The Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
The Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016 (the Act) provides a statutory duty on public authorities to have due regard to rural needs when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans, and when designing and delivering public services.
The commencement of the Act is being implemented on a phased approach, beginning with all government departments and local councils from 1 June 2017 and for the remaining public authorities listed in the Schedule to the Act from 1 June 2018.
Guidance on the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016
DAERA has produced revised guidance to assist public authorities in understanding their statutory duties under the Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and in fulfilling their obligations under the Act.
Online versions of the templates
- Rural Needs Impact Assessment template
- Information to be compiled by Public Authorities
- Sample templates
To assist public authorities, DAERA will publish samples of Rural Needs Impact Assessments when they become available which we feel demonstrate good examples of having due regard to rural needs.
‘Introduction to Rural’ online package
An e-learning package, entitled an ‘Introduction to Rural’ has been developed to provide a short overview of what rural means. NICS staff can access this training through CAL’s course catalogue on HR Connect. For staff in public authorities, a copy of the ‘Introduction to Rural’ e-learning training package is available at no charge to your organisation from the Rural Development Council (firstname.lastname@example.org 028 8676 6980).
List of Rural Stakeholder organisations
Below is a link to the websites of some rural stakeholders which you may find useful:
- Rural Development Council (RDC)
- Rural Community Network (RCN)
- Northern Ireland’s Rural Women’s Network
Rural research and statistics
DAERA’s Rural Statistics pages contain rural/urban comparisons across a range of social and economic issues.
NISRA’s Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS)
Detailed profiles for specific geographic areas can be accessed using NISRA’s Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS). The website is continually updated and provides valuable information on a range of key public statistics.
Agri-Food & Bioscience Institute
AFBI carries out high technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.
- Agri-Food & Bioscience Institute website
- Rural Proofing in Northern Ireland: An overview and recommendations on guidance, implementation and governance
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) can provide help on statistics.
More useful links
Further information / contacts
For advice in relation to the Rural Needs guidance please contact Sustainable Rural Communities Branch on tel: 028 9052 4107 or 028 9076 5869.