Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this project about?

The Communities in Transition Project aims to support eight identified geographic areas where there has been a history of paramilitary activity and coercive control to transition into communities where paramilitary activity no longer plays a role. This project is designed to support ambitious initiatives that will build the capacity of individuals and groups to affect positive change for themselves and their communities.

2. Who is funding the Project?

The Communities in Transition Project, led by The Executive Office (TEO), is one of 38 actions within the Executive Action Plan on Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime that make up the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme, which is being funded by the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further information on the wider Tackling Paramilitarism Programme is available at https://www.northernireland.gov.uk/articles/executive-programme-tackling-paramilitary-activity-and-organised-crime

3. What are the eight areas you are working in?   

The selected areas include four in Belfast:

  •  Lower Falls, Twinbrook, Poleglass, Upper Springfield, Turf Lodge and Ballymurphy in West Belfast.
  • New Lodge and Greater Ardoyne in North Belfast.
  • The Mount and Ballymacarett in East Belfast.
  • The Shankill

And four outside of Belfast:

  • Antiville and Kilwaughter in Larne together with Northland and Castlemara in Carrickfergus.
  • Brandywell and Creggan in Derry/Londonderry.
  • Kilcooley and Rathgill in North Down.
  • Drumgask and Kilwilkie in Lurgan.

4. What does ‘communities in transition’ mean?

For this project ‘communities in transition’ refers to geographical areas where communities have historically experienced high levels of paramilitarism and associated levels of coercive control. This project is designed to support ambitious initiatives that will build capacity in such communities to transition into communities where paramilitary activity no longer plays a role.

The concept of ‘transition’ applies throughout the entire Executive Action Plan and not just to this project. The approach to transition that is being developed and utilised across the Action Plan, and to support the successful delivery of this project, is that:

  • Transition will be reflected in society as a whole; in institutions of governance and statutory agencies; in neighbourhoods and places; and for groups of people that make up local communities;
  • Transition will involve a proactive move towards a culture of lawfulness;
  • Transition will mean communities and individuals impacted by paramilitarism achieving, and being supported to achieve, a move away from the coercive influence of organised crime and paramilitary organisations into communities where paramilitary activity no longer plays a role;  
  • Transition also requires action to ensure communities are fully involved and supported to address underlying issues and achieve improved outcomes for all, as part of the continued transformation of society.

5. What do you mean by ‘building capacity’?

The focus of this project is on building capacity in communities to transition away from the coercive control of  paramilitary and organised crime groups which means giving local communities the help and support to develop into communities where paramilitary activity and coercive control no longer play a role.. This includes:

  • Building capacity to transition in neighbourhoods and places and for groups of people that make up local communities.
  • Build capacity to proactively move towards a culture of lawfulness.
  • Build capacity to become open, accessible and lawful communities.
  • Build capacity to address underlying social issues and achieve improved outcomes for all.

6. What is a culture of lawfulness?

This project seeks to build capacity to support lawfulness at a local level as a way to transition away from the coercive control and malign influence of illegal organisations.

The idea of a ‘culture of lawfulness’ is about much more than just law enforcement or the criminal justice system: it is about the core values of respect; transparency; impartiality; accountability; consistency; and proportionality.

In a culture where lawfulness is respected and embedded, people feel valued, have a sense of connection to those around them and believe that they have a stake in society.

Whilst this includes respect for the rule of law, the presence of a culture of lawfulness is also about culture and values and developing a system that is clear, consistent and accessible.

Further information about what a Culture of Lawfulness means is available on the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme website.

 https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/justice/framework-for-promoting-a-culture-of-lawfulness.pdf

7. What work has been done to date?

The Project is split into 2 phases and to date we have completed Phase 1. This phase was an initial consultation period with local communities and key stakeholders in each of the areas, which was undertaken by independent fieldworkers appointed by the CiT Consortium. Summary Reports detailing the findings of this phase are available on the Co-operation Ireland website. 

8. Will there be further local input to the plan before final sign off?

The involvement of the local community in the development and design of project activities is a key element of our approach. Local communities have already been involved through the initial consultation phase, and we hope to see this level of participation continue and grow throughout the rest of the project.  Next steps include a Participatory Design process which will enable local stakeholders to engage in the further development of project activities which will build capacity to transition into communities where paramilitary activity and coercive control no longer play a role.

9. What is the Participatory Design Process?

During consultation and engagement with communities it has become evident that the Communities in Transition initiative must be an ongoing, iterative process. Taking account of community and stakeholder feedback, the consortium will share proposals for activity with communities and seek views in order to design in more detail the activities to be undertaken during Phase 2 of the project to ensure that activities commissioned are responsive to local contexts and need.  This process will help ensure that communities have a role in shaping and influencing activity, and in turn increase the chances of success.

10. How can I get involved in the Participatory Design Process?

Please e-mail your interest to cit@cooperationireland.org or phone us on 028 90 321462

11. What will happen with the output of the Participatory Design Process?

The CiT Consortium will submit proposals for activities to the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board. Once Board and business case approval is received, TEO will commission activity and select delivery partners through a tender process.

12. How will the project activities be delivered?

Once the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board has approved the proposed content for each area, projects will be commissioned via a tender process. It is anticipated that individual organisations or ideally consortia who can bring relevant connections and expertise will submit tender proposals to deliver one or more elements of the plan.

The delivery of activities will be monitored against the outcomes for the project and against the overall programme outcomes. Activity may be adjusted to improve impact or to respond to changes in the area context.

13. How much money has been allocated to this project?

A budget allocation of up to £12million has been earmarked for the delivery of the Communities in Transition project by the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board. Decisions on the content and scale of activity that will be supported also rest with the Programme Board.

The Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board is chaired by the Department of Justice which coordinates delivery of the Action Plan on behalf of all Departments and includes senior officials from The Executive Office, Northern Ireland Office, Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Finance and the Department for Communities. 

14. Will there be local accountability structures to assess and monitor the implementation of the Transition Plan in each area?

Local accountability structures will be considered during the participatory design process. At this stage, all stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute their suggestions on the shape of the local accountability structures.  The detail and composition of these structures may vary from area to area.

15. If I want more information?

For further information please contact Co-operation Ireland on 028 90 321462 or e-mail cit@cooperationireland.org

To find out about the wider Tackling Paramilitarism Programme please visit:

https://www.northernireland.gov.uk/articles/executive-programme-tackling-paramilitary-activity-and-organised-crime

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