Commitment 2: Support Public Participation Networks

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To support Public Participation Networks through the operation of the National PPN Advisory Group and other supports.

Objective: Drawing on initial experiences of the operation of Public Participation Networks, continue to pro-actively work to provide necessary supports and promote best practice.

Status quo: The primary responsibility and accountability for decision-making within the local authority resides in the elected council. As part of a revitalisation of local government, the approaches to engage the public in local authority policy formulation and service design will go beyond the range of communication, consultation and community participation mechanisms used in the past. Approaches to stimulate greater public participation will complement rather than diminish, compete with, or substitute for local representative democracy. The participation of members of local communities, whether as individuals or as members of local sectoral, community or other groups in public life and their right to influence the decisions that affect their lives and communities are at the centre of democracy. Open and inclusive policy-making enhances transparency and accountability, and builds civic capacity.

A National PPN Advisory Group has been established, representative of relevant stakeholders, and chaired by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. A PPN User Guide has been developed to provide practical assistance to PPNs. Resources have been provided to recruit dedicated resource workers for each PPN. A PPN Data Base comprising a robust data and information management system that all PPN’s can use is being rolled out. A series of training and information events have been provided at a number of different geographical locations to support PPNs and local authorities.

The public consultation for this National Action Plan highlighted the need to ensure that PPNs are supported through the dissemination of best practices across local authorities.

Ambition: To ensure that Public Participation Networks provide the community and voluntary and environmental sectors with meaningful engagement with Local Authorities.

Lead implementing organisations: Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Timeline: January 2017 to June 2017

Commitment 2:

Support Public Participation Networks

OGP values

Civic participation, Public accountability

New or ongoing commitment

New

Lead implementation organisations

Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Other actors involved - government

National PPN Advisory Group, Local Authorities

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment

New or ongoing

Start date

End date

Put in place a fully representative and transparently nominated National PPN Advisory Group.

With National Advisory Group guidance:

Engage with all stakeholders, including PPNs, community-based PPN member organisations and local authorities to promote best practice.

Update and improve the PPN User Guide.

Continue ongoing training/capacity building programmes for local PPN participants.

Roll out a capacity building programme for local authority members and officials.

Develop a national communications/awareness-raising plan for PPNs.

Roll out and update as necessary Client Relationship Database for all PPNs.

New

January 2017

June 2017

Commitment 2
We welcome the commitment to support the new Public Participation Network (PPN) structure which provides an opportunity to deepen citizen engagement at local authority level, however we cannot over stress the need for these to be adequately resourced and engaged with by local authorities.
Profile, Strategy and Sustainability of Public Participation Networks (PPNs)
Firstly, the network acknowledges and welcomes Commitment 2: Support Public Participation Networks. Many of the commitments are good ideas and are necessary to continue to support the development of PPNs - particularly: capacity building, awareness raising plan and the database. However, as...
lack of support for PPN Secretariat's
While there is some communication between the resource workers and the Dept. There is little engagement with the Secretariats and I as Chairman of Galway County PPN secretariat find it difficult to get engagement from the Dept.  Looking at the PPN structure from the ground up it would...
PPNs crucial to building citizen engagement with Local Government.
Introduction Social Justice Ireland welcomes the commitment to support Public Participation Networks. People have a right to participate in shaping the decisions that affect them and in developing and shaping the society in which they live.  The changing nature of democracy has raised...
Evaluation
The operation of PPNs should be the subject of ongoing independent evaluation overseen and funded by DPER