“In accordance with Schedule 7(6) of the Northern Ireland Act (the Act), the Secretary of State may make grants to the NIHRC from the budget provided by the United Kingdom Parliament.

The SCA notes with concern that the budget allocation to the NIHRC is subject to the United Kingdom Government expenditure priorities, and that this has the potential to impact the NIHRC’s effectiveness and functional independence.

The SCA notes that the classification of an NHRI as an independent State agency has important implications for the regulation of certain practices, including reporting, recruitment, funding and accounting. Where a State has developed uniform rules of regulations to ensure State agencies are properly accountable for the use of public funds, the application of such rules or regulations on an NHRI is not considered inappropriate provided they do not compromise the NHRI’s ability to perform its role independently and effectively.

Accordingly, the SCA encourages the NIHRC to advocate for appropriate modifications to applicable administrative procedures to ensure that its functional independence and financial autonomy is guaranteed.”