The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey, has said that Community Development Projects and Local Development Companies (aka Partnerships) have “nothing to fear” from the new LCDP model of integration which is being applied to the sector.
The Minister today issued a statement acknowledging "the incredible work" being done by CDPs and LDCs and said everything he was doing was about maintaining services:
"Despite the tone of some coverage of the redesign of community/local development programmes and integration strategy, those involved in community development have absolutely nothing to fear from the new model. It is all about ensuring that frontline services are maintained and that the important services currently being provided continue to play a vital role in strengthening our most disadvantaged and marginalised communities.”
On Monday, Minister Carey told ‘Changing Ireland’ in an interview to be published in our upcoming magazine:
“My view is it would be better for all the citizens of this country, who are recipients of the services, and be in everybody’s interest if people (meaning projects) said let’s knuckle down and work out how we’re going to develop this process for the next number of years and how we’re going to do it.
“It is too easy to do this year what we did last year and the year before. We have always got to be really smart intellectually in what we’re doing.
“I believe in Community Development as a vehicle for change, but I don’t believe that vehicle can’t be changed, modified.
In today’s statement, Minister Carey urged CDPs and LDCs to "look to the future" and insisted that the Programme redesign was in line with best international practice and had nothing to do with the closing of CDPs or the cessation of the essential services they provide to communities nationwide.
"I acknowledge the incredible work carried out by CDPs and LDCs but communities change and the challenges faced by communities change. Accordingly our approach to those challenges must change. We need to look to the future."
The DCEGA has set out a national model involving full integration of CDPs with local development companies (LDCs), but the Minister (as stated in our blog report yesterday) has made it clear that other options have been considered and that it is not a question of 'one size fits all'. Alternative models are required to meet a range of criteria, including a reduction in the number of structures, promoting the potential for integrated delivery of services to the public, supporting efficiencies and reducing the burden of company law compliance for CDPs.
"The only unacceptable option is one that seeks to preserve the status quo and some models proposed by CDPs and other parties since the launch of the LCDP have been rejected on that basis,” said the Minister.
His statement today said that unless a project has received provisional approval from the Department for an alternative LCDP integration model, groups are required to submit their plans for full integration by today, June 30th.
He had earlier left the door just slightly ajar telling ‘Changing Ireland’ he might allow for “injury time” while stressing that the deadline was at the same time not being extended.
"May I take this opportunity to reassure all concerned that my focus remains firmly on ensuring that scarce resources are targeted at the most vulnerable communities through optimising our efforts and resources at the front-line,” added Minister Carey.
He also drew attention to an often overlooked element of the last budget:
"It should also be noted that funding for community development projects for 2010 has been ringfenced and maintained at 2009 levels. In few other areas of public spending has it been possible to do this."
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