Local Government Reform Act 2014

36.

Local Community Development Committees

36. (1) The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following after section 49:

“Local Community Development Committees

49A. (1) Subject to subsection (3), there shall be established, in accordance with this section and Chapter 2 of Part 13 (including any regulations made or general policy guidelines issued under that Chapter) by resolution of each local authority in respect of its administrative area a committee, to be known as the Local Community Development Committee, for the purposes of developing, co-ordinating and implementing a coherent and integrated approach to local and community development.

(2) Subject to this section and Chapter 2 of Part 13, each Local Community Development Committee is independent in the performance of its functions.

(3) Where the Minister has approved in writing a proposal by a local authority for the establishment of more than one Local Community Development Committee within its administrative area, the local authority may by resolution establish such number of Committees so proposed.

(4) A local authority may, by resolution and with the prior approval of the Minister in writing, dissolve a Local Community Development Committee established by it but the dissolution is without prejudice to anything previously done by such Committee.

(5) A Local Community Development Committee dissolved in accordance with subsection (4) shall be replaced by resolution of the local authority concerned—

(a) where subsection (3) applies, by such number of Local Community Development Committees as are approved by the Minister for establishment under that subsection, or

(b) in any other case, by a new Local Community Development Committee.

(6) Except where a Local Community Development Committee would stand dissolved in accordance with subsection (4) in respect of a day that would be the ordinary day of retirement of the members of the local authority concerned, a Local Community Development Committee shall, notwithstanding section 51(6), continue to stand established on and following that day.

(7) An annual report of a local authority shall include an outline of the activities of each Local Community Development Committee within the authority’s functional area during the period to which the annual report relates.

(8) Section 45 shall not apply to meetings of the Committee.”.

(2) Part 13 of the Principal Act is amended by designating sections 127 and 128 as Chapter 1 of that Part and by inserting the following Chapter to that Part before Part 13A:

“Chapter 2

Local Community Development Committees

Interpretation (Chapter 2)

128A. In this Chapter—

‘chief officer’, in relation to a Committee, means the person designated as such by the chief executive of the local authority concerned under section 128E(1) ;

‘Committee’ means a Local Community Development Committee;

‘community elements of the Plan’ means those parts of a local economic and community plan relating to the local and community development of the functional area of the Committee pursuant to section 66B;

‘economic elements of the Plan’ means those parts of a local economic and community plan relating to the promotion of economic development of the administrative area of the local authority pursuant to section 66B;

‘functional area of a Committee’, in relation to a Committee, means the area to which the Committee relates, being the same area as the administrative area of the local authority concerned or such part of that area as may be determined by a resolution of the local authority under section 49A;

‘local and community development programme’ means any action, intervention, programme, scheme or any other support, financial or otherwise, which is concerned with promoting the interests of local communities and includes matters to which section 66(3) relates;

‘Local Community Development Committee’ means the committee established pursuant to section 49A;

‘Plan’ means the local economic and community plan to which section 66B relates;

‘publicly funded body’ means a body whose funds, directly or indirectly and in whole or in part, come out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas for the purpose of performing its functions;

‘representatives of local community interests’, in relation to the functional area of a Committee, means persons who are representative of community interests that are concerned with promoting the development of aspects of those interests within that area and such representatives may include representatives of non-governmental organisations, development agencies, community-based groups, recognised associations for the purposes of section 128, youth organisations, cultural bodies, sporting bodies and social movements and networks.

Functions of Local Community Development Committees

128B. (1) The functions of a Committee are—

(a) to prepare and adopt the community elements of every 6 year local economic and community plan concerned in accordance with section 66C and any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for the purposes of that section,

(b) to implement, or to arrange for the implementation of, the community elements of the Plan (as the case may be) as made by the local authority in accordance with section 66C(4),

(c) to undertake a review of the community elements of the Plan at least once within the period of 6 calendar years after the Plan was adopted or last amended for the purposes of this paragraph and, if the Committee considers it necessary after any such review—

(i) to amend the community elements of the Plan, or

(ii) to prepare and adopt new community elements of the Plan to be made by the local authority under section 66C,

and any such amendment or adoption shall be in accordance with any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for that purpose,

