I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 and 196 together.
My Department has received a copy of the report in question. The Deputy will be aware from my responses to earlier questions that, as part of the review of local and community development structures, the bodies involved were asked to submit their plans to county and city development boards, CDBs, for endorsement. These include area partnerships, ADM supported groups, community support programme groups, and county/city child care committees. Leader groups were also asked to provide their plans to the CDBs. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has required the county/city child care committees to have closer liaison with the CDBs.
The objective of the endorsement process is to enable the CDBs build up a picture of the range of services, activities and priorities of the various community and local development bodies within each of their areas. In this way improved coherence of the delivery of services and better use of resources to the benefit of local communities can be pursued.
Where issues of overlap or conflicting priorities emerge, I would hope that the CDB and local bodies will, acting in the interests of the community, succeed in resolving these. Where it is not possible to resolve matters, it will fall to be considered by the funding authority — the Department or ADM. In that regard, I should point out that the responsibility for funding decisions has not changed. As I mentioned in my response to questions earlier today, the Government has decided that the CDBs should continue the endorsement process.
Guidelines on the endorsement process, agreed between the three Departments involved in the review — my own Department, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform — were issued to CDBs by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government last July. These were also copied to the various local and community agencies involved. The guidelines are designed to assist and clarify the objectives of the process.