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First Minister Peter Robinson: Cut consultation costs

Public consultation in Northern Ireland should be streamlined to save money, the First Minister has said.

The Civic Forum of businessmen and voluntary groups was intended to influence Government policymaking but cost £500,000 a year to run when sitting regularly and has not met since 2002.

A review of the organisation is almost complete.

Peter Robinson said community involvement was important but should not carry such a heavy price tag.

“I do believe that they should look at the whole issue of consultation and not just in relation to the Civic Forum, but we need to streamline and have a more effective way of operating, and some of the delays that are occurring because of the lengthy consultation and sometimes unnecessary levels of consultation, I think we must look at in the new mandate,” the DUP leader said.

The forum first met in 2000.

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