My Department maintains close contact with the 30 national youth organisations that we fund. Officials from my Department and I meet these organisations formally twice per year to share knowledge and information on developments in the youth sector. Most recently, I met the national youth organisations on 11 April. An additional meeting was held on that day with the national organisations in receipt of targeted youth funding to keep them updated on the ongoing reform of that funding. My Department has also committed to convening formal meetings twice yearly with the five largest grantees from 2018 onwards. This commitment follows an internal audit report, published in 2017, that recommended more engagement on a periodic basis with youth service grant scheme grantees. In May, my officials met Youth Work Ireland, Scouting Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Crosscare and Foróige in that regard.
Youth officers of the education and training boards, ETBs, provide an important support role to my Department in the co-ordination and administration of youth services at a local level across the country. My officials hold scheduled meetings with the youth officers and youth liaison officers to maintain an open dialogue. The most recent meeting took place on 20 June with a specific focus on the transition to the new targeted funding scheme. My Department has set up a working group with five youth officers that is focused on strategic planning for future capital funding for the youth sector. There is ongoing active engagement between my Department and the youth constituency of the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures advisory council. A small number of national youth organisation representatives are members of the council. Officials from my Department also meet youth organisations on an individual basis when the need arises. We have a professional and constructive working relationship with the national youth organisations, which my Department consistently works hard to maintain.