Under the Government proposals, Socio-Economic Committees will be established to manage and distribute the funding instead of SKDP. SKDP is worried that this will seriously damage its structures and dilute the communities' ownership of local development initiatives. At the moment there are layers of committees involved in local development through SKDP, and these would no longer exist once power moves to the proposed socio-economic committees. It is hard to see what benefit communities would get from having these structures torn down. Good local development happens when there is shared understanding and consensus in the community - the Socio-Economic Committees just won't work without it.
Other countries in Europe have distributed funding using the 'top-down' approach that the Government is now suggesting. However the EU Commission has officially endorsed the 'bottom-up' local development model that we have in Ireland because it is far more effective.
After the meeting the attendees from community groups left wondering 'who is really going to benefit from the proposed changes?'
The Government proposal and the local development network response are available through the following links:
ILDN Response to Alignment Proposals
Putting People First - Policy Document