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Local Government Reform

The future of local government

The reform of local government will see the reduction of 26 councils to 11.  The process will be completed by April 2015.

The new councils will be stronger, more efficient and will deliver more effective services. They will be citizen focused, responding to the needs, aspirations and concerns of their communities.  In partnership with others, they will guide the future development of their areas.  Read more about the benefits of local government reform here:

Local Government Reform - February 2013 (PDF 113kb).PDF Document. Opens in a new window.

The new council districts are:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey District
  • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District
  • Belfast District
  • Causeway Coast and Glens District
  • Derry and Strabane District
  • Fermanagh and Omagh District
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh District
  • Mid and East Antrim District
  • Mid Ulster District
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District
  • North Down and Ards District

Legislation to define the boundaries of the 11 new local government districts has now been approved by the Assembly.  It also sets the number, boundaries and names of the wards into which each district will be divided.  View maps of the districts, boundaries and wards.

Functions to transfer from central to local government

The package was agreed by the Executive in April 2013. Powers will transfer in planning, roads, urban regeneration, community development, housing, local economic development and local tourism. The transfer will also include some elements of the delivery of the EU Rural Development Programme, spot listing of buildings and greater involvement of local government in local sports decisions.

For a full list of powers to transfer please click the link below:

Powers agreed by the Executive to transfer to local councils in April 2015 (PDF 14.5 kb) PDF Document. Opens in a new window.

It's also proposed that Councils will have a new statutory duty of Community Planning and a new General Power of Competence:

Community planning

This will provide a framework within which Councils, departments, statutory bodies and other relevant agencies and sectors can work together to develop and implement a shared vision for promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area based on effective engagement with the community.

A Community Planning Foundation Programme (PDF 1736kb) Opens in a new window. has been developed to assist councils prepare for this new duty.

General Power of Competence

This will enable a council, in broad terms, to act with similar freedom to an individual, unless there is a law to prevent it from doing so.  It would provide a council with the ability to act in its own interest and to develop innovative approaches to addressing issues in its area.

Further Information