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CWC Alignment Project. Content/Agenda. Setting the context – downsizing the sector Alignment – process, report & future CEEU Response – local experience Strategies – what can/should be done. Background.

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CWC Alignment Project

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content agenda
  • Setting the context – downsizing the sector
  • Alignment – process, report & future
  • CEEU
  • Response – local experience
  • Strategies – what can/should be done
  • Issue of concern for the CWC as it is an issue of concern for community work and community workers
  • There are few answers at the moment as processes are still to be completed
  • But important to begin to identify and ask the questions and to develop strategies
downsizing the community sector
‘Downsizing the Community Sector’

Brian Harvey’s study of changes in employment and services 2008 - 2012

  • The sector at start of crisis, the sector:
    • had a value of €6.5B
    • received €1.8B in state funding
    • 53,098 full time equivalent jobs
  • Government spending fell by 2.82% during 2008 – 2012 period
  • During the same period, funding for C&V sector reduced by approx 35%:
    • Health services - 4.5% to 29%
    • Voluntary social housing – 54%
    • National supports - 48%
    • LCDP – 35%
    • Drugs initiatives – 29%
    • Family Support projects – 17%
    • Dormant Accounts – 87%
  • Dramatic reduction in staff – estimated to reach 11,150 by 2013
  • Reduction in public service numbers (37,500 ) and closure/reductions to agencies that are important to C&V sector will also have an impact
  • Huge HR & psychological impact:
    • increased pressure to meet needs
    • closure of services
    • disimprovement of terms and conditions
    • motivation affected etc
origins of the alignment agenda
Origins of the alignment agenda
  • Better Local Government (1997)
  • More recently, significant changes to the local, rural and community development infrastructure.
    • Cohesion process - merger of LEADER Companies with Partnership Companies to form new Local Development Companies
    • Merger of community development organisations - heretofore funded as independent, autonomous structures under the Community Development Programme
the local government local development alignment steering group
The Local Government/Local Development Alignment Steering Group
  • Established by Minister Hogan Department of Environment, Community & Local Government in September 2011.
  • Membership
    • Jim Miley– Chairperson -  former chairperson of Concern Worldwide, founder of and former secretary general of Fine Gael (in the late ‘90s). He was once a broadcaster and also served in the past as chief executive of Dublin City Chamber of Commerce.
    • Geraldine Tallon - secretary general of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
    • Gerry Kearney – former secretary general of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs 
    • Dr. Patricia O’Hara – regional policy expert with professorial duties at the National Institute for Regional Spatial Analysis in Maynooth
    • Liam Keane - former regional co-ordinator of HSE South.
    • Martina Moloney - Galway County Manager.
terms of reference
Terms of Reference
  • Review the role of Local Government in Local and Community Development
  • Review the role and contribution of the LCDP in order to determine the scope for greater synergy with Local Government
  • Make recommendations on how the alignment of Local Government and Local and Community Development should be progressed with a view to:
    • Improving the delivery of services for the citizen at local level
    • Achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness
    • Enhancing the role of local authorities in the delivery of local and Community Development programmes and functions
interim report
Interim Report
  • Interim Report published in December 2011.
  • It states that it reviewed information:
    • drawn from a number of sources and received presentations ‘from key stakeholders’ – Irish Local Government Network, City& County Managers Association, Pobal.
    • Wider consultation with LDC’s, LA’s (councillors & managers), C&V Fora, Volunteer Centres, ‘key community and voluntary organisations’, service users
  • Final Report to Cabinet in June 2012 (discussed by Senior Officials Group late April) – will include recommendations on appropriate structures and mechanisms
  • Already stated position that there is a need to change the current arrangements for local development and outlines interim proposals on a way forward
some guiding principles
Some guiding principles
  • Guided by the principles that currently underpin local and community development
    • Retaining bottom up approach ‘as an integral feature’
    • communities and marginalised within communities continue to be involved - with opportunity to influence and shape local decisions
    • Recognises the value of the range of local and community development programmes funded by the DECLG – to support sustainable communities through social and economic development
  • ‘At the same time’
    • recognises strength, experience and democratic legitimacy of local government, in particular its proven capacity to wok in effective partnership with local groups
    • constitutional role of LG as a forum for the democratic representation of local communities and promoting their interests
interim report1
Interim report
  • Recognised that the local and community development sector is broader than the remit of DECLG
  • The sector encompasses a wider range of structures, local delivery bodies and local and community development initiatives.
