PPNs are up and running in all 31 local authority areas around Ireland
A PPN is a formal network. A PPN allows local authorities to connect with community groups around the country.
The three main community groups are –
- voluntary groups working in our communities, like sports clubs, cultural societies, Meals on Wheels or Tidy Towns
- local organisations formed to protect the environment, like An Taisce or Birdwatch Ireland
- groups representing people who are socially excluded and whose voices are not heard in our society, such as people with disabilities, migrants or Travellers
PPNs give citizens a greater say in local government decisions which affect their own communities. Our democracy is strengthened, by allowing diverse views and interests to be considered as part of the decision making process of local Government.
The result is more transparent, better informed and improved decisions.
How did PPNs come about?
PPNs came about with the passing of the Local Government Act, 2014. This law followed the 2013 report of the Working Group on Citizen Engagement with Local Government, which was chaired by Dr Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland
The Working Group’s report recommended more input by citizens into decision making at local government level. It recommended that PPNs should be set up in each local authority area. This would allow the public to take an active role in relevant committees of the local authority.
How do PPNs work?
Community groups register to join the PPN in their local authority area. These groups meeting all together elect an organising committee, known as the “PPN Secretariat”. The PPN may also appoint a “Resource Worker “whose job is to support the “PPN Secretariat” and coordinate the work of the PPN.
The PPN is the “go to” for all local authorities who wish to benefit from community and voluntary expertise in their area.
LCDC’s or SPC’s must source and elect their community representatives through the PPN.
How are PPNs funded?
PPNs are supported by the Department and local authorities on a shared funding basis. The Department provides 50,000 euro per PPN per year. The local authorities provide 30,000 euro per PPN per year. The Department is also funding the roll out to all PPNs of member database software, which will be an important data management and communications tool for PPNs. The Department also funds training programmes for PPNs.
A User Guide has been developed for those involved in PPNs. A National PPN Advisory Group has also been set up to provide advice on and help develop and monitor PPNs.