Review of Public Administration (RPA)

This section of the Agency’s website provides guidance for employees and employers affected by proposals under the RPA to promote a better understanding of the employment relations issues which will arise as a result of the review and the framework for advice, guidance and support which is available.


Following the 1998 Belfast Agreement and the subsequent establishment of the institutions of the devolved government, it was decided that there should be a review of all other aspects of public administration in Northern Ireland.  The purpose of this review was to develop a system of public administration which fully meets the needs of the people in Northern Ireland.

The Executive recognised the valuable contribution made by all those who were involved in ensuring the delivery of high quality public services during the past 30 years or so.  It recognised the need to maintain a dedicated, professional public service, ensuring that the public sector continued to attract and retain quality staff in order to continue to deliver high quality services.

The Review of Public Administration reached a conclusion in March 2006.  It was a comprehensive examination of the arrangements for the administration and delivery of public services in Northern Ireland covering almost 150 bodies, including the 26 district councils, the Health Boards and Trusts, the five Education and Library Boards and about 100 other organisations.

The Review was launched by the Northern Ireland Executive in June 2002, and following the suspension of devolution in the autumn of that year was progressed by direct rule ministers. The Secretary of State announced the final outcome of the review in two parts. In November 2005 he announced final decisions on the future of local government,  Education and Health and Social Service structures.  In March 2006 he announced decisions on the remaining public bodies.

The review was carried out in phases with two major public consultation exercises and an extensive programme of research that included briefing papers, surveys, study visits, and focus groups.

It was anticipated that up to 100,000 employees could be affected by the process.  In March 2006 the Secretary of State announced the creation of a Public Service Commission for Northern Ireland to provide Guiding Principles and recommendations on how issues affecting staff and transfers should be implemented through the review.  The Commission is not a statutory body and is independent of government but the Secretary of State indicated that government attaches the “highest importance” to the advice and recommendations of the Commission.

The range of public bodies affected by the RPA is extensive and can best be checked by access to:www.rpani.gov.uk/index/faq/rpa-affected-group

Guiding Principles – Public Service Commission

This section of the Agency’s website uses the guiding principles issued by the Public Service Commission to provide information on the issues affecting employees and links to other sources of advice, guidance and information regarding developments in the RPA process.  The Guiding Principles can be viewed in greater detail below by clicking on the links.

Labour Relations Agency Advice

The Agency provides an impartial and confidential employment relations service.  In the context of the Review of Public Administration the Agency can offer advice on issues such as transfers, mobility, procedures, displacement, redundancy   and internal and independent appeals.  This can initially be obtained through contacting the Agency’s Helpline advice line on 028 9032 1442 or in relevant sections of this website.

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

028 9032 1442

Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

For all non-employment related queries or questions please fill in the box below.