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Public Participation Network

The recent Local Government Reform Act 2014 has resulted in the restructuring of all community and voluntary forums nationally.

A new framework for public engagement and participation, called a Public Participation Network (PPN) has been developed within each local authority area to enable the public to take an active formal role in the policy making and oversight activities of the local authority's areas of responsibility. This network will engage at municipal district level and at the county level. The PPN is to be the main link through which the local authority connects with the community, voluntary and environmental sectors without prejudice to other consultation processes.

Each County PPN has a secretariat whose role is to 

  1. Facilitate the implementation of the decisions of the plenary
  2. Ensure the proper functioning of the PPN in between plenaries
  3. Co-ordinate activities of the PPN
  4. Communicate extensively and regularly with all PPN members and in this process disseminate information concerning all PPN activities as widely as possible
  5. Manage the resource worker who will be provided to PPN at a county level to enable them in delivering their objectives

The PPN framework arises from the working group report on citizen engagement with local government which was published by the Minister in February 2014.

Frequently asked questions

The role of the PPN

The role of the network includes:

  1. To contribute to the local authority's development for the county a vision for the well-being of this and future generations.
  2. To facilitate opportunities for networking, communication and the sharing of information between environmental, community and voluntary groups and between these groups and the local authority.
  3. To identify issues of collective concern and work to influence policy locally in relation to these issues.
  4. To actively support inclusion of socially excluded groups, communities experiencing high levels of poverty, communities experiencing discrimination, including travellers to enable them to participate at local and county level and to clearly demonstrate same.
  5. To encourage and enable public participation in local decision making and planning of services.
  6. To facilitate the selection of participants from the environmental,social inclusion and voluntary sectors onto county decision making bodies.
  7. To support a process that will feed the broad range of ideas, experience, suggestions and proposals of the network into policies and plans being developed by agencies and decision makers in areas that are of interest and relevant to the network.
  8. To work to develop the environmental, social inclusion, community and voluntary sectors so that the work of the sectors is clearly recognised and acknowledged and the sectors have a strong collective voice within the county.
  9. To support the individual members of the Public Participation Network so that:
    • They can develop their capacity and do their work more effectively.
    • They can participate effectively in the Public Participation Network activities.
    • They are included and their voices and concerns are heard.

The working group report sets out the following actions in relation to local authorities:

  • Local authorities to agree an adopted protocol for all committees/decision making committees with PPN representatives.
  • Local authorities to set aside resources for participation on key decision making committees to cover travel and subsistence expenses for PPN representatives.
  • Local authorities to facilitate access to a library of relevant thematic documents.
  • Local authorities to provide funding for one whole time equivalent staff member for the network.
  • Local authorities to provide programme funding for all networks which would allow them to progress their annual programme of activity including newsletters, website, social media and other training supports.

The council has been requested by the department to immediately establish a Clare PPN. The council has had a number of discussions with Clare Community Forum which the PPN will ultimately replace. The council is also aware of the likely issue of formal guidance, regulations and experience from the areas that are currently piloting the PPN model.

In the meantime, the council will be updating the register of community, voluntary, social inclusion and environmental organisations so that those wishing to participate in the electoral process for the PPN are on the register of such bodies. 

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How to apply

All groups that have previously registered with Clare Community Forum/Clare County Council must register under this process if they wish to participate in this new structure.

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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 19/11/15