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Fifth Progress Report of the Cross-Departmental Team on Housing, Infrastructure and PPP's

 

Terms of Reference 

1.       The objective of the Cabinet Committee is to facilitate cohesive and co-ordinated delivery across the administrative system of infrastructure investment under the National Development Plan (NDP) and related major national infrastructure projects (including roads, public transport, ports and airports, sanitary services, waste management, energy and communications) and to facilitate delivery of the Governments housing objectives. 

2.       The Committees remit is to: 

Ø       Monitor progress in implementation of infrastructure investment under the NDP and other infrastructure provisions against targets and facilitate co-ordinated action across Departments and agencies to address cross-cutting issues;

Ø       Monitor housing output by the private, local authority and voluntary sectors and keep relevant policies under review so as to ensure that they facilitate to the maximum extent the achievement of the necessary level of output;

Ø       Monitor progress of the PPP process, identify areas where PPPs might be developed (having regard to the role of the National Development Finance Agency) and promote the use where appropriate of PPPs to deliver essential infrastructure projects;

Ø       Identify any emerging blockages and ensure timely and co-ordinated interventions to resolve difficulties, including the development of recommendations as necessary for streamlining institutional arrangements and the planning and impact assessment systems;

Ø       Keep priorities under review in the light of progress achieved and changing circumstances; in particular, the Committee will approve the conclusions of the 2003 Mid-term review of the National Development Plan insofar as the infrastructure element is concerned; and

Ø       Oversee the NDP Communications Strategy to ensure strong public awareness of and support for, and social partner involvement in championing, rollout of vital national infrastructure projects.

Membership

3.       The Cabinet Committee comprises the Taoiseach; the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment; the Minister for Finance; the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; the Minister for Transport; the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; the Attorney General; the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government and the Government Chief Whip. The Minister for Education and Science was added to the membership during the year and, for the first time, the education capital programme features on the Cabinet Committees work programme (March 2004). 

Working Arrangements 

4.       The Cabinet Committee normally meets once a month and has met twelve times during the period covered by this Progress Report.  The Committee is supported by a Cross-Departmental Team comprising senior officials from relevant Government Departments and chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach.  Specialist groups operated as necessary throughout 2003 under the Committee and Team structure to address issues in the key areas of the National Spatial Strategy, NDP communications, legal issues, housing, broadband, wider energy policy and the treatment of infrastructure relative to the General Government Balance.

5.       The Cabinet Committee adopted its Work Programme for the year in January 2003 see Appendix 1.  The Programme set out the work of the Committee as involving:  (i) addressing planning and infrastructure-related issues that require a collaborative approach between Departments;  (ii) determining priorities in the programme, legislative and financing areas;  (iii) developing agreed monitoring and evaluation processes; and (iv) communicating progress on implementation of the infrastructure agenda set out in the National Development Plan through, in particular, the NDP Communications Strategy.