Environment Minister encourages local council reform

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
A series of meetings with local councils in Northern Ireland has started today. The meetings have been set up by Environment Minister Alex Attwood with the hope of enabling local government reform. The minister met with the ‘Voluntary Transition Committee’ in Newry. Minister Attwood said, “The reform of local government offers a once in a political lifetime opportunity to re-model local government for the greater good of councils and the citizens they serve. Councils need to reform from within and be reformed from without. This is complex and demanding. But ratepayers and businesses expect all of us to measure up.” “I welcome the fact that the Voluntary Transition Committee has continued to meet and use the time productively in other ways by exploring and managing collaborative initiatives between the two councils around capacity building for elected members, joint procurement of supplies and combined development programmes to support the local construction industry in both Districts. Down and Newry and Mourne has led in so doing.” Mr Attood concluded, “The Transition Committee in Down and Newry and Mourne now needs to advance its work towards convergence. I will be shortly writing to councils about restoring all the Voluntary Transition Committees to allow work to begin in the council groupings. This will help pave the way for the appointment of the Statutory Transition Committees and Shadow Councils in due course, which will facilitate the process for the new Councils being established in April 2015.”
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