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The Assembly & Executive

What is the difference between the Assembly and the Executive?

The power-sharing government of Northern Ireland consists of the Assembly and the Executive.  They carry out different roles.

The Assembly is made up of MLAs elected by the people of Northern Ireland to represent their views. The Assembly meets in the Assembly Chamber of Parliament Buildings in the grounds of the Stormont Estate in Belfast.

The Executive Committee, is made up of Ministers. They are MLAs who are chosen by the Assembly to manage Government Departments. Ministers make decisions about the services that we all need, such as hospitals, schools, roads and public transport. They meet in Stormont Castle, which is another part of the Stormont Estate.

Ministers also suggest new laws, called Bills. The work of the Executive must be passed by the Assembly before it can be implemented. The Assembly may recommend changes before approving the work of the Executive.

As Ministers are appointed by the Assembly, the Assembly checks that they are doing a good job. This is called 'scrutiny', or holding the Ministers to account.

Play the video to find out more about how the Assembly and Executive work together.