Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced that she is to reconvene the Partnership Panel – a body set up to strengthen relationships between the Executive and local government.
The Partnership Panel provides a structured, political relationship between central and local government, creating opportunities for innovative working between Ministers and councillors, and the formation of joint policies which will ultimately improve co-ordination and help deliver better outcomes for local people. It has not met since 2016.
Minister Ní Chuilín said:
“The relationship between central and local government is vital as we all work to deliver for the people we serve. That has always been true but recent months have really demonstrated the importance of a joined up approach as we have focussed on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our citizens during the pandemic.
“My Department has worked hard to support local government in their efforts including providing significant financial assistance. Local government has also been integral in supporting the Executive to deliver support on the ground, particularly to some of the most vulnerable and I thank them for that.
The Minister continued:
“I am reconvening the Partnership Panel to provide an opportunity to discuss how we can continue to work together for the benefit of everyone, particularly in the social and economic recovery from Covid-19. It will provide an opportunity to consider joint policy design on key issues of public concern and improve coordination between departments and councils. I look forward to seeing the first meeting take place since the restoration of the Assembly.”
The Department intends to convene the meeting during September.
Councillor Matt Garrett, NILGA President, commented:
“Delivering a transformative, citizen centred Programme for Government will require strategic, political leadership within and between all levels of government. This welcome news regarding the Partnership Panel offers a real opportunity for co-designing the way forward, building on real collaboration and joint working between councils, Stormont and our community during the pandemic. Local government continues to develop its capacity and show its exceptional social, economic and environmental value. As NILGA epitomises, practical and political partnership is the way forward.”
Notes to editors:
- The Local Government Act (NI) 2014 provided for the establishment of the Partnership Panel for NI (the Panel). The Panel comprises Executive Ministers, an elected representative from each of the 11 local councils and the 5 office bearers from the NI Local Government Association (NILGA). Council Chief Executives also attend as observers.
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