The Community Services Programme, or CSP, supports around 420 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model, with funding provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions. More than €46 million is available to support community organisations under the programme in 2019.
The CSP transferred to my Department from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in January 2018. While the primary focus for 2018 was ensuring continuity of service, a review of the programme was considered timely given my Department's role and its policy responsibility for social enterprise and for local development and community development.
My Department consulted with key stakeholders and CSP supported organisations on the scope of the review in October and November last year. This consultation helped shape the terms of reference for the review and the procurement of an independent third party to review the programme. Subject to a successful tender process, I expect a reviewer to be appointed before the end of February.
The review will consider how the programme fits with overall Government priorities as well as with my Department’s other community programmes and policy objectives, and will help inform decisions on the future shape and structure of the programme.
The review will take six months and I expect it will be completed in early Autumn 2019.