(d) to monitor and review on an ongoing basis the implementation of the community elements of the Plan, including performance against any benchmarks or indicators of performance set out in the community elements of the Plan or other relevant indicators and, if the Committee considers appropriate, to revise the actions and strategies set to achieve the objectives of those elements of the Plan,

(e) in furtherance of paragraph (b), to co-ordinate, manage and oversee the implementation of local and community development programmes that have been either—

(i) approved by resolution from time to time for that purpose by the local authority concerned in respect of all or part of its administrative area, or

(ii) agreed for that purpose between the Committee and a public authority,

and to ensure that any plans and strategies related to those programmes are implemented in accordance with the community elements of the Plan,

(f) to seek to ensure effectiveness, consistency, co-ordination and avoidance of duplication between the local and community development programmes to which paragraph (e) applies and the functions of the local authority in relation to promoting the interests of local communities or in other related functions under section 66 (as provided for by subsection (2)) or otherwise,

(g) in addition to those programmes to which paragraphs (e) and (f) apply, to pursue the co-ordination generally of all local and community development programmes within the functional area of the Committee, so as to optimise resources for the benefit of local communities in that area and improve the efficiency with which publicly-funded local and community development resources are used,

(h) to consider and adopt a statement in respect of the economic elements of a draft of the Plan prepared by the local authority in accordance with section 66C, and

(i) not later than 31 March in each year, to prepare, adopt and submit to the local authority a report in relation to the performance of its functions during the year immediately preceding the year in which the report is submitted.

(2) The functions of a local authority under section 66, shall be deemed to be delegated to a Committee, in so far as those functions are necessary for the performance by the Committee of its functions otherwise provided for by this section.

(3)(a) The Committee may enter into an agreement in writing with a public authority, local development or community development body, or other person for the carrying out of those functions by such an authority, body or person, as the case may be, which the Committee considers appropriate to be carried out by such an authority, body or person, subject to such terms, conditions, restrictions and other requirements as the Committee considers necessary and specifies in the agreement.

(b) In this subsection a ‘local development or community development body’ includes a not-for-profit organisation that provides programmes, offers services or engages in other activities that promote and support the interests of a local community or any part of a community or group within a local community.

(4)(a) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, by order confer on a Committee or Committees such additional functions connected with the functions for the time being of a Committee, class of Committees or Committees generally (as the case may be) as the Minister determines, subject to such conditions (if any) as may be specified in the order.

(b) The Minister may make such provision as he or she considers necessary or expedient in respect of matters ancillary to or arising out of any of the functions referred to in paragraph (a).

(c) The Minister shall not make an order under this subsection in respect of functions for which another Minister of the Government is directly or indirectly responsible unless that Minister consents to that order being made.

(5) The Committee, in performing its functions, shall have regard to—

(a) the resources, wherever originating from, that are available or likely to become available to it for the purpose of such performance and the need to secure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of such resources,

(b) the need for co-operation with, and the co-ordination of its activities with those of local authorities, public authorities and publicly funded bodies, the performance of some of whose functions affect or may affect the Committee, so as to ensure efficiency and economy in the performance by the Committee of its functions,

(c) the need for consultation with public authorities and publicly funded bodies in appropriate cases,

(d) the need for consistency with the policies and objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government or other public authority in so far as they may affect or relate to the Committee’s functions,

(e) the need to integrate sustainable development considerations into policy development and implementation, and

(f) the need to promote social inclusion.

(6) The Committee has all such powers as are necessary for, or incidental to, the performance of its functions under this section.

(7) Subject to subsections (2) and (8), this section and section 49A are without prejudice to and do not restrict the functions of a local authority in relation to promoting the interests of local communities or other related functions under section 66 or otherwise.

(8) Section 140 shall not apply to the performance of any functions of the Committee and any resolution purporting to be passed under that section in relation to those functions which contravenes this subsection is void.

