Minister Ann Phelan announces the publication of a Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Rural Economic Development, Ms. Ann Phelan, T.D., has announced the publication of a Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland, which was approved recently by Government.

In making the announcement, the Minister said she was “delighted to be in a position to announce the publication of the Framework Policy, which underscores the Government’s commitment to supporting communities in Ireland”. The Minister acknowledged the local and community development sectors’ strong contributions to Ireland’s social and economic development in recent decades and, in doing so, stressed the importance of a collaborative and inclusive partnership approach going forward. The Minister said that “the meaningful participation of communities, in partnership with local government and other local development agencies, in identifying their own needs and agreeing actions to address those needs will be a crucial factor in the sustainability of our communities into the future. While the Framework Policy contains a number of core objectives, I believe that meaningful engagement with communities, which goes beyond mere consultation, is the bedrock of the policy”.

The Framework Policy will be implemented on a cross-government basis.

Minister Phelan referenced the absence of an over-arching national policy heretofore and, accordingly, the absence of an impactful ‘whole of government’ approach to local and community development. In this context, and in conclusion, the Minister said that “the policy affirms mine and the Government’s commitment to all our communities. It reflects a shared commitment of national and local government to engage meaningfully with communities and to work in close partnership with them. I believe it sends a message to communities, and their representative bodies, that government is committed to supporting local and community development and to putting in place mechanisms that will facilitate greater engagement by individuals and communities in the development of policies and strategies that seek to address their needs and will help them to flourish and reap the benefits of the recovery.”

The Steering Group on the Alignment of Local Government and Local Development was established by the then Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., in September 2011. The Steering Group was asked inter alia to make recommendations on how the alignment of local government and local development could best achieved to bring about an improved delivery of services for the citizen at local level.  A key recommendation of Steering Group was the development of a national local and community development policy that “set out national priorities and a framework for the realisation of a cross-government approach at local level”.

In accordance with the Steering Group’s recommendation, an Inter Departmental Group was established to drive and oversee the development of the Policy.  A public consultation on the draft Policy was held from 30 Jan 2015 to 10 April 2015. In total, 73 submissions were received (this includes as submission from The Wheel). 

The Framework Policy will be implemented on a cross-government basis and will seek to secure a joined-up, collaborative and participative approach to local and community development at local level. The development and implementation of policies, programmes and other interventions will be carried out by central and local government in line with the Framework Policy’s five core objectives. The Inter-Departmental Group will oversee and monitor the implementation of the Framework Policy, developing an implementation plan in the coming months to advance the measures associated with each of the five core objectives. 

Download the Framework Policy (PDF).