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Consultation - why we do it and how we use it

Updated: 05 Feb 2016
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A consultation is a procedure which enables the public and relevant organisations to help to develop housing strategies and solve problems. The idea is to involve everyone who is affected by the issue and who wants to help find the best solution. Sometimes a consultation will not address a specific problem, but will simply want feedback and opinions on a topic.

Current consultations

Consultation Closing date Documents
Sustainable Rural Communities: A Review of Housing Executive Rural Housing Policy
The Housing Executive is reviewing its Rural Homes and People Policy (2007-2015) in order to refresh our approach to addressing the specific housing needs of rural communities.
Views on our draft rural housing policy proposals are welcome from as wide a constituency as possible including rural dwellers of all ages and backgrounds, community representatives as well as statutory, private and voluntary bodies.
Electronic versions of the consultation response form should be emailed to rural.housing@nihe.gov.uk.
If you would like more information please contact Sinead Collins, our Rural Co-ordinator on 028 90318559.
21 March 2016
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Consultation on the Inter-Departmental Review of Housing Adaptations Services Final Report and Action Plan 2016
The Housing Executive, on behalf of the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) is seeking your views on the Inter-Departmental Review of Housing Adaptations Services Final Report and Action Plan 2016.
Further information about the Review, and the previous consultation is available at our Review of Housing Adaptations Services section.
If you would like more information please contact John Montgomery on 028 90318561.
19 April 2016
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We advise of any new consultations through our Twitter account or Facebook page so you may want to follow them.

Codes of practice on government consultation

The code of practice applies to all UK public consultations by government departments and agencies, including consultations on EU directives.
Though the code does not have legal force, and cannot prevail over statutory or other mandatory external requirements (e.g. under European Community Law), it should otherwise generally be regarded as binding unless Ministers conclude that exceptional circumstances require a departure.
The code contains six criteria. They should be reproduced in all consultation documents. There should be an explanation of any departure from the criteria and confirmation that they have otherwise been followed.
We adhere to the Code of Practice in all our consultations.

The procedure

When consultation is needed a consultation document is created by the appropriate department. This outlines the topics for discussion and invites views from individuals and groups. Some consultations are aimed at councils or other government bodies. Non-governmental organisations such as charities or community groups may also be asked to take part. The public are always free to contribute to consultations.
Consultations usually last around 3 months, though in some cases they can be open for as little as 6-8 weeks. Consultation periods are generally longer where councils are involved, in order to allow time for the consultation to be added to the relevant agenda.
Once the consultation has been completed, the information is used to create a policy document.
If we feel that a consultation is particularly important to householders we will write to you about it, for example if it deals with your neighbourhood. Some consultations are aimed more at organisations, dealing with topics like homelessness or rural housing. However, we welcome all input.