As the Deputy is probably aware, Government is working to ensure that local capacity, resources and knowledge are brought to bear on the overall humanitarian response to people fleeing Ukraine and seeking protection in Ireland. My Department's key focus is to ensure the resources, skills and capacity of the local development, community development and charity sectors are utilised to maximum effect to help address the challenges arising.
Building on structures developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, community response forums are being repurposed in each local authority area. The role of each forum will be to co-ordinate the community-led response in the provision of assistance and support to Ukrainian refugees as they are accommodated around the country. My Department has worked with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the County and City Management Association, CCMA, to agree a framework for the community response to guide that work. The framework sets out a national template for arrangements to be put in place in each area to enable all involved at a local level, including the community and voluntary sector, to work together to support the integration of Ukrainian refugees into our communities under the stewardship of the local authorities.
At national level, my Department, together with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, will work with the CCMA and the Local Government Management Agency, LGMA, to provide guidance and ensure consistent communication. The senior officials' group on the humanitarian impact of the Ukraine crisis, on which my Department is represented, will also play a role in this regard. With regard to its programme of work, my Department has committed to enabling flexibility in programme delivery to maximise the effectiveness of our response. This has been communicated to our business delivery partners, including local development companies, LCDCs, volunteer centres, community volunteers and public participation networks. I want to express my thanks and acknowledge the fast, flexible and human response of the community and voluntary sector on the ground in every community across the country over the last five to six weeks. It has been exceptional and these community response forums will help to bridge that gap between the public goodwill and central Government's response over the coming months.