Scrutinising the Executive Committee
After a Northern Ireland Assembly election, the Assembly appoints the Executive Committee also known as the Northern Ireland Government. Ministers, including the First Minister and deputy First Minister, lead Government Departments responsible for delivering important public services. The Assembly has to pass any Bills that Ministers introduce before they can become laws. Ministers also have the power to make operational decisions that do not require Assembly approval.
As the elected body, the Assembly holds the Executive to account on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland. It scrutinises the actions of Ministers and their Departments, including proposals for new laws - Bills. The Assembly does this through its work in the Assembly Chamber and in Committees.
Following the election on 5 May 2016, for the first time, arrangements were put in place to allow for an Official Opposition. Two parties entitled to a seat on the Executive, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, decided not to nominate Ministers but to be recognised as the first Official Opposition. An Official Opposition has extra financial and research resources and extra speaking rights in the Chamber. They can also set the Assembly's business agenda on 10 plenary days per year.