Consultation on future of Northern Ireland's Civic Forum

The government in Northern Ireland has launched a consultation on the future of the province's Civic Forum, the body that represents to lawmakers the views of a range of sectors, including the voluntary sector.

The forum, which also includes business, trade unions, churches and representatives from the agriculture, education and arts sectors, was set up in line with the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

The act requires the devolved Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to establish a consultative mechanism on social, economic and cultural issues. Its 60 members first met in 2000 but had to stop when devolution was suspended in 2002.

Ian Paisley, who was then First Minister, said: "The nature of civic society here has changed since the forum was first established, so we believe there is a need to fundamentally review its structure and role."

Those wanting to participate should submit written submissions before 29 August. A 10-point questionnaire covering key areas is available, but submissions do not have to stick to that format. More information can be found from the Office of the First Minister's website.

Paul Jump recommends

Northern Ireland Executive

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