The Wheel is a member of the Community and Voluntary Pillar of the national Social Partnership process, and was centrally involved in negotiating the current national agreement, Towards 2016. The Community and Voluntary Pillar is one of five pillars in the partnership process, including the farmers, trades unions, employers and environmental NGOs.
Through the social partnership process, The Wheel also participates in the work of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). The function of the Council is to analyse and report to the Taoiseach on strategic issues relating to the efficient development of the economy and the achievement of social justice. The Council again contains representatives of trade unions, employers, farmers' organisations, NGOs, key government departments and independent experts.
new potential mechanism proposed for dialogue between sector and state
Social Partnership: what happens next?
Minister Pat Carey announced Monday 21st February 2011 that his Department is entering into a structured dialogue process with the members of the Community and Voluntary Pillar (of Social Partnership) to deepen the partnership between statutory bodies and voluntary and community organisations.
The Wheel has spent the last number of years working hard to secure a new framework for partnership working through which the cross-cutting issues affecting the community, voluntary, charity sector and Government might be addressed. We were successful in securing the commitment “to deepen the partnership between statutory bodies and voluntary and community organisations” in the Towards 2016 agreement. We welcome this new initiative, in principle, and believe it could represent an important development with significant positive potential for the sector.
The Minister has proposed that this dialogue will be undertaken initially on a bilateral basis between the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs and representatives from the Community and Voluntary Pillar, with meetings taking place quarterly. He has also proposed that, in due course, other Departments would be invited into the process to engage on progressing cross-cutting issues and I understand that discussions have already taken place between officials and relevant Departments regarding developing such a cross-cutting dialogue.
The Wheel is now consulting with our members and we would like to invite your comments and responses to this initiative and to the Department's paper outlining the proposed elements of the structured dialogue:
Please send your comments / responses to firstname.lastname@example.org before Tuesday 8th March 2011
This is an important milestone for the sector and we wish to ensure that our members are fully informed and involved in helping us craft the next steps in this process. The more we take ownership of this brand new mechanism for deepening the relationship between the sector and the state, the better it will be at addressing some of those cross-cutting issues which concern us.