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Promoting Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities at the Local Level Sean O’Riordain Faculty of Geography National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Local Government in Ireland 29 County Councils, 5 City Councils 80 Town Councils 1,500 County/City and Town Councillors 33,500 staff €10billion annual spend 45% daily spend 57.6% self funded
Local Government (2) Low representation levels Limited financial discretion due to national priorities Increasing range of tasks Limited local-national dialogue
What Local Government Does…(1) Provides a local democratic framework and through it an entry to national politics; Provides the local representational role and underpins local identity; Provides direct public services to residents, visitors and investors within a local context; Delivers on an agency basis for the State, national services more appropriately delivered at a local level; Facilitates public and private investment.
What Local Government Does…(2) Provides the spatial planning context within which future development takes place; Provides the local platform through which social and cultural diversity is facilitated and nurtured; Regulates in various instances economic and environmental issues as well as providing local consumer protection; Facilitates, on behalf of the State, the co- ordination of local, rural and community development.
Proper Planning & Sustainable Development National Development Plan Towards 2016 Delivering Better Government: Transforming Public Services-Citizen Centred-Performance focused National Sustainable Development Strategy National Spatial Strategy Local Government and Local Development National Action Plan for Social Inclusion Barcelona Declaration Disability Act Implementation Plans Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal
Reforming local services… Creation of a City/County Wide Data base on Public Service delivery and the elimination of duplication of same; Identification of Joint Service Initiatives and the coordination of public funded services across Public Agencies; Consideration of proposals towards the migration of public service delivery towards a county based delivery regime; Consideration of the enhancement of local government and other agencies to lead, coordinate and delivery services on behalf of other agencies.
Role in Social Inclusion Statutory Responsibilities i.e. housing provision/planning Non statutory i.e. community development Increasing Accessibility-physical and political/participative Consultative framework/Inter-Agency Service delivery Innovation in working with communities facing disadvantage Bringing the local experience to the national policy table
The Challenges for local government Recognition of the range and variety of the stakeholders, the inter-organisational networks and the diversity of cultural identities found within both; The recognition that the process of governance takes place within both formal and informal structures of governance; The recognition of a need to create innovation and provide for mechanisms which encourage initiative; The fostering of inclusion; The creation of an open, accountable systems of governance…to re-responsibilise…
The Immediate Problem…. Considerable pressures on local financing Loss of staff…1,000 to date and counting Reduction in national initiatives and funding Prospect of structural reform
Fostering Inclusion Considerable progress Institutional framework largely in place Distance to go on embedding Elected Members into the area Move from information networks to decision empowered networks- collaboration Substantial budget provision towards inclusion
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