I propose to take Questions Nos. 569 and 570 together.
A consultation process on the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science's Statement of Strategy was launched on 2 December and it closed on 18 December 2020. Over 130 responses were received to the consultation, from a wide variety of respondents.
The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science was formed on 2 August 2020. Transfers of functions into the Department came into force on 21 October 2020 (Further and Higher Education, Research and Science from the then Department of Education and Science) and on 1 January 2021 (Research Policy and Programmes from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment). The Public Service Management Act 1997 notes that a Statement of Strategy should be sent to the Minister within 6 months of appointment.
Given events with the formation of a new Department and the recent formal transfer of functions, the timelines for the consultation process and the development process of the Statement of Strategy were relatively short. However, the number of responses received indicated a large engagement from interested organisations and individuals. It is anticipated that the Statement of Strategy will be published in the coming weeks.