22/05/2013

PAC Report Highlights Invest NI Concerns

A new report has said Invest NI's performance should be measured by actual outcomes rather than promises by investors.

The NI Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released its report into the performance of the organisation.

It added that it had seen "little evidence of meaningful, independent validation" of the Invest NI's performance data.

The report makes nine recommendations, and included the setting of formal targets for the number of actual jobs created, as opposed to posts a company hopes to establish with Invest NI help. A system to track jobs created was recently implemented but it will be several years before any meaningful data becomes available.

Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Michaela Boyle MLA, said they were "disappointed" the system had only recently been introduced, and it was of "particular concern" as Invest NI spent almost £520m on Selective Financial Assistance grants to companies over the past decade.

The Report also demonstrated problems with the quality of information available in relation to net job creation. It found that five of the largest companies which received Invest NI grant assistance of £144.5m before 2009 could not supply details of jobs lost within that period.

The report did contain some good news for Invest NI as the organisation achieved all of its nine key performance indicators between 2008 and 2011, representing an improvement on previous performance against targets. It added that the improvement appeared to be continuing in the 2011-15 period, despite the economic downturn.

(JP/CD)

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