Future of CDPs debated in Dail

The closure of the Community Development Programme and the future of Community Development Projects (CDPs) continued to be a live issue.  The Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey, told Jack Wall (Lab, Kildare S) that an implementation strategy was now under way for the Local and Community Development Programme over 2010 and that integrated workplans had now been developed by the local development companies and CDPs (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th May 2010, 453-5). 

They had been sent for analysis to Pobal at the end of March and he was awaiting submission of proposals for approval of these workplans.  The next phase, which would take to the end of June, would be the development of local integration plans for reduced structures after 2011.  His department’s plan for integrated service delivery involved among other things the re-constitution of voluntary CDP boards from the end of 2010.  Each board would form an advisory committee to the local development company and act as voluntary management committee for the local project, an approach that would preserve the community development ethos and not detract from the key essential services and supports provided by the CDP.  It was open to CDPs to bring forward other models as long as they could achieve integrated, cost-effective service delivery, but it was not possible to maintain the status quo and any alternative model had to show that it would result in less structures, hold the potential for integrated delivery, efficiencies and a reduced burden on company directors in CDPs.

Jack Wall told him of the great disappointment about the changes that had taken place and the many representations from CDPs about their concerns – boards of management were being sidelined, employment had been lost and several CDPs had been refused funding.  Did the minister understand the concerns expressed?

The minister, Pat Carey told him that he had been familiar with CDPs for a long time.  A review had been carried out, which found that the majority was performing an excellent function and providing a broad range of programmes, but a small number was performing below the expectations required.  An appeals process had been put in place and several projects had appealed successfully.  For those not successful, efforts had been made to ensure there was an orderly wind down of their activities.  It was fair to say that there had been difficulties in several areas of the country.  A one-size-fits-all approach does not always suit and several groups had come forward.  These cases were under examination at present to see whether what was being proposed would provide a better service and outcomes for the community.  ‘The door is not closed, but I do not wish to raise expectations unrealistically’, he said.  It was an issue in only a small number of areas.  Groups had some time to dovetail their plans with the local development group and then ease into moving to the next phase of cohesion toward the end of the year.

As for his own department, the minister told the Dail that the formal transfer of social inclusion and family policy from the Department of Social and Family Affairs had taken place on 1st May.  The transfer of equality, disability, integration and human rights from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform would be finalized shortly (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th May 2010, 532).