I propose to take Question Nos. 83 and 84 together.
Deputies will be aware that one of my Department's primary objectives is to maximise the impact, coherence and effectiveness of the local and community development programmes for which it is responsible. With an overall objective of maximising the use of resources, the Department is also keen to foster closer liaison with parallel local development bodies and for city and county development boards to endorse plans from these various bodies.
As a first step towards achieving this objective, a review of the programmes and activities that fall within the remit of my Department is currently under way. This review seeks to achieve greater coherence across the various initiatives and, through improved delivery structures, to administer programmes that benefit our communities. The views of the relevant parties, including area partnerships, have been sought and will, of course, be considered in the course of this review.
As a further step, in the context of drawing up plans for 2003, area partnerships and community groups funded under the local development social inclusion programme have been asked to submit their 2003 work programmes – as approved by ADM – to the relevant city and county development board, CDB, for endorsement. This will allow the CDBs to examine and benchmark the work programmes against their own strategies and thus help to avoid duplication, bring about better co-ordination in service delivery and make the best use of resources.
As regards the question of funding arrangements in 2003 for partnerships and community groups, the position remains as I outlined to the House on 27 May last and on a number of other occasions recently.
Additional InformationAn amount of €44.6 million has been provided in the Vote of my Department for the local development social inclusion programme this year. This amount represents a decrease of 6% in the amount provided in the Estimates in 2002.
Area Development Management Limited manages the programme on behalf of my Department. Allocations from within the budget available for the programme in 2003 were agreed by the board of ADM earlier this year and were subsequently notified to each partnership and community group. As the Deputy will appreciate, ADM must manage the programme from within the budget available in my Department's Vote.
The reductions in available funding for 2003 were managed on a sliding scale, ranging from 4% to 7%, depending on the annual budget of the area partnership company or community group. I am aware that some partnership and community groups had the expectation of carryover of previous years' under-spending into 2003. However, my Department operates on an annual cash basis and not on an accrual basis, as do all Departments. Consequently, my Department is not in a position to facilitate a cumulative carryover of under-spending. However, the Deputies should note that ADM is working closely with the partnerships to minimise, as far as possible, the impact of the reductions in funding this year.
Finally, I want to acknowledge once again the valuable work being done by partnerships in disadvantaged areas.