Programme for Government: consultation dates
Have your say
NICVA will be holding a number of round table discussions for the voluntary and community sector in order to help give a cohesive response.
19 January, Derry (in conjunction with North West Community Network)
25 January, Enniskillen (in conjunction with Rural Community Network)
31 January, Newry (in conjunction with Confederation of Community Groups)
2 February, Dungannon (in conjunction with Rural Community Network)
7 February, Strabane (in conjunction with Strabane District Council)
Download the statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the draft Programme for Government by the First Minister and deputy First Minister.
Commenting on the document, NICVA Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey said:
“The Northern Ireland Executive is demonstrating unity of purpose with the general direction of this new Programme for Government (PfG). This is something NICVA has been calling for. A PfG has to be centred on the main political commitments and priorities that the Northern Ireland Executive are jointly agreed to deliver as a government.
I do think they have moved a long way along this path and that is to be applauded. The outworking or the detail attached to these priorities is naturally very important for us to see in the period ahead. With priorities goes opportunity cost and within the tight fiscal settlement that constrains the Northern Ireland Executive we do know that increasing spending in one area will mean reducing it in another.
Priorities on the economy, job creation and early year’s investment in children are critically important choices which we support. Support for social enterprise development is also very welcome as this will help job creation in areas that are most disadvantaged.
The commitments in the PfG are sound and we support them; they now have to be translated into priority actions across departments and public agencies with specific targets to ensure their delivery and success."
Priorities for the future are listed as:
- Growing a Sustainable Economy and Investing in the Future
- Creating Opportunities, Tackling Disadvantage and Improving Health and Well-Being
- Protecting Our People, the Environment and Creating Safer Communities
- Building a Strong and Shared Community
- Delivering High Quality and Efficient Public Services
The priorities are detailed in table form, linked to specific commitments under each.
The extensive list given at the beginning of the document includes the Executive's specific plans to:
- support the promotion of over 25,000 new jobs;
- include Social Clauses in all public procurement contracts for supplies, services and construction;
- support 200 projects through the Creative Industries Innovation Fund;
- deliver 8,000 social and affordable homes;
- invest in social enterprise growth to increase sustainability in the broad community sector;
- establish the new 11 council model for Local Government by 2015;
- make the Education and Skills Authority operational in 2013;
- continue to work towards a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35% on 1990 levels by 2025;
- establish an advisory group to assist Ministers in alleviating hardship including any implications of the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Programme;
- provide £40 million to address dereliction and promote investment in the physical regeneration of deprived areas through the Social Investment Fund;
- implement a strategy for Integrated and Affordable Childcare;
- use the Social Protection Fund to help individuals and families facing hardship due to the current economic downturn;
- finalise the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy to build a united community and improve community relations;
- fulfil our commitments under the Child Poverty Act to reduce child poverty;
- increase the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who achieve at least 5 GCSE’s at A*- C or equivalent including GCSEs in Maths and English;
- bring forward a £13 million package to tackle rural poverty and isolation in the next 3 years.
The document goes on to give an overview of what has been achieved and where the Northern Ireland Executive stands now, and moving forwards, in terms of approach, commitments and priorities.
Making a response
Responses to the consultation should be submitted to:
Programme for Government Team
Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister
Block E, Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SR
Email: [email protected]
Deadline for response is 22 February 2012
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