Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities

The Department of Rural and Community Development has launched Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: A five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland 2019-2014

CWI has two places on the Cross-Sectoral Group that developed the strategy and it is anticipated that this group will be reconvened as the monitoring body for the implementation of the strategy in October

The strategy to Support the Community & Voluntary Sector in Ireland sets out a long-term vision for communities in Ireland. With actions to be implemented over the next five years, the Strategy sets a general direction of travel for Government policy in relation to community development, local development and the community and voluntary sector for the coming years. It also copper-fastens the renewed relationship and partnership between Government and the community and voluntary sector which has developed during the course of its preparation.

The Strategy realises the intent of the 2016 Framework Policy for Local and Community Development (Framework Policy) and fulfils the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to – produce a coherent policy framework and develop a strategy to support the community and voluntary sector and encourage a cooperative approach between public bodies and the community and voluntary sector.

It has been co-produced by Government and people from the community development, local development, community and voluntary, and local government sectors. It is an ambitious strategy to support partnership and collaborative effort at all levels and between all stakeholders, comprising high-level objectives and associated actions to support communities, their representative organisations, and the community and voluntary sector.

The strategy is based on a set of values and principles that mirror those that underpin community work:

  • Collectivity;
  • Active Participation;
  • Social Justice;
  • Social Inclusion;
  • Human Rights, Equality and Anti-Discrimination;
  • Empowering Communities

There are 11 objectives with associated actions:

Objective 1 Strengthen and develop participative approaches to the development of public policy and programming underpinned by an autonomous community and voluntary infrastructure.

Objective 2 Support and facilitate communities to participate in community development and local development.

Objective 3 Develop and strengthen processes and mechanisms to secure meaningful consultation, inclusion and participation in local, regional and national decision-making structures, particularly by non-engaging and marginalised communities and their representative organisations.

Objective 4 Develop capacity of organisations supporting communities to participate in community development and local development, with a specific focus on marginalised communities.

Objective 5 Supporting commitments in Our Public Service 2020, develop the strategic and operational capacity of Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), including in coordinating, monitoring and supporting community development and local development.

Objective 6 Strengthen and build understanding and capacity to meet Public Sector Duty11 obligations in local government and community and voluntary organisations.

Objective 7 Supporting commitments in Our Public Service 2020, continue to develop and strengthen Public Participation Networks as the primary mechanism for communities to engage with local government decision-making.

Objective 8 Strengthen and build understanding and capacity to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) National Implementation Plan.

Objective 9 Strengthen the Local Economic and Community Plan process, enhancing community participation in the development and implementation of plans and securing more effective collaboration and partnership working nationally, regionally and locally.

Objective 10 Support, develop and enhance capacity in the local government sector in community development and local development.

Objective 11 Support community development and local development to engage with Climate Change adaptation and mitigation strategies.