New Local government Public Participation Networks to enable citizens have a say

Changes in local government are bringing new networks to enable citizens have a say on issues that concern them.

Public Participation Networks (PPNs) are becoming the new national framework for public engagement and participation, as part of a national reform process which is changing the way local government and citizens engage with each other.

The PPN will be the main link through which the local authority connects with the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors.

It will be the hub around which information is distributed and received.

It will facilitate networking, identify issues of common concern and elect representatives onto decision making bodies such as the Joint Policing Committee, Strategic Policy Committees and the Local Community Development Committees.

Cork County Council is now inviting all community groups and organisations to register and participate.

Online registration is open and will continue until February 4, 2015.

What is the Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN)?

The Cork County PPN will be established in early 2015.

It is a new national initiative and will be the main link through which Cork County Council will engage with the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors.

It will be a two-way communication mechanism between the local authority and the community.

Who will it be of interest to?

The Cork County PPN will be of interest to:

* Community and voluntary groups – e.g. local/community development groups, Tidy Towns, sports groups, clubs and associations

* Social inclusion bodies – e.g. tackling poverty, disadvantage, and the marginalised

* Environmental interests – e.g. environmental protection and sustainability

How do I join?

You will need to complete a short registration form (see the www.corkcoco.ie  website for the form, and more information).

If our group is already registered with the Cork County Community and Voluntary Forum, do we need to register separately with the PPN?

Yes, groups will need to register separately with the PPN.

Is there a closing date?

Yes and no.

Yes, if you wish to have a say in the establishment of the PPN. The initial registration deadline is Wednesday, February 4, 2015, and only those applicants who have registered by the deadline date, and who meet the necessary criteria, will be eligible to vote in the establishment of the PPN.

However, it is important to note that groups may register at any stage after February 4 also, but in such cases the groups will not be eligible to participate in the PPN setup process as they will have missed the cut-off date.

If I am unable to register online, can I get a print out of the form?

Contact corkcountyppn@gmail.com  or 021-4285350 for a hard copy registration form.

Can the PPN be used as a consultation body for agencies other than the Local Authority, such as other more centrally based state agencies?

The DECLG have no issue with PPN been used as a consultation body for other agencies; however there would need to be local agreement with all stakeholders on this.

For an organisation to be registered under the Voluntary Electoral College with a PPN, is it a requirement that voluntary organisations have a constitution, an officer structure, a bank account, Garda vetting etc? Or are any of these elements optional?

All organisations registered for the PPN should have an agreed set of rules and a working structure that informs the appropriate workings and structures for that organisation, which may differ across organisations.

In most cases, this will likely be a constitution.

Groups are asking whether or not they will have to be registered with PPNs to access funding, for example, funding from Local Development Companies?

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government would recommend that all organisations that fit into the three electoral colleges should register for the PPN, so that they can ensure input into decision making within the Local Authority system.

However the criteria for funding programmes are a matter for the relevant funding agency.

How long does a Group have to be in existence before they register with a PPN?

The DECLG recommend that groups should be in existence for at least six months to register for the Social Inclusion and Voluntary colleges, and have a presence and postal address in a Municipal District.

Cork County PPN


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