What Women Want – Consultation Checklist for Local Community Development Committees
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2016
This consultation checklist was developed by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) for use by Local Community Development Committees when consulting on policies and services affecting their communities. This work was funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
This consultation checklist was developed by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) for use by Local Community Development Committees when consulting on policies and services affecting their communities. This work was funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. Section 49A of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, which provides for the establishment of Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), stipulates, among their core responsibilities, that Committees will ‘drive meaningful citizen and community engagement in the scoping, planning, delivery and evaluation of local and community development programmes’ and ‘focus on learning and feedback, enhancing the links between service delivery and policy development’. This makes good business sense. Programmes and services designed based on a needs-based, evidentiary approach are more effective and cost-efficient. And decision-making processes informed by diversity have been found to be consistently more likely to find innovative solutions to foster inclusive growth. NWCI provides this guide as a means of supporting members of LCDCs and relevant local authority staff in pursuit of more inclusive and equal communities. LCDCs can, through their competences and composition, undertake concrete actions in favour of gender equality. While it is important not to categorise women as a minority group, it is essential to recognise the particular or perceived nature of women’s and men’s roles in society and tailor budgets, policies, plans and programmes should be accordingly. Equally, women’s equality is not a minority issue; the rights and needs of women cut across all sections of society. Policies and programmes should not be shaped by assumptions. We must establish what women need from programmes and services and whether existing ones meet their needs. International human rights mechanisms recognise that public participation rights encompass the rights to be consulted at each phase of legislative drafting and policymaking, to voice criticism and to submit proposals aimed at improving the functioning and inclusivity of all governmental bodies engaged in the conduct of public affairs. Consultation is thus a crucial element of the duties conferred on LCDCs under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014. Here, NWCI outlines key considerations to be undertaken prior to consulting women and women’s groups.