WHAT ARE PPNs?
(Synopsis of “Guidelines for Public Participation Networks” pubished by Deptartment of Environment and Local Government 2014)
In each Local Authority area, a new framework for public engagement and participation, called “The Public Participation Network (PPN)” will be developed to enable the public to take an active formal role in policy making activities of the Local Authority.
The PPN will be the main link through which the local authority connects with the community, voluntary and environmental sectors.
The aim of PPN is:
A) to facilitate and enable the public and organisations to express a diverse range of views and interests within the local government system;and
B) to facilitate the local authority in making better and more timely decisions through a structure that ensures public participation and representation on decision-making committees and bodies within local government.
ROLE OF PPN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS
1. To contribute to a vision for the well-being of this and future generations.
2. To facilitate opportunities for networking, communication and the sharing of information between environmental, community and voluntary groups and between these groups and the local authority.
3. To identify issues of collective concern and work to influence policy locally in relation to these.
4. To encourage and enable public participation in local decision making and planning of services.
5. To facilitate the selection of participants from the environmental, social inclusion and voluntary sectors onto decision making bodies.
6. To work to develop the Environmental, Social Inclusion, Community and Voluntary sectors so that the work of the sectors is clearly recognised and acknowledged and the sectors have a strong collective voice within the County/City.
7. To support the individual members of the Public Participation Network so that:
• They can develop their capacity and do their work more effectively.
• They can participate effectively in the Public Participation Network activities.
• They are included and their voices and concerns are heard.
HOW WILL PPNs BE STRUCTURED?
1. In each County/City there will be one PPN plenary (assembly of all representatives) for the county/city.
2. In each County/City there also will be a PPN plenary for each Municipal District in that County/city.
3. Linkage Groups will deal with specific issues
4. A secretariat (at county/city level) will act as a facilitation and communication mechanism.
Municipal District PPNs
The Plenary is the ruling body of the Municipal District PPN and is made up of all registered community, environmental and voluntary organisations in the District.
Each Member Organisation will have one vote. They may select two people to represent them on Plenary of the Municipal District PPN. One of these people will be the main Representative and the other the Alternate. The Municipal District PPN Plenary will meet formally at least twice a year.
The Plenary is the ruling body of the County/City PPN and is made up of all registered community, environmental and voluntary organisations in the county/city.
Each Member Organisation will have one vote. They may select two people to represent them on Plenary of the County/City PPN. One of these people will be the main Representative and the other the Alternate. The County/City PPN Plenary will meet formally at least twice a year.
The County/City PPN will be the main channel through which people will be selected to participate in various processes of the County/City Councils and their Boards/Committees.
Participants will be chosen by the PPN and should not be rejected by the County Council or any of its structures. Likewise, the Council or its structures should not bypass the PPN in choosing representatives from the social inclusion, environmental or voluntary sectors to sit on any of its Boards/Committees.
Diagram to show the relationship between the Public Participation Network Structures and Local Government Bodies – The arrows indicate nominating rights of the different bodies.