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Vol 9 • Issue 1 • Spring 2010

Le Chéile

PAGE 17

NEWS DIGEST

is missing from the new programme design.

This is a profound misrepresentation. The design of the new programme, as set out in the logic model that has been widely shared, places community development at its heart. ‘Community Development’ is not only the central element of the name of the new programme, but is also reflected in its overarching aim, which states: “The

Local and Community Development Programme aims to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged

communities”. The new programme, as one of its national goals, expects the promotion of the most disadvantaged sections of the community in “active engagement with policy, practice and decision- making processes on matters affecting local communities”. How these principles are implemented at the local level is of course a matter for negotiation by the local providers and funders – but in respect of the national design, strenuous efforts have been made to reflect the elements of good practice in community development as revealed by the growing international evidence of ‘what works’.

The main focus of the CWC’s contribution to the

current debate appears to revolve around issues of management, structure, governance and autonomy for community development projects. This was not the focus of the CES work. What we have said that is relevant to structure and governance is based on findings from the international evidence- base, which are set out in the executive summary to the review and can be viewed on our website at: www.effectiveservices.org. The decision to merge the programmes, for example, was a policy decision made independently by the Department. The Centre was not at any point invited to make comment on this prop- osal – nor would we consider it appropriate to do so.

“The Centre’s work has contributed to what was, by popular agreement, a long- overdue review of how community development programme…”

To use the Centre’s work as a device for formulating a critique on these issues may be convenient in terms of advancing a particular perspective, but it does not engage with other important matters that bear on outcomes for communities. The Centre’s work has contributed to what was, by popular agreement, a long-overdue review of how community development programme design in Ireland could be

strengthened to achieve better outcomes for communities. To overlook this in favour of promoting other agendas misses the point of the contribution that an evidence-informed approach can bring to the development of policy and practice in Ireland. In spite of the undoubted imperfections of the work, for the first time in Ireland, a major government programme now has a national design that is documented and articulated within a logic model underpinned by principles of effective practice drawn from the international

DEBATE

evidence base. As the new programme moves forward and the implementation and evaluation stages get under way, politicians, policy makers, the public, and all those involved in the sector will be in a better position to judge what actually works at a local level and what remains to be improved. It is to be hoped that there will be room for sensible debate about issues of design, content and outcomes for communities even whilst concerns about structures and governance are being worked through. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34
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