• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the extent to which Members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly have been successful in carrying out their functions.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Assess the extent to which Members of the Legislative Assembly have been successful in carrying out their functions. [26] MLAs have three main duties: scrutiny, legislating and representing. MLAs have come under sustained attack for what many perceive to be their failure to carry out the functions assigned to them by the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements. Careerism, party loyalty, ignorance and incompetence have all been given as reasons for this failure. In examining whether or not this is a justified belief, a good place to start is looking at how MLAs have been unsuccessful in their scrutiny role. Many feel that they have not been effective in scrutinising the Executive, for a variety of reasons, such as their self-interest. For example, MLAs may fear that if they scrutinise the Executive too much, especially if it is a minister from their own party, then they might lose their position in the party or miss out on the opportunity for promotion. It has been argued that MLAs are too self-interested to properly hold the Executive to account, and the recent expenses scandal would be evidence for this. The dominance of the Assembly by the two leading parties has also been cited as a cause of poor scrutiny. This is especially so with the abuse of the Petition of Concern. ...read more.

Middle

A DUP or SF committee member therefore is highly unlikely to challenge a Minister from their own party. Committees are often engineered to give the Minister 'protection', meaning heavy hitters in the party are brought in to support their Minister. This does not lead to good scrutiny. The alternative view is that this is far too harsh a judgement of MLAs, many of whom have become increasingly active in scrutiny and in participating in the legislative process. A key way that MLA scrutinise the executive is through debates. Moreover, debates are another way that MLAs have been successful in holding the executive to account. Debates take place during plenary meetings in the Assembly Chamber on Mondays and Tuesdays. MLAs debate Bills, particularly Executive bills, at several stages during the law-making process. At the Second Stage they debate the general principles of the Bill and decide if it is a law that the Assembly thinks it should pass. There are no time limits on legislative debates ? all MLAs who wish to speak must be given the opportunity to do so. There are also opportunities to hold the Executive to account through adjournment debates. An Adjournment debate is possible at the end of each plenary sitting and can last for up to one hour. The purpose of an Adjournment debate is to promote debate on a matter without requiring the Assembly to come to a decision. ...read more.

Conclusion

MLAs can represent their constituents by asking questions related to their needs. There are four types of question: Questions for Oral Answer; Questions for Urgent Oral Answer (to Ministers in the Chamber); Written Questions; and Priority Written Questions. Ministers must reply to Questions for Oral Answer during a plenary meeting of the Assembly in the Assembly Chamber. This meeting is known as Question Time. It is a very public way for Ministers to explain what they and their Department are doing. Question Time takes place in the Assembly Chamber between 2.00pm and 3.30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. For example, in 2015 Jo-Anne Dobson who is the UUP MLA for Upper Bann asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for his assessment of the impact the Minister of Education's decision to withdraw the funding for the Early Years Fund will have on the health and well-being of the children in her constituency. However, some would argue that this is only because they are looking for re-election rather than genuinely caring about their constituents. To conclude, MLAs have generally been successful in carrying out their roles as representatives, legislators and scrutinisers. However, there are still aspects that could be improved, such as the petition of concern. The decision of the UUP and SDLP to go into opposition after the most recent election will change how MLAs are able to carry out these functions and hopefully it will lead to better scrutiny, but only time will tell how effective this will be. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Evaluate the above statement and consider the extent to which you think it is ...

    other reason than that they are members of the same party, elected on the basis of the same policies. In any event, the Prime Minister holds the deciding vote in Cabinet meetings, and in extremis can override a majority. Even the most cursory examination of the facts of governance in

  2. Assess the view that since 2007 the Northern Ireland Assembly has been a legislative ...

    become more experienced in assessing the merits of Executive legislative proposals and in putting forward viable alternatives. A further example of the Assembly passing effective legislation is the plastic bag levy by Environment Minister Mark Durkan SDLP. This piece of legislation borrowed on legislation in Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

  1. Assess the view that, since 2007, politics in Northern Ireland is increasingly dominated by ...

    There will now be parties openly heckling and challenging decisions from the outside. First Minister Arlene Foster simply said that the parties were, ?searching for relevance,? after their poor election results. Smaller parties will continue to play a significant political role, such as Alliance.

  2. Northern Ireland. Assess the view that MLAs have been effective in holding the ...

    At the Second Stage they debate the general principles of the Bill and decide if it is a law that the Assembly thinks it should pass. There are no time limits on legislative debates ? all MLAs who wish to speak must be given the opportunity to do so.

  1. Is the House of Commons effective at carrying out its various functions?

    This is the 1911 Act of Parliament. The final stage in the Royal Ascent is the process by which the queen signs the bill. The Act of Parliament has now gone into the statute book and must now be obeyed by all citizens of the UK.

  2. Assess the reasons why the Alliance Party has always struggled in Northern Ireland politics. ...

    More recently, the strategic shifts in the positions of the DUP and Sinn Fein to occupy more ?moderate? positions has added to the difficulties faced by the Alliance Party. This includes the recent Fresh Start Agreement of 2015. The DUP and SF committed to ending paramilitarism and tackling organised crime,

  1. Explain the parliamentary stages through which government bills must pass before becoming law, making ...

    This questioning is typically seen as a political debate. As per s19 of the Human Rights Act (HRA), the Minister in charge of the bill would have to make a statement whether the Bill is in line with HRA and if the bill is not in line with HRA, the

  2. What was Thatcherism and was it Successful?

    needed benefits paid for by the taxpayer. However public borrowing was a success with the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR) significantly reduced and by 1990 the government was borrowing less and had embarked on a substantial debt reduction programme. It is certainly true that by the end of Thatcher's time

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work