My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016, to trial new approaches and working methods in supporting and accelerating overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates. Under the terms of the NTICI, which was underpinned by a once-off fund of €10 million, developments subject to valid taking-in-charge applications were eligible for inclusion in the associated call for funding proposals. Ultimately, €7.5 million of the allocated funding was paid to local authorities in respect of 330 developments, containing some 14,930 homes.
Findings and recommendations from the NTICI process were included in a report on the initiative, that was published by my Department in December 2018. The report is available at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/national_taking_in_charge_initiative_report_dec2018.pdf.
In July this year my Department launched the Multi-annual Developer Provided Water Services Infrastructure Resolution Programme. The development of such a multi-annual funding programme was a key recommendation of the report on the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative. The National Development Plan published in February 2018, includes provision of €31 million for the period 2018-2021 to support the Programme. The Programme will enable the progressive resolution, on a priority basis, of substandard Developer Provided Water Services Infrastructure - commonly called 'DPI', much of which was installed in housing estates during the building boom of the late 1990's and early 2000's. These privately owned and temporary facilities provide mostly wastewater treatment, with a small number providing drinking water.
The collaborative experience gained by the key stakeholders in implementing the Taking-in-Charge Initiative has informed the new Resolution Programme. Bids were sought from local authorities around the country for funding under the Programme and the closing date was 18 September 2019. A total number of 19 local authorities with Developer Provided Infrastructure in estates in their areas, made applications under the programme for support.
My Department is currently completing a preliminary evaluation and clarification process on the bids received with the local authorities. The intention is to shortly set up an Expert Panel to independently evaluate the bids and recommend suitable projects for funding. This evaluation will take place over the coming months. Membership of the Panel will include Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation in the Chair.
The Expert Panel will make recommendations to me on the suitability of projects for funding under the Programme, based on the criteria set out in the Framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals. The Panel will report to my Department when their examination of the bids is concluded. I expect to be in a position to make an announcement in early 2020 on approvals and allocations once that process is concluded and has been considered.