Public Participation Networks

The job description for the resource worker requires that the person has a minimum of three years experience in community development and will operate independently of the local authority. This is something that the CWC has been promoting.

Public Participation Networks (PPN) have now been established in all local authority areas. In June the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government announced a mechanism to fund and manage the PPNs which will allow for their continued development and operation.

A circular (CVSP1/2015) was issued to all local authorities providing detail of the funding. It allows for up to €50,000 from the Department provided that the local authority provides €30,000 to the PPN. Any amount lower than €30,000 will result is a corresponding reduction of the central contribution.

Expenditure in excess of the €12,000 that was allocated to each local authority to support the establishment of the PPN is allowable for recoupment under this fund.

The funding is ring-fenced and can only be used for the purpose of developing and maintaining the PPN. It can be used for:
  • Cost of employment of a resource worker (full time equivalent)
  • Office space, infrastructure and materials for the resource worker
  • Expenses incurred by the PPN in carrying out its activities i.e. holding meetings, training, elections, publicity materials, insurance etc.
  • Expenses of Secretariat and PPN representatives on Local Authority committees (where these cannot be recouped elsewhere).

It is an express condition of funding that the resource worker operates independently of the local authority and be answerable to the PPN Secretariat in the performance of their duties.

If an existing local authority worker is assigned they cannot undertake duties which are not related to the running of the PPN. Possible structures for the employment of a resource worker are provided in a draft document providing further details, including a draft Memorandum of Understanding and a draft Job Description. This can be downloaded here. It states that a range of options are open to the local authority:

  • PPN is the employer
  • Local Authority is the employer
  • Existing Staff member
  • New recruit to Local Authority
  • “Host” organisation employs worker
  • Worker is retained on contract for service basis