Northern Ireland - The cost of consolidation
The Department of Education has been criticised for spending #163;7 million on the new Education and Skills Authority (ESA), even before the education body has materialised.
The ESA is intended to replace the five existing education and library boards in Northern Ireland, as part of the government's overall Review of Public Administration.
It was to come into effect on January 1, but education minister Caitriona Ruane has failed to get her proposals approved by the NI Executive.
Nonetheless, almost #163;5.5 million has been spent on ESA salaries, #163;359,000 on accommodation, #163;670,000 on "support services" and #163;727,000 on "other costs", according to the department of education.
Costs were revealed in answer to a question by UUP MLA Ken Robinson. mr.