HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government says a 12-member council has been appointed to guide an inquiry into alleged abuse at a former Halifax orphanage.

The council includes former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, representatives of the provincial government, board members from the Home for Colored Children, and the African Nova Scotian community.

The council also includes Judge Pamela Williams, who will act as judicial representative, and Tony Smith, a former resident of the orphanage who was instrumental in the fight to get the inquiry.

The council will make decisions about the inquiry process and provide direction to its staff.

Premier Stephen McNeil formally apologized to the former residents of the home in October 2014 and later promised a public inquiry.

The former residents allege that they were subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse over several decades up until the 1980s.

The government says the inquiry will hold its official opening in the coming weeks.