The White Paper: "A Programme For Change"


Many people were heartened in December 1996 by the publication of the white paper on local government reform. It stated that:

"…those responsible for the delivery of services (should be) driven by the requirements of customer needs… and …that services are viewed from the customers rather than the organisation’s perspective.…".

Local Authorities were challenged to‘...embrace new concepts of partnership…..’ and the report anticipated that local government:

‘….will come to be more fully accepted as the legitimate voice of local communities , and to be recognised as such within the overall system of government and public administration…’ (" A Programme For Change " section 2.3)


Community Workers Co-operative

The principles upon which this reform has been based are as follows:

  1. Enhancing local democracy and widening participation
  2. Serving the customer better
  3. Developing efficiency in local government and
  4. Providing proper resources to allow local government to fulfil the role assigned to it.
Measures two and three are the ones which deal predominantly with the internal operations and administration of the County Councils. The fourth measure has been dealt with in part by the finance package announced by the Minister for the Environment, Noel Dempsey, earlier this year.

Enhancing Local Democracy

It is the first measure, that of enhancing local democracy and widening participation, that has been the most far-reaching and perhaps controversial. It proposes, among other things, to establish broadly based committees whose role it will be to advise the elected council representatives on areas of policy. These committees will be called Strategic Policy Committees.


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