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Explanatory Memorandum to Agriculture (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Commentary on Articles

11.After the introductory and commencement provisions the order has three main parts reflecting the three main purposes described above.

Note: comments are not given where the wording is considered to be self-explanatory.

Article 1 – in addition to the title of the Order this Article sets out the commencement arrangements. Some provisions come into effect one month after the Order is made while others will be brought into effect by subordinate legislation at appropriate times to fit with the implementation timetable.

Article 3 creates AFBI and sets out its functions. It provides that the functions can be altered by subordinate legislation. It also introduces Schedule 1 in which much of the detailed arrangements are set out (status, arrangements for the Board, remuneration, staffing, assistance, committees, finance, annual reports, Commissioner for Complaints and Freedom of Information provisions).

Articles 4- 6provide that work assigned by the Department and agreed in a work programme will become a statutory obligation on AFBI to do. In seeking commercial work AFBI must not prejudice the agreed work programme. This Article also contains important powers for the Department to give directions to AFBI though these directions should not put AFBI in breach of an existing contractual obligation.

Article 7 provides some of the enabling freedoms normally enjoyed by NDPBs. However where appropriate there are stipulations for obtaining prior approvals from the Department and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Article 8 introduces Schedule 2 which sets out the detailed arrangements for the transfer to AFBI of certain property, rights, liabilities and staff of the Department. Schedule 2 provides for transfer orders to be made at appropriate times (to allow flexibility in case of variations to timetables).

Article 9 – provides powers to dissolve AFBI.

Article 10 provides for the dissolution of ARINI and introduces Schedule 3 which sets out the detailed arrangements for the transfer to the Department or AFBI of certain property, rights, liabilities and staff of ARINI. As with Schedule 2, Schedule 3 provides for transfer orders to be made at appropriate times (to allow flexibility in case of variations to timetables). Schedule 3 also provides for transitional accounting and reporting arrangements for ARINI.

Article 11 amends Section 5 of the Agriculture Act (Northern Ireland) 1949. The revised wording updates and clarifies the 1949 Act provisions. In particular it makes it clear that educational provision can include providing financial assistance and that assisting with research can be in any manner the Department thinks fit.

Article 12(1)provides that subordinate orders to amend the functions of AFBI or to dissolve AFBI have to be subject to affirmative resolution of the Assembly.

Article 12(2)relates to the need to provide for any sub-delegation in an Order. In this Order the power is only likely to be used in connection with Article 9 (possible future dissolution of AFBI).

Article 12(3) means that the orders transferring assets do not have to be printed, published, numbered and indexed as statutory rules on the basis that the orders are not of general public interest.

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