Putting People First – Action Programme for Effective Local Government set out reforms to improve
- the delivery of services for the citizen,
- deliver greater efficiency and effectiveness, and
- give local government a more central role in local development and community development.
It represents a significant change in government policy in relation to local government for the purposes of placing local government as the main vehicle of governance and public service at local level – leading economic, social and community development, delivering efficient and good value services, and representing citizens and local communities effectively and accountably.
The Local Government Reform Act 2014, enacted on 27 January 2014, gives legislative effect to the commitments in ‘Putting People First’ including the establishment of LCDCs in each local authority administrative area.
LCDCs have now been established on a statutory basis in all 31 local authorities for the purpose of bringing a more co-ordinated and joined-up approach to local/community development at local level. Membership includes local authority elected members and officials; State and non-State local development agencies; community and voluntary organisations; and other representatives of civil society, including business interests, farming interests, etc.
LCDCs will draw on the expertise and experience of public and private actors within the relevant local authority area to provide effective and efficient services to citizens, and particularly those more in need of those services.
Purpose of LCDCs
- LCDCs have primary responsibility for coordinating, planning and overseeing local and community development funding;
- Bring a more-joined up approach to the implementation of local and community development programmes and interventions, pursuing an integrated approach to local community based services across providers and delivery structures;
- Drive meaningful citizen and community engagement in the scoping, planning and evaluation of local and community development programmes;
- Pursue a more cost efficient administration of local and community development programmes and delivery structures, the matching of resources to priorities and better value-for money in the management and delivery of programmes;
- Focus on learning and feedback, enhancing the links between services delivery and policy development;
- Pursue opportunities for additional funding for the area, whether exchequer, EU, private or other sources.
Local Economic and Community Plans (LECPs)
A key function of the LCDC is to prepare the community elements of a 6-year LECP and to work with partners in the implementation of the plan. LECPs are developed as part of an integrated local, regional and national planning process. This ensures that each Plan will be consistent with County Development Plans, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, Regional Action Plans for Jobs. The Plan will be the key mechanism to bring forward action arising from measures under the National Action Plans for Jobs and other relevant national Government Policies and Strategies.
The purpose of the Plan is to promote the local and community development of the relevant local authority area through a more coordinated and collaborative approach to planning and service delivery. In doing this, the Plan will focus on measures which
- enhance the quality of life and well-being of communities, including measures aimed at tackling poverty, disadvantage and social inclusion; supporting training, up-skilling and employment creation; and the provision of infrastructure and community facilities;
- support the capacity of local communities to improve their quality of life;
- develop sustainable solutions that make the best use of existing local assets, strengths and opportunities;
- support social enterprise, social capital, volunteering and active citizenship; and
- foster community involvement in policy development and decision making processes relating to planning, development and delivery of services.