The Executive Committee exercises executive authority on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and takes decisions on significant issues and matters which cut across the responsibility of two or more Ministers. It also agrees proposals put forward by Ministers for new legislation in the form of ‘Executive Bills’ for consideration by the Assembly. It is also responsible for drawing up a programme for government and an agreed budget for approval by the Assembly.
Appointed by the Assembly
The First Minister and deputy First Minister are nominated respectively by the largest parties of the largest and second largest political designations in the Assembly. Ministers of the Executive, with the exception of the Minister of Justice, are nominated by the political parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The number of Ministers which a party can nominate is determined by its share of seats in the Assembly.
The Minister of Justice is appointed through a nomination made by the First and deputy First Minister acting jointly and approved by a cross-community resolution of the Assembly. The First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly and each Minister has responsibility for a specific Northern Ireland government department.
The Ministerial Code sets out the rules and procedures to which all ministers must adhere. It includes the Pledge of Office, the Ministerial Code of Conduct, and the Seven Principles of Public Life, as well as provisions governing the functioning of the Executive Committee.