What is the ISNI 2021?


The Strategic Investment Board (SIB) supports government and its agencies to plan infrastructure, deliver major projects and manage assets. One of our key responsibilities is to prepare the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland (ISNI) on behalf of the NI Executive. The ISNI describes the public infrastructure that government intends to deliver.
The ISNI is one of the NI Executive’s three high level policy documents, developed alongside and consistent with the forthcoming Programme for Government and Budget. ISNI 2021 will provide a long-term strategic framework for future public sector capital investment in economic and social infrastructure such as for transport, health, education, housing, waste and water.

The ISNI is drafted by SIB on behalf of Ministers, working closely with the Executive Office and Department of Finance, and with officials from the spending departments.

The principal objective of the Investment Strategy is to set out a clear framework for future investment in major capital projects across the region in order to assist in their planning, financing, procurement and delivery.

Over the nine-year period to 31 March 2020, almost £12.2 billion was invested in public infrastructure under ISNI and it is estimated that by 31 March 2021, a total of over £14.8 billion will have been invested in Northern Ireland (over a ten-year period). This exceeds the £13.3 billion anticipated when ISNI 2011-21 was published in 2012. The majority of the finance for ISNI comes from the NI Block Grant. The chart below illustrates how NI has invested its capital funding over the last five years.

The challenges and opportunities facing Northern Ireland have changed since the ISNI 2011-2021 was developed. This next ISNI will be set against the immediate priorities of recovery from Covid-19 and adaptation to Brexit. However, it will also need to focus on the long term (30 years +) emerging trends such as ensuring resilience to climate change, and meeting the needs of a growing and ageing population and socio economic change, as well as disruptive and new technologies that will affect the demand and use of and the supply of infrastructure.

This ISNI will therefore take a longer term strategic view, supported by a more detailed 10 year plan.

What is included in the ISNI 2021?

The ISNI includes the £1.6 billion+ of capital expenditure per annum across the NI public sector including roads, hospitals, schools and colleges, housing, environmental management and prisons. Emerging thematic pillars for the next include may include:

Community and Leisure   Industry and Innovation
Learning and Skills
Health and Social Care   Justice
Digital and Communications
Energy   Water and Waste
Transport and Mobility

Community and Leisure – This broad pillar includes housing and regeneration, as well as the areas of arts, sport, leisure and heritage.
Health and Social Care – Includes primary health care such as GPs and pharmacies, as well as hospital facilities. With an ageing society, this pillar will also include social care facilities.
Energy - Includes energy generation, including from renewable sources, storage and distribution to both residential properties and businesses.
Learning and Skills – Includes the schools’ estate and youth services, further and higher education facilities as well as lifelong learning and libraries.
Digital and Communications – This new pillar recognises the increasing importance of the use of digital services, data and 5G.
Transport and Mobility – Includes gateways (airports and ports), public transport including bus, coach and rail services (and taxis) and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the strategic and local road network.
Industry and Innovation – Includes investment in research and development, innovation and business support across all sectors – from primary industries to manufacturing and professional and technical services.
Justice - Includes the criminal and civil justice system comprising police, probation, prisons and the courts estate, as well as public safety and ‘blue light’ services.
Water and Waste – Water treatment, storage, distribution and management of wastewater and our other residential and commercial waste will be important elements of this ISNI. With climate change there is also growing attention on the need for flood risk management and environmental management.


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