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Public Participation Networks
Public Participation Networks (PPNs) provide an opportunity for real engagement between local people and local authorities. PPNs have been established in all local authority areas in 2014/15. Membership is open to not for profit groups in the social inclusion, environmental and general community and voluntary sectors.
The aims of PPNs are to
- Facilitate the participation and representation of communities in a fair, equitable and transparent manner in decision making by
- Encouraging and enabling public participation in local decision making and planning of services.
- Facilitating the selection of representatives from the environmental, social inclusion and voluntary sectors onto city/county decision making bodies.
- Supporting a process that will feed the broad range of ideas, experience, suggestions and proposals of the PPN into policies and plans being developed by agencies and decision makers.
- Strengthen the capacity of communities and of the environmental, social inclusion & voluntary groups to contribute positively to the community in which they reside/participate by
- Actively supporting the 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.
- Sharing information relevant to the environmental, social inclusion & voluntary sector and acts as a hub around which information is distributed and received.
Key to this structure is the development of Linkage Groups with interest and expertise in a particular area who will support their PPN representatives on boards and committees.
If this new structure is to succeed in improving participation and engagement it is imperative that:
- PPNs are adequately resourced in each Local Authority area to ensure that they can build appropriate capacity, gather and represent the views of their members while maintaining their independence from the Local Authorities.
- Local Authorities and other agencies engage openly and constructively with PPNs to facilitate real participation.
- The development of wellbeing statements for each Municipal District and Local Authority Area can feed into a long term sustainable vision for a better Ireland for this and future generations.