  • Notwithstanding this, the primary focus of the Steering Group at this stage is on the local development companies and the two key programmes (LCDP and RDP) delivered by these companies on behalf of DECLG.
  • As the process develops, the Steering Group may suggest consideration of other programmes and delivery structures that operate in the local and community development landscape.
  • Over the past ten years, local authorities have worked closely with the local and community development sector and other stakeholders, playing a lead role in co-ordinating the delivery and integration of services at local level through the CDBs
  • Local authorities also deliver initiatives that address poverty and social exclusion, examples being local government anti-poverty strategies, social inclusion units – RAPID, for example
  • Given the primary role of local government in leading development and delivering public services, it is significant, that a broad range of interventions are being delivered on a localised basis by the local development sector, outside the ambit of local government with little accountability to local democratic structures.
  • While the crucial role of local government in community and enterprise development is recognised, there are however, cultural, legislative and historical factors that have resulted in the majority of local development programme activity based on the ‘bottom up’ approach residing outside the local government system in a separate set of independent structures
  • ‘Local authorities are the main sub national, democratically based bodies and have a statutory responsibility for local development’
  • …the establishment of the Directorates of Community and Enterprise mean that additional expertise now resides in Local Authorities in the area of community development.
  • notes that the primary formal interface between the local government and local and community sector are the CDBs …. CDB structures are significant in that they provide the only inter-agency, strategic planning and delivery framework at local level (repeated)
  • Acknowledges that there are variations in terms of effectiveness and impact in relation to the CDBs
  • Also acknowledges that the relationship between local authorities and local development through the CDBs can vary from ‘collaboration to competition’
  • Refers to – 2004, the Government concerned at the proliferation of locally-based groups and at the lack of spatial coherence in their areas of operation, embarked on a process of cohesion – resulting in merger of LEADER and Partnerships – reducing structures from 94 to 52
    • Further phase - ‘integrating some 140 community development projects into the local development companies’ – 15 alternative delivery structures.
  • Also a range of other bodies implementing various local and community development actions – local and community development landscape now comprises a complex, multiplicity of programmes and bodies...funding model of these local development bodies and the programmes they deliver, suggests a complex set of relationships with Government Departments an other State bodies complex
critiques of local development
Critiques of Local Development
  • Local development is outside the ambit of local government with little accountability to local democratic structures
  • Scale and complexity of local and community development landscape – developed from disjointed approach of state resulting in administrative burden, questions of duplication and overlap
  • Administrative costs high
  • Clear gap in accountability to the democratically mandated local government structure – local authorities have little input into strategy or decision-making in relation to programmes and interventions delivered by local development companies
  • Board membership and service fatigue – state agency representation – significant hidden cost involved
  • Variations in quality and impact
  • Look at LEADER model in other countries where significant elements of the programme are delivered through local government
Towards achieving a more efficient and effective delivery of services for citizens and communities – WHY CHANGE?
  • It is evident that the existing arrangements for local development are administratively burdensome and do not lend themselves to joined-up, integrated service delivery.
  • They have evolved from the requirements of EU and government programmes and are the result of a disjointed national approach to local service delivery.
  • Moreover, central government, by establishing multiple structures for service delivery at local level has, to a large extent, by-passed local government and undermined the democratic process at local level.
  • Thus, many public services are delivered locally by development bodies with relatively little reference to local authorities.
the way forward
The Way Forward
  • A more co-ordinated and integrated approach to local service provision is required
    • Enhanced role for local government in planning, decision-making, oversight and delivery of local development programmes
    • Alignment should be along local authority boundaries
      • Such an administrative, operational and spatial alignment should enable greater ease of access and deliver more sustainable frontline services for citizens. It should also reduce administrative and bureaucratic burdens, lessen duplication, achieve greater value for money and improve joined-up planning under the governance of local government.
  • Meaningful community engagement and involvement essential in identify actual needs and agreeing services to be delivered - retention of ‘bottom up’, targeting most in need & facilitating meaningful citizen participation
the way forward1
The Way Forward
  • Given the variations in standards, skills and approaches - strong national oversight required to ensure consistency of standards and approaches
  • Service planning and delivery would be greatly improved at national and local level if central government adopted a more integrated and targeted approach to all the programmes funded and managed by all departments and agencies and delivered locally. Joined-up services based on a comprehensive cross-programme and cross-government alignment would undoubtedly achieve greater operational efficiency and better services to citizens.
