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Family Resource Centres Seminar F2 Centre 4 th February 2011 Aiden Lloyd.

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Presentation on theme: "Family Resource Centres Seminar F2 Centre 4 th February 2011 Aiden Lloyd."— Presentation transcript:

1 Family Resource Centres Seminar F2 Centre 4 th February 2011 Aiden Lloyd

2 Content 1. New realities Background context – economic, political, social Operational context – programmes, impact, limits 2. Responses Analyses - variety of schools of understanding Community sector resistance – power differential Realisation of limits of representative democracy - formation of social movement 3. Options Vacuum – community development and the democratic deficit FRC role – needs clarity - don’t wait to be asked ! Positioning – possibilities to be proactive

3 Background/backdrop Economic – relearning economics – classic bubble – investment driven – mix of sovereign debt and banks debt - public finances out of kilter with tax take Political – fundamental weaknesses –post-colonial issues, populist politics, weak local government, over use of social partnership Social – did not use growth to address inequalities – income differentials, health etc – rising poverty levels, indebtedness - consistent poverty 5.5% (4.2% 2008): at risk (median income)14.1% (2010 EUSILC)

4 Operational context Programmes LCDP – incorporated CDPs, reduced social inclusion potential – hovering close to local authorities FRC – shifted to CEGA - FSA survived ‘bonfire of the quangos’ – FRC strategic role? National organisations – 21% cut – re-application under new funding line Impacts Capacity issues - SI weakened, participation diminished, will effect status of target groups Limits Overly directive, attempts to redefine community development as services, focus on coalface. Positive is assembly of social justice brief within single department

5 Analyses (back to the macro) ‘Flawed state’ – post colonial residue, centralised, clientalism, corruption, disengagement of citizens – at odds with republic – active citizen ‘Post independence pattern’ – nation building, corruption, normalisation ‘Ultra capitalist’ – laissez faire – primacy of market forces, deregulation at economic, political, planning levels ‘Corporatist’ - social partnership, rule of elites, carve up of benefits

6 Community sector responses Community development benefited from EU – growth, alternative sources of funding and participative mechanisms, new structures – EA, HRC, NCCRI, ADM (Pobal) - inevitable conflict with centralised state Intermediaries collapsed, reduced, controlled Community sector vulnerable - greater funding dependence CDPs etc unable to fight back (mechanisms were crude). Now playing out with national organisations. Outcome is that independent sector barely exists

7 Rediscovery of civil society Became obvious that sector was powerless and vulnerable – unable to resist or negotiate state intentions – plus diminishing community infrastructure Wider parallel concerns about government failure to prioritise/maintain the needs of citizens or create ‘the good society’ Needed new organising concept, a set of values and principles – civil society, equality & inclusion, active participation

8 Is Feidir Linn 2007 small group - discuss lack of impact on equality differentials & concerns that com sector being denied their advocacy role April 2008 – conference on funding and the strings attached – deeper concerns emerged about type of society, lack of participation and need for sector to get organised & be effective Organising group widened out, renamed and vision developed June 2009 conference – vision presented for comment/approval – mandate to develop vision into priorities and to build alliances - a social movement October 2010 Claiming our Future RDS. Organised in conjunction with TUs, environmental pillar, TASC etc – agreement on policy priorities – less clarity on way forward – some local activity Is Feidir Linn continues as think tank – developing positions on various issues (see website)

9 Options There is a democratic deficit in the state – this has become apparent - civil society helps fill that gap Vulnerability of sector - need to institutionalise participation of civil society – community development, NGOs, carers – needs to be inclusive of advocacy role In Ireland community development approaches historically rooted – CD: different roles at different times There is a vacuum from the demise of the CDP and the restructuring of Partnerships – many looking to FRC to fill this function

10 Family Resource Centre Programme Clarity – services or social change role ? Are they mutually exclusive? Service role – delivers where state cannot reach, may be more efficient, more effective Community development role is mobilising people towards social change – prompts societal change Service role also about identifying new needs and carrying lessons into policy arena (e.g. of MABS) Positioning – possibilities to be proactive – lots of policy gaps or opportunities in prospective government programme Don’t wait to be asked !

11 Lessons from the CDP Lack of strategic direction – funding programme, divested by CPA (no standards imposed, no conduit for policy), role assumed by bureaucrats, dispersed/incoherent management - Dept, NAC, support agencies (e.g. policy role) Weaknesses of VBM – excluded statutory and others (partnerships, etc) Skills deficits – no principles/standards imposed or developed (shared with social inclusion programme) Governance issues – accountability to target groups, to department (unfair since no real accountability imposed – then used against them following a review)

12 Conclusions Profound and potentially catalytic moment in development of state Many institutions subject to profound change – social partnership, public service, role of community sector etc Building a coherent civil society voice is fundamental lesson from last few years Important that effective voice for excluded is constructed out of deluge of cuts – direct funding dependency is problematic – FSA as intermediary is key FRC role at strategic and local level needs teasing out Clarity will only come out of discussion !


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