Further Step Taken Towards 11 New Councils


THE future shape of local government has moved another major step closer following NI Executive agreement to introduce the Local Government Bill into the Assembly. Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “This is the next major step in the legislative process that will make local government reform a reality. dn_screen “The Bill provides the legislative basis for reform that will impact on every aspect of the operation of councils. This includes how decisions are made, how positions of responsibility are shared across political parties, how improvements in the delivery of council functions can be achieved to reflect the needs of local communities and how effectively and efficiently council services are delivered to people. It will provide for strong, modern, statutory governance in Councils. “The Local Government Bill will also be supported by a significant and comprehensive programme of subordinate legislation and guidance, so this development by the Executive is very much welcomed.” The Bill will also establish ethical standards to include a mandatory local government code of conduct for councillors. It will introduce modern and effective service delivery and performance improvement arrangements, as well as a new duty of community planning and the general power of competence. It will establish a statutory partnership relationship between central and local government and will make provision to end dual mandate by placing a bar on MLA’s, MP’s and MEP’s from being elected or being councillors.