The Towards 2016 Agreement

The Towards 2016 Agreement and the development of the community and voluntary sector

Within the 10-year framework agreement there are many commitments that are of great relevance to the cross-cutting development needs of the CV sector.

Additional supports to the sector committed:

  • €30m increase in funding for the Community Services Programme by 2009.
  • €5m per annum increase in funding for volunteering.
  • €10m per annum increase in funding to support the CV Sector.
  • A commitment that Government is committed to the principle of providing multi-annual funding.
  • A commitment that Government will appropriately resource the sector into the future as part of this agreement.
  • A commitment to an “increase in funding as part of the ongoing expansion in overall expenditure on service delivery in the course of the agreement”.
  • In addition, the Government will implement its Social Finance Initiative and establish a social investment vehicle that will supply social finance funding to combat social exclusion.
  • The valuable role of the community and voluntary sector is recognised clearly in the agreement both in terms of the text in the agreement as well as the fact that it has a stand alone section in the agreement for the very first time.
  • The Government restates its commitment to the principles underpinning the relationship between the state and the CV sector, as set out in the White Paper, Supporting Voluntary Activity.
  • The Government has committed to “implementing the NESC proposal of maximising the contribution of the C&V Sector by deepening partnership between statutory bodies and C&V organisations.” (The NESC recommendation includes developing frameworks for partnership at national, sectoral and agency level. This commitment will be helpful in driving forward the ‘White Paper process’ which has become stalled over the last few years.
  • In this regard, another commitment in the agreement is that the Government will engage with the sector in relation to future frameworks to support this relationship.
  • The Government accepts that additional supports will be required for charities to meet their obligations in the new regulatory environment and commits that “additional resources to assist the sector in this transition will be made available.”
  • It goes on to state that “the modalities of this support will be decided following consultation with the CV sector after the legislation has been approved by the Oireachtas”.
  • The new Charities Regulation Bill is being given priority drafting status
  • There is a commitment to an additional €5m per annum to support volunteering.
  • There is a commitment to continue to develop policies on volunteering arising from the package of measures initiated in February 2005.
  • There is a commitment to further support volunteering drawing on the experience in of the February 2005 measures and informed by the recommendations of the Task Force on Active Citizenship.
  • The agreement states that future policy work will take into account the work of the Task Force on Active Citizenship.
  • It also states that arising out of its work, consideration will also be given to future approaches in relation to citizenship education and voter participation.
  • The agreement states that the Government recognises the important work being done by organisations to promote philanthropy in Ireland.
  • The Government will explore ways to facilitate philanthropic work, strengthen and deepen a culture of philanthropy in Ireland and maximise the contribution of philanthropy to the common good
  • The agreement contains a commitment to the development of a national elnclusion strategy “so that everybody has the opportunity, through encouragement, awareness, support, enablement and participation to exploit ICTs to improve their quality of life and the cohesiveness and well-being of their communities”.
  • There is a commitment that arising from the work of the Task Force on Active Citizenship, consideration will be given to the development of measures and indicators of social capital.

The agreement does contain very significant positive commitments regarding the recognition and positioning the community and voluntary sector, the funding and resource-base for the sector and other important related issues. (Ref pages 65—67 in the agreement - see link below).

The Government accepts that additional supports will be required for charities to meet their obligations in the new regulatory environment...

With regard to recognition, the agreement recognises the valuable role of the community and voluntary sector, restates its commitment to the principles outlined in the White Paper Supporting Voluntary Activity, and commits the Government to engage with the sector in relation to future frameworks to support the relationship. These are all high priority objectives for The Wheel.

With regard to resourcing, the agreement provides an additional €45m in funding for the community and voluntary Sector, commits to the principle of multi-annual funding and commits to appropriately resource the sector into the future as part of this agreement.

With regard to regulation, the Government accepts that additional supports will be required for charities to meet their obligations in the new regulatory environment and commits that “additional resources to assist the sector in this transition will be made available” and goes on to state that “the modalities of this support will be decided following consultation with the community and voluntary sector after the legislation has been approved by the Oireachtas”. While not committing to our objective of “resourcing an infrastructure of support and development for the sector located in the sector itself”, it does clearly commit the government to engaging around this issue. Once again, this is a high priority issue for The Wheel

Other important issues that are addressed in line with our policy objectives include the commitment to develop a national e-inclusion strategy, a commitment to consider the development of measures and indicators of social capital, a commitment to explore ways to facilitate philanthropic work, and a commitment to continue to develop policies on volunteering.

While there is no commitment to develop and implement a national policy on volunteering (a high priority objective), there is a commitment to further support volunteering drawing on the experience of the February 2005 measures and informed by the recommendations of the Task Force on Active Citizenship.

With regard to objectives that were not addressed, important issues include our proposals relating to:

  • a Task Force on Resourcing the CV Sector
  • the development of a Social Investment Programme” to encourage philanthropic activity
  • a commitment to lower the threshold for tax relief on donations to charities to €100 and the development of a VAT refund scheme for the sector
  • the protection of the right to advocate by charitable organisations

Further Resources

Links: