Review of the Community Services Programme (CSP)
The CSP currently supports community-based organisations to provide local social, economic and environmental services through a social enterprise model, providing a contribution towards the cost of staff in CSP organisations. It typically supports organisations to meet local service gaps and provide access to services and facilities that would otherwise generally be unavailable. Eligible are supported under three strands –
- Strand 1 – Community Halls and Facilities
- Strand 2 – Community Services for Disadvantaged Communities
- Strand 3 – Community Organisations Employing People Distant from the Labour Market.
Funding is provided to community organisations as a fixed contribution towards the cost of employing a manager and/or an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions (FTEs). The CSP provides €19,033 per FTE and €32,000 per manager. The contribution is based on a 39 hour working week. More than €46m is allocated to the programme in 2018, supporting approx. 1,650 FTEs and 300 manager positions.
The Department of Rural and Community Development has, since January 2018, policy responsibility for the programme. The Department manages the ‘expressions of interest’ process, agrees all new entrants and exits, and approves new contracts arising from re-contracting processes and funding arrangements and changes to these.
Pobal manages all day-to-day programme administration, including application processes, re-contracting arrangements, financial management, audit and control checks, beneficiary support, etc.
While the Department’s primary focus for the first ten months of 2018 has been to ensure continuity of service, a review of the programme is opportune given –
- emerging policies for local development and community development, and for social enterprise,
- its recent transfer to a new Department and different policy focus,
- the increasing impact of developments in the external environment on the relevance and viability of the programme as meaningful support for supported organisations and, in particular, smaller community services and facilities, and
- no formal review has been carried out since the programme was introduced in 2006.
A formal review will ensure the programme is more closely aligned with current Department and Government policy and better placed to meet community needs.
There will be comprehensive consultation at all stages of the review with CSP supported organisations and national representative organisations in the community development, local development, social enterprise and community and voluntary sectors.
The Department conducted a consultation on the scope of the CSP review in October/November 2018. Thank you to all the organisations who took the time to submit feedback on the scope of the review, over 80 submissions were received. This element of the consultation process is now complete. A consultation report will be published in January 2019.
The Department is now proceeding to tender to engage a third party review body. The formal review is expected to commence in February and it is expected that the process will take 6 months.
If you have any queries on the review please contact the Libraries Development and Community Policy Section on 076-1006934 or 076-1006982 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the above address.