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Ministers welcome recommendations of first public sector Innovation Lab

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Finance and Personnel Minister Simon Hamilton MLA have welcomed proposed outcomes from the first Northern Ireland public sector Innovation Lab.

The recommendations are the result of an Innovation Lab, held in June this year as part of the Review of Business Red Tape, which focused on the operation of Regulatory Impact Assessments, in particular consideration of introducing independent scrutiny to support more effective assessments.

Speaking at a presentation in Clare House, Belfast, Arlene Foster said: “The need to ensure our Public Services are fit for purpose and able to maximise on skills in an increasingly global economy is more important than ever. The Innovation Labs are part of the public sector reform agenda aimed at solving defined problems. Excessive or overly complex regulations impede innovation and can lead to unnecessary barriers to trade, investment and economic growth. The purpose of this Lab was to identify options and proposals that would lead to the improvement in the quality of Regulatory Impact Assessments being produced by all Departments. The outcomes of this particular Lab have fed into the wider Review of Business Red Tape which is due to report to me shortly.

“I would like to thank all of those involved in the Innovation Lab which included policy officials, members of the business community and independent experts. I am pleased that this initiative has enabled the direct involvement of business representatives in shaping solutions on key policy issues within the Public Sector. Engagement with a range of stakeholders are key to ensuring issues are examined from new and differing perspectives in order to reach the best outcomes. The work being done here, as part of this Lab, will contribute towards the improvement of the quality of Impact Assessments as well as enhancing the regulatory environment in Northern Ireland.”

Minister Hamilton added: “Since coming to office, I have highlighted the need for the public service to examine how to do things differently, with a focus on the service user rather than outdated systems and delivery processes. The Innovation Laboratory is a great example of a new approach which facilitates greater collaboration across government and with external partners, promoting a more rounded view of the needs of the society they serve.

“I am delighted that this exercise on regulatory impact assessment has proved to be beneficial. It is my ambition that the new Public Sector Innovation Lab will be used to tackle increasingly complex and challenging issues.”


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