Explanatory Memorandum

Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

2016 CHAPTER 19

9 May 2016

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The Northern Ireland Executive has been committed to undertaking rural proofing of all its strategies and policies since 2002. This commitment was reaffirmed in 2009. As part of the Rural White Paper Action Plan, the Executive included a commitment to strive for a fair and inclusive rural society where rural dwellers enjoy the same quality of life as all others in the region. It sought to do this by supporting the implementation of an enhanced rural proofing process across government to ensure that all major policies and strategies are assessed to determine whether they have a differential impact on rural areas and, where appropriate, make adjustments to take account of particular rural circumstances.

4.The policy objectives of the Act are to require the effective implementation of rural proofing across public authorities; establish the role of the Department in providing advice and guidance on rural proofing; require information and data on rural proofing to be made available in a transparent way in a report to be laid before the Assembly; and put in place effective arrangements for co-operation and sharing best practice between all public authorities covered by the Act.