  • Inherent tension between central government and local government priorities - call for flexibility to customise programmes and policy initiatives for local delivery and call for policy to be informed by delivery and practice from the ground - aspiration for an enhanced coordination and policy role beyond local and community development
  • CEEU is part of Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (division of Dept Finance into expenditure and revenue)
  • Part of cost savings process agreed under Troika agreement
  • Report focus is multi-source funding as a feature of the interaction between government and the ‘third sector’
  • Rationale is that this is problematic and in need of examination, specifically in terms of:
    • The impact on the efficiency of the organisations receiving funding
    • The administrative effort placed on the state in managing the funding relationship
    • The quality of information on outputs
the evidence base
The evidence base
  • The Wheel and Irish Non-Profit Knowledge Exchange (INKE).
  • Financial data from government departments/agencies
  • Case study of application of funding in a specific area – Blanchardstown
  • All financial data is 2009
f indings
  • Third sector comprised of 19,000 organisations – 63,000 jobs – worth €2.5 Billion to the economy
  • Funding sources that organisations get funding from:
    • Government departments
    • HSE
    • FAS
    • Pobal
  • Bulk (485)of groups receive funding from 3-5 sources
case study blanchardstown
Case study Blanchardstown
  • 15 organisations received €7.45M from 16 state organisations in 2009
  • Recipients were small organisations (turning over €500K pa)
  • 3-4 sources of main funding (reflecting general finding)
  • Some had similar brief – duplication cited in Blakestown (NYP)
  • Function of these organisation analysed in ‘service’ terms (efficient and effective delivery for the state)
the issues listed
The issues listed
  • Administrative burden placed on small organisations and percentage taken up by admin (up to 40%). Concludes that the multi-source model is not suitable to small organisations.
  • Funding co-dependency - loosing part-funding can make the overall action unviable.
  • Transparency- ‘double reporting’ on same funding to different funders
  • The state’s administrative burden – problem of monitoring outputs, determining value for money (national organisations were especially identified in this respect).
  • Duplication– both national and local level (e.g. 5 national organisations focused on Age - 2 similar youth projects in Blakestown
some of the language
Some of the language.....
  • Support for third sector organisations is not as straightforward contract for services. The output for the state is a mixture of the organisation itself and the outputs that it specifically asks these organisations to provide.
  • There is no matching of aggregate funding and aggregate outputs
  • Reduce the number of transactions between the state and the ‘third sector’, will lessen administration on both sides - will result in fewer organisations, resistance is anticipated.
  • Match aggregate funding and aggregate outputs - monitoring by the funding department
  • Decision on FAS CE supports – support provided by CE should be channelled through the Core Funder
  • Competition, mergers and a joined up approach – smaller number of organisations bigger in scale – compete for funding available
  • Expenditure consolidation linked to reform – warns of spending reductions – discontinue funding for activities that are not effective or efficient – further scope for avoiding crude spending cuts if a more proactive approach to resource allocation and administration is adopted.
  • Benefits are listed as the state having a clearer picture of what ’third sector’ organisations do, economies of scale in administration, less (state side) decision-makers on funding – there is an acknowledgement of the need for a local input on appraisals (local authority?)
proposed next steps
Proposed next steps
  • Devise a set of principles to reflect the recommendations
  • A lead department needs to take up the drafting of these:
  • Adhere to an allocation model that seeks to ensure a minimum number of organisations, preferable one, delivering to a single area or target group
  • Each organisation receiving money must be clearly identified with a Core Funder- each funder will identify the ‘third sector’ organisations to be grouped under its mantle
  • Core Funders will maintain a website of all grants, the purpose of the funding, time period, target audience (?) and location. CRO number of each organisation will be included
  • Organisations seeking funding will identify their Core Funder and will be required to consult and seek their Core Funder’s advice and must inform the Core Funder if successful, so the data base can be maintained
overall conclusions
Overall conclusions
  • Want all funding streaming through single designated department/state organisation
  • All programme monies, other than children and health, will come through local authorities
  • Reduction of number of groups prior to introduction of tendering process in 2013
  • Greater monitoring and determination of VFM
  • Depleted sector
    • Funding
    • Structurally
  • Plans for further control by local authorities
  • Reduction in capacity to be innovative and work with a number of agencies
  • Resistance – where will it come from?
  • Clarification, discussion and suggested responses – based on 2 questions:
    • General comments \questions on what you have heard
    • Experience to date and impact on the work
    • How is this likely to continue
    • What is type of responses and strategies need to be developed – locally and nationally?
