Community Work under SICAP 2014-2017

With a sincere thanks to all that participated, the final report of the CWI SICAP research project, Community Work under SICAP 2014-2017 is now available.

This is a report of the research and evidence gathered and used by Community Work Ireland on community work under the SICAP programme 2014-2017 in efforts to positively influence the second iteration of the programme. The report outlines the risks associated with commissioning and how a number of these were experienced by community workers under the SICAP programme.

CWI would like to thank the St Stephen’s Green Trust for supporting the project.


The SICAP II programme was published in 2017. The aim of the programme is to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality in Ireland through supporting communities and individuals using community development approaches, engagement and collaboration. Community development remains one of the horizontal underpinning principles of the programme together with equality and collaboration.

While the programme remains subject to competitive tendering, a number of changes have been made to the second iteration of the SICAP programme including:

  • There has been a reduction from three to two goals. There is a goal for community engagement and a goal for individual engagement (a merging of the former Goal 2 and Goal 3). These are grouped according to new ‘Themes of Work’ (formerly the Objectives) and updated outcomes;
  • There has been an expansion to the list of eligible target groups and the previous age limit of 65 and over for individual caseload work has been removed;
  • The ESF will co-finance eligible individuals (15 to 24 years);
  • Each Programme Implementer will be contractually obliged to meet two Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Baseline targets were developed by the Department and these have been subsequently modified and agreed by each LCDC. The baseline targets were set at lower levels than the previous programme to allow a greater emphasis to be placed on intensity of intervention as well as on the quality of the supports provided;
  • The requirement that 15% of all training under SICAP must be validated has been removed;
  • An additional type of beneficiary category has been added to capture more group-orientated work with individuals and this will serve as an extension of the previous ‘non-caseload’ category;
  • The goal spend rules have been changed to reflect the new dual goals. It is recommended that between 40% to 60% of the Lot budget is spent per Goal, however this is not a condition of payment and is not a pass/failure requirement of the Request for Tender;
  • Grants for local community groups and individuals are eligible as long as particular eligibility criteria are met. A maximum of 7.5% of total action costs can be allocated to grants under the programme, to individuals, community/voluntary groups, social enterprises and start-ups;
  • There has been an increase to the maximum threshold for sub-contracting from 15% to 30%;
  • A specific target has been set under KPI 2 that a set proportion of individual clients engaged under SICAP must be from a disadvantaged area – see Goal 2 section for more information on this;
  • The monitoring budget as a separate funding line has been removed. Monitoring work additional to IRIS remains eligible but it must be included as a separate action cost in the 2018 Annual Plan Budget Template.

The deadline for tenders was September 29th with the new five-year programme due to commence in January 2018.

CWI members have indicated that they hope that the new programme will provide the opportunity for more intensive community work that will engage with the critical issues communities are facing. Community Work Ireland will be engaging with LCDCs and SICAP implementing organisations over the programme period to support the implementation of community work based on the All Ireland Standards for Community Work