The most successful countries in the world are those that put social cohesion at the core of the public services and increasingly the most successful companies are doing likewise. Both citizens and customers who are well educated, are people who have access to good employment opportunities, quality public and private services. They will see themselves and their communities having a future. This underpins the capacity of a society and an economy to function fairly and efficiently. Social inclusion is therefore at the heart of the proper planning and sustainability of both the public and private organisation. Organisation leaders in the 21st century are now confronted with decision-making environments where there is both expectation and acknowledgement of the role they play in underpinning social and community development.
It is however very difficult to fully appreciate all the dynamics of social inclusion, particularly where resources are scarce or just not available. Yet it is clear that those that pro-actively engage with the challenges of inclusion as they are thinking through their policy find that it impacts positively on their corporate planning processes.
Ireland is confronted with serious social inclusion challenges ranging from an expanding level of long-term unemployment to high levels of education drop out as well as long-term challenges for the various minority communities, most notably, the Traveller Community. Just how can a policy-maker or a decision-maker be expected to confront such challenges when the primary objective might be to generate a positive rate of return on investment or to build a piece of infrastructure. Increasingly international funding bodies such as the World Bank, and other major investment entities are seeking the reassurance that development proposals underpin greater social cohesion. Increasingly both public and private developments will be expected to factor in such thinking into their day to day planning.
Poverty/Social Impact Assessment (PIA/SIA)
Increasingly authorities are seeking completion of PIA/SIA for programmes, plans and projects. International funding bodies such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and others are also increasingly expecting to see such assessments integrated into the planning of major infrastructure projects. Planning Authorities in Ireland are also increasingly looking to directly address poverty concerns in the preparation of local area plans and county/city development plans. O’Riordain and Associates are the leading company in Ireland in this area and have considerable experience in advising both local and national organisations on applying such impact assessment techniques.
Local Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategies and Plans
O’Riordain and Associates can facilitate organisations and public bodies to meet their corporate responsibilities through preparation of inclusion strategies and plans. A key feature of corporate social responsibility for large private sector organisations, i.e. the embedding of social inclusion into the business planning of companies can be undertaken as a positive response to meeting social responsibilities in a cost-effective manner.
To learn more about our approach take a look at this case study.