Civic Advisory Panel: Update

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 27th June 2016.

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Photo of Oliver McMullan Oliver McMullan Sinn Féin 2:15 pm, 27th June 2016

9. Mr McMullan asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister for an update on the civic advisory panel. (AQO 127/16-21)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

Steps for the establishment of the civic advisory panel were set out in the Stormont Agreement and implementation plan. It anticipates a panel of six people, with members, including the chair, being identified and appointed by then OFMDFM — now the Executive Office — and the panel being tasked by the Executive to consider specific strategic issues relevant to the Programme for Government and report to the Executive, although it may also propose subjects that it wishes to consider and seek agreement from the Executive to do so. As I have indicated, consideration is currently being given to identifying and appointing panel members.

Photo of Oliver McMullan Oliver McMullan Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for her answer. Can the Minister tell us how this new body will differ from the previous Civic Forum?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

The Civic Forum, which operated for just two years between 2000 and 2002, was not then reconvened when devolution was restored in 2007. Back between 2000 and 2002, the purpose of the forum was to provide views on social, economic and, indeed, cultural matters. The Stormont House Agreement provides for the establishment of a civic advisory panel as the new model for civic engagement. I think that it will be more focused because it will be a lot smaller, and it is envisaged that it will be on a non-statutory basis. Every effort will be made to minimise administration costs in connection with the new civic panel.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton Speaker 2:30 pm, 27th June 2016

That ends the period for listed questions. We now move on to 15 minutes of topical questions.