Membership of Local Community Development Committees

128C. (1) Subject to and in accordance with any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for the purposes of this section, the membership of a Committee shall comprise partly of persons who are and partly of persons who are not members of the local authority concerned.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Committee shall include—

(a) members of the local authority,

(b) the chief executive of the local authority or such other person employed by, or seconded to, the local authority (either by name or by reference to the person for the time being holding or exercising the functions of a particular post in that authority) standing nominated for the time being by the chief executive,

(c) representatives of public authorities having responsibility for the provision of services to or within, the area of the Committee,

(d) representatives of local community interests,

(e) individuals acting in a private capacity who are or have been members or otherwise associated with any body (however described) of a type referred to in the definition of ‘local community representatives’ in section 128A,

(f) representatives of publicly funded or supported local development bodies concerned with promoting the interests of local communities, and

(g) such other persons or bodies (if any) as may be provided for by such regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister under section 128E.

(3)(a) The chief officer of the Committee shall, in consultation with the Corporate Policy Group, seek and select nominees to the Committee, from time to time, in accordance with subsection (2) and any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for that purpose, and shall submit a list of recommended nominees to the members of the local authority for their consideration.

(b) The nominees shall be appointed to the Committee, without omission or addition, by resolution of the local authority.

(c) If the recommended nominees have not been appointed in accordance with paragraph (b) either because—

(i) the local authority did not pass the resolution concerned on any of the 2 days upon which it has met after submission of the list of recommended nominees under paragraph (a), or

(ii) 60 days have elapsed since submission under paragraph (a) of the list of nominees,

then the recommended nominees shall be deemed to have been appointed on the day following the last day to which subparagraph (i) or (ii) relates, whichever first occurs.

(4) The members of a Committee shall elect one of their number to be the chairperson.

Staffing of Local Community Development Committee

128D. (1) The chief executive of a local authority shall assign an employee or employees of the local authority (either by name or by reference to the employee for the time being holding or exercising the functions of a particular post in that authority)—

(a) to assist the Committee in performing its functions, and

(b) one of those persons shall be designated by the chief executive to be the chief officer of the Committee and have responsibility for carrying out, managing and controlling generally the administration and business of the Committee and arranging for the provision of appropriate administrative, secretarial and other support.

(2) The chief executive of the local authority may delegate such of his or her functions as he or she considers necessary to an employee or employees of the local authority for the purpose of subsection (1) and section 154 shall apply for the purposes of any such delegation, subject to any necessary modifications.

Regulations and general policy guidelines

128E. (1) The Minister may, following consultation with such public authorities as he or she considers appropriate, make regulations for the purposes of this Chapter and section 49A either generally or in relation to a Committee or to a particular class or classes of Committees.

(2) The Minister may, in particular but without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), make regulations in relation to—

(a) matters relating to the establishment and membership of a Committee including—

(i) the representation of sectoral interests,

(ii) the tenure of office of the chairperson and members of a Committee, and

(iii) the procedures to apply to ensure fairness and equity in the selection of members and the election of a chairperson of a Committee,

(b) the performance of the functions of a Committee, including the functions of a local authority under section 66 delegated to a Committee,

(c) procedures to apply to ensure fairness and equity in the decisions of a Committee,

(d) the involvement of public authorities and other bodies and interests in the work of a Committee,

(e) the carrying out, management and control of the administration and business of a Committee and any administrative, secretarial and other support of a Committee, including the delegation of functions by the chief executive for the purposes of such support, and

(f) meetings and proceedings of the Committee, including arrangements relating to scheduling and notification of meetings and meeting agendas.

(3) The Minister may, following consultation with such public authorities as the Minister considers appropriate, issue general policy guidelines for the purposes of any provision of this Chapter and section 49A and each Committee shall, to the extent that those guidelines apply to it, comply with those guidelines.

