Social Inclusion - Building an Inclusive Society
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At national level, all government departments and agencies have specific responsibilities to deliver on key targets. In addition, a number of actions aimed at achieving greater co-ordination and strengthened delivery on the social inclusion agenda are being established. The following measures are aimed at developing more coordinated and integrated approaches at national and local levels, and between these levels:

The Office of the Minister for Children (OMC)

The OMC will provide a strong leadership role in improving outcomes for children. Drawing on the experience of
the Childhood Development Initiatives, the Children Services Committees and the County Childcare Committees, integration of services will be improved around the needs of individual children and families through new and enhanced local structures;

Local Government Social Inclusion Steering Group (LGSISG)

The Local Government Social Inclusion Steering Group (LGSISG), which oversees the Local Government Anti-Poverty Learning Network, will be further developed to support the linkages between the national and local level and will report to the Cabinet Committee, as appropriate;

Local Government Anti-Poverty Learning Network

In late 2000, the Combat Poverty Agency, in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the OSI, established the Local Government Anti-Poverty Learning Network. The overall aim of the Network is to promote and support the development of a strong anti-poverty focus within a reformed system of local government.

The Network provides a forum in which local authorities can share experiences and best practice and consider how to make the maximum contribution to policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion. It also supports local authorities in incorporating a strong anti-poverty focus within their work.

County/City Development Boards (CDB's)

In line with the commitment in Towards 2016, the County/City Development Board structure will be developed and strengthened to support its role in co-ordinating integrated public service delivery, (including social inclusion activities) at local level. In this context, the extension of Social Inclusion Units to half of all city and county councils, by the end of 2008, will support this approach. CDBs will, in addition, prioritise the work of the Social Inclusion Monitoring (SIM) groups, established to improve co-ordination of social inclusion activities at local level;

The RAPID Programme

The delivery of the RAPID programme, which aims to direct State assistance towards improving quality of life and access to opportunities for communities in the most disadvantaged urban areas throughout the State, will be strengthened and enhanced.

Anti-Poverty work in the health services

Work to support health service staff in implementing actions to achieve the key NAPS health targets is being taken forward by the NAPS and Health Project Planning Team with representatives of the Department of Health and Children, the Health Boards, the Health Board Executive (HeBE), the Institute of Public Health, the Office for Social Inclusion and the Combat Poverty Agency.

This work aims to raise awareness of NAPS targets and social inclusion issues in the wider health service and lay the foundation for a learning network to ensure, inter alia, that social inclusion issues are better addressed in health service staff training; and that actions to address further NAPS health target achievement in the context of all major policy implementation are mainstreamed.

Gender Mainstreaming

The NDP Gender Equality Unit, based in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and co-financed by the European Social Fund, supports policy makers in Government Departments and Agencies to implement gender mainstreaming in the policies and programmes funded by the NDP. The work of the Unit includes training, development of gender disaggregated statistics and indicators, and research into gender equality issues. The Unit also advises on the impact of the NDP on disadvantaged women, where relevant, and liaises with the Office for Social Inclusion and the Combat Poverty Agency in this regard.

National Economic and Social Forum (NESF)

The role of the Forum is to monitor and analyse the implementation of specific measures and programmes identified in the context of social partnership arrangements, especially those concerned with the achievement of equality and social inclusion. As part of its mandate, the NESF also has a role in facilitating public consultation on policy matters referred to it by the Government from time to time.

Social Inclusion Forum

The NESF with the assistance of the Office for Social Inclusion convenes a Social Inclusion Forum to provide individual members of the social partner organisations, the community and voluntary and other sectors, and people experiencing poverty, with an opportunity to contribute to the process. Progress in relation to the NAPinclusion is reported to the Forum with provision made for feedback on its implementation and further development. The Forum is seen as an important mechanism to facilitate consultation with all those who have a stake in the NAPS process. The most recent meeting of the Forum took place in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on the 15th of February 2006 . The themes discussed reflected the importance of achieving greater coordination across policies and programmes to meet Social Inclusion objectives, and the importance of stake-holder involvement in all aspects. The next Forum is due to take place in Oct/Nov 2007.

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Department of Social Protection, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
An Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí, Teach Gandon, Sráid Amiens, Baile Átha Cliath 1, Éire.


Tel: + 353 1 7043245 Fax: + 353 1 7043945


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