As Deputy Wall is aware, the local development social inclusion programme and the community development programme were my Department's two main social inclusion and community development programmes. My Department had seen the need, however, to re-design these programmes, drawing on good international practice and in a way that would support ongoing programme evaluation. Both programmes had a community development element and were delivered through separate local delivery structures. These came to an end on 31 December last and have been superseded by a new integrated programme, the local and community development programme, LCDP.
The aim of the LCDP, which preserves elements of good practice from the CDP and LDSIP programmes, is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities.
An implementation strategy involving the stakeholders is underway for LCDP roll-out over the course of 2010. Integrated workplans have now been developed by the local development companies and the CDPs, covering all local development company areas. These were submitted to Pobal for analysis at the end of March and I am awaiting the submission of proposals for approval of these area workplans. The next phase to the end of June will cover the development of local integration plans for reduced structures post-2011.
A key difference between the new LCDP and its predecessor programmes is the fact that, when fully implemented, it will be delivered nationally on an integrated basis by a reduced number of companies. My Department has set out a model for integrated service delivery and structures at a local level, which would involve, among other things, the re-constitution of the voluntary CDP boards from the end of 2010. Each board would then form an advisory committee to the local development company and act as the voluntary management committee for the local project. This approach will preserve the community development ethos in areas and will not detract from the key essential services and supports being provided through the CDP. In addition, the new programme will enable groups to more objectively demonstrate the positive impacts and outcomes they are securing to meet the needs of local communities.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House.
My Department has clearly indicated to CDPs and local development companies that it is open to them to bring forward other models, as long as the proposed alternatives can achieve integrated and cost effective service delivery. However, it is not possible to maintain the status quo and any alternative model has to show that it will result in less structures; it holds the potential for integrated delivery; it has the potential for introducing efficiencies; and it will reduce the burden on company directors in CDPs.
It remains my primary concern to make every effort to ensure the front-line services provided by, or supported through, my Department are protected, especially those providing tangible benefits for the most disadvantaged communities. Under the new programme, local development companies will be able to identify and meet the needs of communities and the Department will pay particular attention to RAPID areas and to those areas where a CDP is no longer operating. My Department and Pobal will provide a range of supports to ensure the process is successful.