Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Review of Public Administration
In March 2008, the Environment Minister announced the key decisions on the future shape of local government flowing from the review of the local government aspects of the Review of Public Administration (RPA). The announcement confirmed the rationalisation of the current 26 local government districts to create 11 new local government districts by 2011. These decisions were seen as representing a solid foundation for the development of strong, effective local government that would deliver a broader range of services, including a significant range of planning functions.
In relation to planning, the changes announced will see Northern Ireland move away from the current unitary system, where the Department sets policy and also prepares development plans and deals with all planning applications, to a two-tier planning system similar to that in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Following the implementation of the RPA, local government will have responsibility for the majority of key planning functions, including local development planning; development management (excluding regionally significant applications); enforcement and a range of other functions. Central government will retain responsibility for functions such as regional strategic planning, planning policy, legislation, and determination of regionally significant applications.