Westmeath Community and Voluntary Forum the Background
The Community and Voluntary Sector is now recognised as a Social Partner, alongside Employer/Business, Trade Union, and Farming/Agricultural Sectors.
The following paragraphs give an outline of the purpose of the Community and Voluntary Forum, the structure of the Forum, procedure for the selection of representatives, meeting arrangements, and criteria for groups to affiliate to the Community and Voluntary Forum and activities undertaken by the Forum.
What is the purpose of the Community and Voluntary Forum?
The purpose of the Community and Voluntary Forum is to facilitate the representation of and participation by community and voluntary groups in matters relating to Westmeath County Development Board, Westmeath County Council and other relevant structures and bodies.
Given the broad range of sectors and organisations which constitute Westmeath County Development Board, it is also be open to them to work through the Community and Voluntary Forum to consult with and foster participation by the Community and Voluntary Sector in matters relevant to their own area of interest or responsibility.
The Forum provides for a two-way exchange of information between the CDB, SPC’s, Area Committees of the Council and the Community and Voluntary Sector.
The Forum provides a mechanism for nominating representatives to Westmeath County Development Board, it’s supporting structures, and the Strategic Policy Committees
Structure of Community and Voluntary Forum
Westmeath Community & Voluntary Forum comprises of a Community & Voluntary County Forum and 5 local area fora. Local Area Community and Voluntary Fora were organised in the first instance, to correspond with the four Area Committees of the County Council. To take account of groups that have a county-wide remit (as distinct from a specifically local remit e.g. Irish Wheelchair assoc or Citizens Information Services ), a county-wide Area Forum was established.
Acknowledging the distribution of population in the county, each Local Area Forum select representatives to Westmeath Community and Voluntary County Forum. The number of representatives selected from each area to the County Forum are as follows:
- Coole Area 3
- Athlone Area (Urban & Rural) 6
- Kilbeggan Area 3
- Mullingar Area (East & West) 6
- County Remit 3
When selecting representatives to the County C & V Forum, every effort is made to ensure a balance in numbers, between different types of Groups and gender balance. Representatives selected to represent the County Forum or Area Fora should serve a minimum term of two years, with freedom for the nominating forum to de-select its representative(s), if circumstances necessitate. After a maximum of five years, the nominating body should re-select its representatives (with existing representatives eligible for re-selection). The County Forum and Area Fora re-constitute themselves after each local election, thus having a five-year life span.
Area Fora and County Forum meet at least three times per year. Staff of the Office of the Director of Community and Enterprise convene and facilitate the meetings of each forum and keep records of meetings held. Decisions are made by consensus as far as possible and meetings are arranged at times and locations to facilitate the fora, which are readily accessible, including for people with special needs.
Criteria for affiliation to the Community and Voluntary Forum
It will be necessary to meet the following criteria in order to become a member of Westmeath Community and Voluntary Forum.
All Groups must:
- Be able to demonstrate that the group has been in existence for twelve months prior to completing their Application Form.
- Have a listed membership of at least six people.
- Hold an Annual General Meeting at which Officers are elected.
- Be an independent body, with its own decision-making powers, and not a sub-committee of any other group entitled to affiliate to the Forum.
- Have a written constitution/statement of aims and objectives.
- Where a member of an organisation is selected to represent an Area Forum, another member of the same organisation may not be selected to represent the “county-wide” area. To ensure this, representatives for the Area Fora will therefore be selected before the establishment of the “county-wide” forum.
- Groups who have representative rights through other mechanisms will be entitled to affiliate to Westmeath Community and Voluntary Forum, but will not be entitled to participate in selecting representatives to bodies to which they already have representative rights.
- Single issue groups with short-term task oriented focus, and lobby groups shall not be entitled to affiliate (e.g. groups whose objective is to provide or block specific projects).
||Athlone - Shamrock Lodge Hotel||7.30pm|
|Wednesday||7th March (Special Meeting)
||Mullingar - Annaghbrook Hotel||7.30pm|
||Mullingar - Annaghbrook Hotel
|Wednesday||27th June||Athlone - Shamrock Lodge Hotel