Dáil Éireann - Volume 661 - 24 September, 2008
Written Answers. - Departmental Agencies.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her intentions towards the Combat Poverty Agency; and the reason she countenanced its abolition. [29768/08]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: The Government decided, in June 2007, that a review of the Combat Poverty Agency should be undertaken by the Department, in association with other relevant government departments. The terms of reference for  the review required: the examination of the role of the Combat Poverty Agency in light of the emergence, since its establishment, of comprehensive strategies and institutional arrangements for social inclusion; bringing forward proposals, for enhancement and/or rationalisation; and making recommendations to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs.
A copy of the complete terms of reference is set out below. The review was overseen by a Steering Committee chaired by Mr. Niall Callan, former Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and comprised senior officials from the department, other relevant departments and the Combat Poverty Agency.
The review was recently completed and the report is now under consideration by officials of the department. It is my intention to bring forward proposals to the Government on the future of the Agency in the near future.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Introduction and background
The Government has decided that a review of the future of the Combat Poverty Agency will be undertaken by the Department of Social and Family Affairs in association with other relevant departments (Government Decision; of 6 June 2007).
The Review of the Combat Poverty Agency will be undertaken as part of the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative 2006-2008 of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The context for the review relates to the structures established in recent years to progress the achievement of the Government’s social inclusion strategies viz. the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007 -2016, the social partnership agreement Towards 2016 and the social inclusion chapter in the National Development Plan Transforming Ireland 2007-13.
In this regard, the monitoring, research and evaluation, consultation and advisory roles of a number of national structures and offices, including the NESDO and its constituent agencies, the NESC and the NESF, are relevant to the review. A key question for the review relates to the extent to which there are overlaps or duplication in the remits of these bodies and the Agency and the consequences this poses for coherence in the implementation of Government policy and for cost to the Exchequer. The review of the Irish Public Service by the OECD is also relevant. The context for that review specifically refers to the effectiveness of Government structures for tackling horizontal issues such as ‘poverty reduction, as well as the structures for addressing broader issues, the systems for policy development, implementation evaluation and feedback and the connectivity between them and the Government.
The terms of reference proposed for the review of the Combat Poverty Agency are: to examine the role of the Combat Poverty Agency (CPA) as set out in the Combat Poverty Agency Act, 1986; to examine the work programmes and operations of the CPA in the context of efficiency and effectiveness and overall value for money; to have regard to the social and economic developments that have taken place in recent years and the resultant changes that have come about in the institutional structures for the formulation of Government policy; including the development of social inclusion responsibilities within and across Government departments and state agencies, organisations and expert bodies with remits in research, information and advice to Government and new mechanisms for consultation, monitoring and participation in the development and implementation of social inclusion strategies. These include social partnership structures, Government programmes with corporate (social partnership) arrangements, and the provision made for regular consultation with groups established to represent people experiencing poverty and social exclusion and identify where services, programmes or functions duplicate, overlap or complement the Agency’s role, and where pertinent,  any gaps in institutional arrangements for advancing the Government’s social inclusion strategies. The review will report on the ongoing validity of the remit which is exercised by the Agency in these areas and bring forward proposals for enhancing the delivery of services/functions, including rationalisation as appropriate that will include recommendations as to the body or organisational arrangement most suitable for their delivery. It will identify and bring forward proposals which would contribute to the progression of Government social inclusion strategies and make recommendations to the Minister for the future of the Combat Poverty Agency and its functions.
Dáil Éireann 661 Written Answers. Departmental Agencies.