  • Key elements of a position?
cwc critique alignment
CWC Critique - Alignment
  • Clear that the Alignment Steering Group/ Department/ State does not like:
    • The number of bodies
    • the ‘messiness’ or lack of coherence that they believe exists
    • Perceived lack of accountability
  • Lack of control??
  • No evidence for inefficiency and ineffectiveness – particularly when compared to other state bodies – FÁS, HSE etc.
cwc critique alignment1
CWC Critique - Alignment
  • No real distinction between community development and local development – difference or complementarity not outlined (or understood)
  • Local development not being accountable to local authorities is widely acknowledged as having created the conditions which made innovation and positive impact possible. They were accountable both to their own structures and to national authorities and intermediaries.
  • Community development was crucial to ensuring the participation of the most marginalised in the partnership process, ensuring the work of area-based partnerships was relevant, innovatory and effective.
  • Links were developed during this period between local development and local government, which brought some capacity to local authorities but the contention that local authorities have the capability to manage and control all such initiatives in their areas, either in the interests of democracy, impact or efficiency is totally erroneous.
cwc critique alignment2
CWC Critique - Alignment
  • Community development requires autonomy to facilitate full participation by the marginalised communities that are its constituency and to reverse the outcomes and impacts of inequality. Can only do this when resourced as an independent measure.
  • CD already diminished by cohesion – priorities no longer set by local communities - strategies determined through corporate planning process with subsequent loss of authenticity, relevance and ownership.
  • It is grossly unfair and administratively ineffective to compromise the small bit of independence and funding autonomy required by disadvantaged communities to leverage the changes required to address their needs.
cwc critique alignment3
CWC Critique - Alignment
  • No evidence supporting the view that funding from a variety of quarters is problematic. Community organisations have to be enterprising in sourcing monies to address community needs. In addition, community organisations funded by different departments/agencies to implement specific policy objectives – e.g. drugs, poverty, unemployment, social isolation etc.
  • CD severely undermined by the cohesion process - absorption of CDPs and imposition of revised articles and memoranda has diluted the community participation that had been built up so painstakingly over many years and further weakened the social inclusion focus of local development
  • Community development projects were not in any real sense integrated into local development companies as their budgets were in many instances dismantled.
cwc critique alignment4
CWC Critique - Alignment
  • Absence of any critical focus on the shortcomings of local authorities is undermining of the report - many of the processes developed by them in the past decade substantially excluded local communities
  • The report is primarily concerned with cost saving and with redirecting (a small piece of) power to local authorities and away from local communities, even though it is erroneously articulated as a gap in accountability - ignores the inherent democratic deficit in the local authority system which leaves many disadvantaged communities on the periphery of participation In the existing local government context the recipe offered amounts to complete county manager control.
cwc critique ceeu
CWC Critique - CEEU
  • It’s a state perspective - little attempt to draw on wider stakeholders (other than Wheel and INKE)
  • Presented in functionary terms – a tail-end provider of services
  • No focus on the sector as a manifestation of civil society, desirable and necessary to a flourishing democracy, requiring a fundamental trust
  • Assertions about efficiency rest on flimsy evidence - relatively unprocessed funding data and a single case study of no particular depth
  • Licence taken in using ‘economies of scale’ and ‘administrative burden’ factors. There are other factors - how the state organises, targeting, community buy-in
  • Parallel action or a fit with the Alignment initiative ?
cwc critique ceeu1
CWC Critique - CEEU
  • It is a dictate to reduce number of groups , which impinges on the independence of civil society organisations.
  • Contention that funding from more than one agency is neither effective nor efficient is not borne out by market logic - look at the banks! The benefits and achievement of small organisations needs to be articulated. Economies of scale is not the only factor in considering efficiencies and effectiveness - e.g. increased bureaucracy, loss of focus and flexibility are negative features of large organisations.
  • Ignores message that funding being applied to similar purpose by different projects indicates that more, not less resources are required
  • The move towards the corporatisation of the sector should be resisted - facilitates a shift from community-led collective action to expert-led advocacy.
cwc critique ceeu2
CWC Critique - CEEU
  • Expertise of departments to make funding decisions should be questioned in light of past experiences - cuts to organisations taking a critical stance.
  • Call for new funding framework - an opportunity to demand an intermediary body in the funding paradigm. This would lay down funding criteria, prevent vetting, provide expertise in determining capacity and best practice, create a capability to transition policy priorities into programmes and funding lines to meet objectives, devise and implement monitoring and evaluation processes.
  • New funding model could facilitate multi-annual funding basis - would enhance effectiveness and efficiency and address double reporting – where groups try to justify their existence in tangible output terms.