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Local Government Policy

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Local Authority Policy Groups/Committees

Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs)

Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs) are local authority committees in city and county councils whose membership includes elected councillors, representatives of business, farming interests, environmental/conservation groups, trade unions and community and voluntary members. It is the task of the Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs), as committees of the council, to advise and assist the council in the formulation, development and review of policy. They have no remit in relation to routine operational matters regarding the delivery of services. The SPC system is intended to give councillors and relevant sectoral interests an opportunity for full involvement in the policy making process from the early stages.

Since 2014 at least one of the SPCs must be established to consider matters which relate to the functions of the local authority in relation to economic development and enterprise support.  The chairperson of an SPC is appointed by the local authority while the sectoral interests are nominated by their organisation/group.

Revised guidelines for the establishment of Strategic Policy Committees and Corporate Policy Groups were published by the Department in June 2014 entitled: Corporate Policy Groups and Strategic Policy Committees: Guidelines for establishment and operation.

The Corporate Policy Group (CPG)

The Corporate Policy Group (CPG) consists of the cathaoirleach, or chairperson/mayor of the council, the chairpersons of each Strategic Policy Committee and, where the municipal district is not already represented by the chairperson of the municipal district of his/her nominee.   The Corporate Policy Group (CPG) co-ordinates and links the work of the various SPCs and acts as a forum where policy decisions affecting the entire council can be agreed for recommendation to the full council.

The role of the CPG is a strategic one; it is intended to link and co-ordinate the work of the different SPCs and to provide a forum where policy positions affecting the whole council can be discussed and agreed for submission to the full council.  The CPG acts as a mini-cabinet for council business and is supported by the city/county chief executive.  For example, the CPG will have an active role in the preparation of the council’s draft budget.  It will also determine whether a local authority function should be discharged at the municipal district or authority level, where reference in relation to this question is made to it.  It must also be consulted in the preparation of the corporate plan.  The cathaoirleach/chairperson  reports to the full council on the work of the CPG; the chairs of each SPC report back to their committee similarly, as do the representative of each municipal district to their fellow municipal district members.