This week’s NILGA AGM saw the launch of the Devolution in Northern Ireland report by the New Policy Institute. The report (available here) recommends the re-direction of certain key powers away from the NI executive and towards local authorities, with increased public involvement in decision-making.
The majority of public spending in NI is undertaken by the NI Executive. To put that in context, that is more than double that of the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Where this power is devolved, councils could take responsibility for areas such as highways and transport, culture, environment, and planning and development.
The report suggests that key to the success of this strategy is the involvement of local communities, local businesses and the wider third sector.
It goes on to propose that whilst NILGA and the eleven NI councils must lead on this, devolution also requires initiatives by central government.
DTNI has been campaigning for the right of communities to participate in decision-making and for the right to challenge local authorities about the reform and delivery of services. We welcome this report and look forward to continuing the conversation in the months to come.