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The transition committees have a hugely important role to play, particularly as they move to a statutory footing.
Mr Ford wanted to know how well the transitional committees are working, and I can tell him that some are working very well, while others have some catching up to do. However, those committees recognise that, and as the change managers come into position, a great deal of that work will fall into place quickly.
One of the essential tasks that the transition committees will carry out is the appointment of the senior management teams of the new councils, including the new chief executives. They will also have the task of identifying the future income and expenditure of the new councils, and will set the rates for 2011-12. Effectively, in the last year of the existing council arrangements, the transition committees will be the body that will ensure the smooth transition from the 26-council model to the new 11-council model.
The responsibility that is being placed on the transition committees is huge. Those who are involved in that work are undertaking a significant role that will make a very real and positive contribution to creating a more efficient and better form of local government in Northern Ireland.