PPNs are up and running in all 31 local authority areas around Ireland. Waterford Public Participation Network is one of those with more than 600 community, voluntary, social inclusion and environmental organisations in the Waterford City & County area.
A PPN is a formal network that allows local authorities to connect with community groups around the country.
The three main community groups are –
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.
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.
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”. They are a committee/board and are made up of community members. They are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of the PPN. They manage the staff, budget and operations, and report back to the plenary meeting.The PPN Staff 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.
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 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.
Benefits of joining Waterford PPN:
The PPN Plenary sets out the concerns, issues and objectives of the year and the Secretariat plan and oversee the annual work plan based on this. An eleven person Secretariat has been elected to administer the Waterford PPN.