Dissatisfaction about working relationships expressed by Community Empowerment Networks has resulted in the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister giving them greater freedom. The networks, funded by the community empowerment fund, were created to help the community and voluntary sectors participate in local strategic partnerships.The networks operate under the umbrella of the local Council for Voluntary Services who become the ‘accountable body’. Many networks have experienced difficult relationships with their CVS and under new guidance issued by the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit they will be able to take on the role of the accountable body or find another organization to fulfill the role.
The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit also announced that the objectives of the Community Empowerment Fund are to be widened to include providing community support for the delivery of Local Neighbourhood Renewal Strategies in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
In a move to strengthen the networks a performance management system has been developed and it will be rolled out across the country later in the year. It has been designed as a tool for effective management and learning, so that the networks can assess their own work and determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals and where further action is needed. Support will be provided in using the system.