Northern Ireland's first Citizens' Assembly to meet next month
THE adult social care system will be the first topic discussed by the new Citizens' Assembly for Northern Ireland.
Modelled on a similar initiative in the Republic, the north's first Citizens' Assembly is to go ahead next month.
It will consist of up to 100 citizens broadly representative of Northern Ireland's demographics, and aims to increase public participation in government decision-making.
Those involved will meet over two weekends, starting at the end of October, when members will examine the public's aspirations for a social care system fit for the future.
The Citizens' Assembly has no legislative or statutory decision-making powers and will operate in a purely advisory capacity.
Tim Hughes from Involve, which is running the initiative, said the assembly will "demonstrate the role members of the public can play in helping to tackle the challenges that face us".
He said it would also "support decision-makers to make the difficult decisions necessary to bring the social care system into the 21st Century".
Lynn Carvill, a Citizens' Assembly advisory group member, said: "It will give ordinary people a real voice on the future of social care – an issue that impacts us all, but especially those already most vulnerable."