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06/07/2007

Review of local government begins

Environment Minister Arlene Foster has begun a review of the future shape of local government here.

The Minister said: “I am committed to working in partnership with a range of stakeholders to win consensus on the future shape of local government in Northern Ireland. I am determined that there will be significant engagement throughout the review so that we can deliver the change which will achieve the strong, effective and efficient local government that we all want.

“I have written today, in agreement with the Executive Committee, to all the Members of the Assembly, the Environment Committee and a range of key stakeholders, setting out the Terms of Reference of the review.”

Arlene Foster said that in taking the review forward, consideration will be given to what local government is expected to deliver in the context of a fully-functioning devolved Assembly and Executive, and, in the context of the strategic direction of the RPA, to consider the number of councils and functions that would be required.

The three strand review will focus on: developing a shared vision for local government; the numbers of councils; and the third will concentrate on the functions to transfer to local government.

The review will also consider the decisions of the previous administration to develop a council-led community planning process and the complementary power of wellbeing.

(SP/KMcA)