Saturday, 10 October 2009

'Arms Length' Departmental Bodies

The way that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure was set up it has more arms-length bodies than any other department.  They include the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Sport NI, National Museums Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Library Authority and Northern Ireland Screen, as well as some smaller bodies.  Each of them has its own board and its own chief executive and so I have also decided to hold bi-monthly meetings with the chairs and chief-executives of the main arms-length bodies.

Departmental officials already hold formal accountability meetings with all these bodies but these meetings are intended to be more thematic and in each case I have put a ‘shared and better future’ high on the agenda at the first meeting.

The meetings will ensure that I have regular personal contact with the lead agency in each area of my remit and good regular communication is extremely important.  I have already met some of the chairs and chief executives for a first meeting and it was most encouraging to hear them say that they too valued this regular contact.

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