I propose to take questions Nos. 6, 28, 40, 52 and 81 together. They are all on this topic. I believe I have some additional time if the questions are grouped in this way. I thank the Deputy for the question. As he will know, the Government published a White Paper at the end of February in which the new approach to accommodating applicants for international protection in Ireland is set out. This approach will replace the current system of direct provision.
I am committed to the new approach being in place by the end of 2024. My Department has commenced the implementation process. This includes the putting in place of an implementation team and working to establish key governance structures, including a programme board and an independent advisory committee. I will announce details of the make-up of these two bodies shortly. The new approach will end congregated and institutional living and will focus on supporting integration from day one. Applicants will initially reside in one of six reception and integration centres, which will be State-owned and run by an NGO. After a four-month period, residents will move to accommodation within the community. This accommodation will be sourced through different strands, with the most appropriate accommodation being identified in conjunction with the individual applicant or family.
The White Paper proposes that accommodation will be bought, built or repurposed under urban renewal schemes for applicants who remain in the international protection process for longer than four months. The accommodation provided will include family homes, apartments, rooms in apartments and rooms in urban renewal buildings. The White Paper sets out a new model which, I believe, is distinctively different from the system currently in place. It will be centred on a human rights approach with key supports geared towards ensuring integration and independence.
A comprehensive consultation process with a wide variety of organisations, including residents of existing centres, other Departments, agencies, the Ombudsman for Children and NGOs, was completed when preparing the White Paper. The new model takes account of key issues raised in the consultation process. In addition to the responsibility of my Department, there will be key roles for the Housing Agency, which will support the acquisition and building of accommodation, and local authorities, which will co-ordinate integration supports at local level. Approved housing bodies will be commissioned and funded to deliver the accommodation needed and NGOs will provide supports to applicants as necessary.
The transition team I spoke about earlier is currently being assembled. It already is headed by a principal officer and additional staffing is to follow. Engagement and discussions has begun with key implementation partners. Much of the progress to date has focused on development of the new accommodation model. This includes discussions with the Housing Agency on available funding schemes for accommodation in the community and on the role that approved housing bodies will play in providing accommodation under the new model.
I have met the Housing Agency and I wish to acknowledge the significant additional staff resources it is dedicating to the implementation of the White Paper. I have also met the County and City Management Association, CCMA, recognising the key role that integration at a local level will play in the success of the White Paper roll-out. The CCMA is developing the allocation key on behalf of the local authorities, which will determine the number of accommodation units located in each county. Last week, I met the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, and we discussed ongoing co-operation between our Departments on this issue.
Work is also under way to establish a programme board and an external advisory group, which will form the governance structure for the project as committed to in the White Paper. The programme board will comprise representatives of Departments and agencies, the local authorities and NGOs with a role in the delivery of services for international protection applicants. At least one former resident of the direct provision system will be represented on the board and experts will be invited in, as necessary, to support the delivery of key areas such as housing and human rights. The programme board will be a proactive entity that will oversee the transition to the new international protection support service. The external advisory group will be a three-member group and will consist of a mixture of expertise in areas such as human rights, housing and change management. It will provide external advice to support implementation of the new international protection support service and will also format a function of calling out, in the event that the Department is falling back in respect of reaching targets. I will be announcing details of the membership of both entities in the coming weeks. I envisage that the first meeting of the programme board will take place in June.