As part of the review of local government the majority of planning functions transferred to the 11 local councils on 1 April 2015. The Local Government Act (NI) 2014 introduced a new ethical regime to local government. As part of this regime, the Department of the Environment issued a Code of Conduct (the Code) for councillors, which was approved by the Assembly on 27 May 2014. Part 9 of the Code, which contains the planning element, took effect on 1 April 2015 and in preparation for that, the Department agreed to provide guidance for councillors on the planning element of the Code and to consult on this guidance.
Above are links to the consultation paper issued in September 2014 and the Department's response to the comments received during the consultation period. The final guidance published in February 2015.