I welcome the opportunity to brief the Deputy on developments affecting community development projects which have been under way for several months. At a strategic level, the local development social inclusion and the community development programmes have been superseded by the local and community development programme. 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.
A national model involving full integration of CDPs with local development companies has been set out by my Department. However, it was made clear that other options could be considered as long as they meet a range of criteria, including reduced structures, better integrated delivery of services, supporting efficiencies and reducing company law compliance requirements for CDPs. I am pleased that, to date, I have been able to approve four alternative models put forward by HSE South, the Limerick city CDPs/Paul Partnership, the women's sector CDPs and Northside Partnership.
In this context, it is important to note that, despite statements by some commentators, full integration does not mean cessation of CDP activities in any given area. As has been outlined previously, worthwhile community development activities or services delivered under a CDP can continue to be delivered under the proposed new LCDP structure.
While the deadline for receipt of further proposals has now passed, a small number of other alternative models remain under active consideration by my Department. The groups involved will be advised of the outcome shortly. It is also recognised that there may be the potential in a small number of instances for larger CDPs to make use of formal agreements locally, with LDCs, for programme delivery. Any such arrangements, where approved, will be subject to ongoing review.
Some CDPs may also decide to opt out of the LCDP integration process and to go it alone. In such cases, my Department will seek to provide funding to help meet statutory redundancy and modest wind-up costs, where appropriate. To date, three CDPs have confirmed that they are withdrawing from the LCDP.
Work on rolling out the new programme is now at a critically important stage and the LDCs and CDPs are currently engaged in a due diligence exercise designed to complete the integration process before year-end. In this context, legal supports are in place to assist the companies. I urge all parties to engage constructively in this process to ensure that the arrangements are completed over the coming weeks and thereby ensure continued LCDP funding from 1 January 2011.
My overall aim is to ensure that, notwithstanding the difficult budgetary position, disadvantaged communities will benefit from a more focused programme and better integrated actions. As previously indicated, my primary concerns are to make every effort to ensure the front-line services provided by, or supported through, the Department, especially those focused on the needs of the most disadvantaged communities, are protected and to minimise overheads and ancillary costs.