(4) The Minister may, in particular but without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), issue general policy guidelines in relation to—

(a) principles guiding the work of Committees,

(b) proposals of local authorities in relation to the establishment of 2 or more Committees within administrative areas,

(c) size of Committees and criteria and procedures for the selection of nominees to Committees,

(d) persons or bodies who may be considered for nomination to Committees and to whom section 128C(2)(g) relates,

(e) the representation of members of the local authority or its officials,

(f) the representation of non-governmental organisations, development agencies, community-based groups, recognised associations for the purposes of section 128, cultural bodies, sporting bodies and social movements and networks,

(g) procedures and processes for establishing and managing working groups of Committees,

(h) matters to be taken into account when dissolving Committees,

(i) consultation with local communities and measures for promoting participation by citizens and communities in the work of Committees,

(j) co-ordination of local and community development activities, avoidance of duplication and optimising the use of available resources,

(k) implementation arrangements, including arrangements for the management and disbursement of funding by a Committee, in respect of the local and community development programmes referred to in section 128B(1)(e),

(l) matters to be taken into account by Committees when giving advice and making recommendations under section 128F, and

(m) any other matter of a general policy nature that the Minister considers appropriate for inclusion in the guidelines.

Co-operation with Local Community Development Committees

128F. (1) In this section ‘relevant body’ means—

(a) a local authority,

(b) a regional assembly,

(c) a trust or other body to which paragraph (c) of the definition of ‘local government body’ in section 126A relates or in respect of which there is a determination under section 126L(3),

(d) a body referred to in Schedule 16,

(e) a publicly funded body in respect of which there is an order under subsection (7)(a).

(2) In respect of those local and community development programmes to which section 128B(1)(e) relates, it is the duty of a relevant body, in so far as is not inconsistent with the performance of its functions, and subject to law—

(a) to co-operate with the Committee in the performance by the Committee of its functions,

(b) to comply with all lawful requests from the Committee in respect of information sought which is of relevance to the Committee’s functions,

(c) in so far as is practicable, to ensure—

(i) in respect of any of the relevant body’s local and community development programmes and related policies and strategies, however described, in particular those programmes and related policies and strategies to which section 128B(1)(g) relate, and

(ii) in so far as those programmes and related policies and strategies impact on the functions of the Committee,

that they are consistent with the objectives of community elements of the Plan, and the Plan generally, and the actions duly taken by the Committee in the furtherance of community elements of the Plan, and

(d) as appropriate, to have due regard to any advice that may be given or to any recommendations that may be made to the relevant public authority by the Committee under subsection (4).

(3) A public authority that is not a relevant body shall, in respect of the local and community development programmes of such an authority, or body, have due regard to community elements of the Plan, and the Plan generally, and any recommendations made to it by a Committee in accordance with subsection (4)(b) and shall use its best endeavours to facilitate any requests of the Committee.

(4) Subject to and in accordance with the functions of the Committee under section 128B (including those of its functions to which section 66 relates), and any regulations made or general policy guidelines issued by the Minister for the purposes of those functions, the Committee may, for the purposes of ensuring consistency with the objectives of community elements of the Plan, and the Plan generally, —

(a) advise the local authority that established it as to the way in which the local and community development programmes and related policies and strategies of the local authority should be developed or operated as regards the administrative area of that authority, and

(b) in any other case make recommendations to any public authority or publicly funded body, as to the way in which the local and community development programmes and related policies or strategies of such public authority or publicly funded body should be developed or operate as regards the county or city or city and county concerned.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be read as requiring the disclosure to a Committee of confidential information, the disclosure of which would be in breach of non-disclosure obligations provided for by law, or the disclosure of commercially sensitive information.

(6) Where a Committee has made a request to a relevant body for information under paragraph (b) of section 128F(2), nothing in that paragraph shall be read as requiring the disclosure of information that would be materially disproportionate to what was required to achieve the intended result of the request.

(7)(a) Where the Minister is of the opinion that a public authority or other publicly funded body that is not a relevant body should, having regard to this Chapter, section 49A and some or all of the functions of that public authority or publicly funded body, be a relevant body in respect of those functions then, subject to paragraph (b), the Minister may by order declare that that authority or body is a relevant body for the purposes of this Chapter and section 49A, and shall have effect accordingly.

(b) The Minister shall not make an order under paragraph (a) in respect of a public authority for which another Minister of the Government is directly or indirectly responsible unless that other Minister consents to the order being made.”.

(3) The Principal Act is amended by inserting after Schedule 15 of that Act the Schedule set out in Schedule 5 to this Act.

(4) Sections 66, 140(10) and 221(2) of the Principal Act are amended in the manner set out in Schedule 1.