Rural Needs Bill

Rural Needs Bill - As Introduced.pdf (71.32 kb)

CONTENTS

1. Duty of public authorities to consider rural needs

2. Guidance, advice and information, etc.

3. Monitoring and reporting

4. Co-operation with other bodies

5. Commencement

6. Interpretation

7. Short title

A

B i l l

to

Impose a duty on public authorities to consider rural needs; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by being passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and assented to by Her Majesty as follows:

Duty of public authorities to consider rural needs

1.—(1) A public authority must consider rural needs when⁠—

(a) developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans, and

(b) designing and delivering public services.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, “public authority” means⁠—

(a) a Northern Ireland department;

(b) a district council;

(c) any other person specified in an order made by the Department.

(3) An order under subsection (2) may provide for a person to be a public authority for all or any of the purposes of this Act.

(4) The Department must not exercise the power conferred by subsection (2) so that a person becomes a public authority for any of the purposes of this Act unless the person is a person appearing to the Department to exercise functions of a public nature.

(5) An order under subsection (2) must not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Assembly.

Guidance, advice and information, etc.

2. The Department may take such steps as appear to it to be appropriate to⁠⁠—

(a) provide any person with guidance, advice and information about issues connected with rural needs or ways of meeting those needs;

(b) undertake, commission or support (by financial means or otherwise) research into any matter relating to rural needs.

Monitoring and reporting

3.—(1) A public authority must, in such manner as may be directed by the Department⁠—

(a) compile information on the exercise of its functions under section 1; and

(b) send that information to the Department.

(2) The Department must prepare an annual report containing⁠—

(a) the information sent to it under subsection (1); and

(b) information on the exercise by the Department of its functions under this Act,

and lay a copy of the report before the Assembly.

Co-operation with other bodies

4. The Department must make arrangements with public authorities with a view to securing co-operation and the exchange of information between public authorities.

Commencement

5. Sections 1 to 4 come into operation on such day or days as the Department may by order appoint.

Interpretation

6. In this Act⁠—

“the Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;

“rural needs” means the social and economic needs of persons in rural areas.

Short title

7. This Act may be cited as the Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.

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