.

Watch/listen live

You can watch the Committee’s meetings live via niassembly.tv, or if you missed it, the video or audio will be available by the next working day on the Committee's section of niassembly.tv


Subscribe to the Committee’s newsfeed on their Committee page and get a weekly update on the work of the Committee, direct to your inbox.

Share your views

The Committee will ask for your views on their areas of interest. They will advertise in newspapers, via twitter and Facebook, in the weekly Committee newsletter and on the Committee’s webpage.


You can follow the Committee on Twitter @NIAEconomy


You can also get in touch with the Committee by writing to the Committee Clerk:

Peter Hall
Room 347,
Parliament Buildings,
Ballymiscaw, Stormont,
Belfast, BT4 3XX

Tel: (028) 90 521799

Email: Committee.Economy@niassembly.gov.uk

Or contact Committee Members directly - their contact details are available on the Assembly website. 

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