HC Deb 08 June 1976 vol 912 cc628-9W
Mr. Fitt

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he intends to make any changes in the structure and responsibilities of Northern Ireland Departments in the near future.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Yes. I have decided that following the retirement on 30th June 1976 of the present Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, who is also Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance, I shall separate the two functions and appoint separate Heads of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and of the Department of Finance. The Head of the NICS, who will continue, as in the past, to have direct access to me, will in future be specifically responsible for the co-ordination of the policies and programmes of all Northern Ireland Departments and for advising me on these matters, including the allocation of resources. His office will be at Stormont Castle in Belfast and he will be supported by a central secretariat, partly located at Stormont Castle and partly at Parliament Buildings.

The Head of the NICS will continue as before to be answerable to me for the direction and management of the Civil Service, and especially for recommendations on top appointments. For this it will be structurally and administratively appropriate for the present Civil Service Management Division of the Department of Finance to be an independent Department, and I intend to lay an Order in Council in the near future to give effect to this reorganisation as soon as possible.

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