Linkage Groups bring together PPN member groups with a common interest to discuss their diverse views and interests in a specific policy area. This is a pathway for member groups to have real input into policy in their areas of interest and work to influence change in this area.
They do this by advocating for policy changes on behalf of the community by engaging with Cork City Council and other relevant bodies. Linkage Groups are an essential component of the work of the PPN. Linkage Groups operate under the PPN Plenary, and report to the PPN Secretariat.
While Linkage Groups are linked to committees, they should work towards a proactive model of engagement rather than being always led by the agenda of the linked committee.
For example, they may proactively look at a particular area of policy and develop a Cork City PPN-specific Issues Paper on this. If this theme comes up on the committee, the PPN Rep can be informed and empowered by this existing PPN stance/policy, rather than reacting to a new agenda item on the committee they serve.
Principal Linkage Groups
There are five (5) principal Linkage Groups operating at a Cork City Council area level:
- Groups registered with the PPN are entitled to become a member of any Linkage Groups.
- On completion of the Registration Form, organisations can specify which Linkage Group(s) their organisation may wish to be a member of.
- Linkage Group membership is open to all members, year-round.
- The Secretariat shall encourage members to participate in Linkage Groups at least once annually.
- PPN Member groups are encouraged to send different representatives to different Linkage Groups. (i.e. The PPN member should not be the same person from the same organisation representing that organisation at all Linkage Groups).
Role of Linkage Group Facilitator
- Foster an environment of active listening that respects and honours diversity.
- Be the point of contact for the PPN for that Linkage Group.
- Provide leadership without taking over and remain neutral as much as possible in discussions.
- Encourage members of the group to take on tasks and get involved in progressing issues.
- To look for gaps in the capacity of the linkage groups and its members and seek training or other helpful opportunities via wider PPN resources.
- Facilitate less heard members to have a voice in the room and express their diversity of experience.
Role of PPN Representative
- Work closely with the Linkage Group Faciliator to further the aims of the linkage group and the wider PPN.
- Send committee agendas and topics to the Linkage Group Faciliator in time to facilitate discusssions at the linkage group.
- Share the work of compiling committee meeting reports with other committee reps (if applicable) and submit these to the Linkage Group Facilitator.
- Work collaboratively and openly with all Linkage Group Members.
- Share the policy positions of the linkage group and the wider PPN at the committee they serve on.
- Portray the PPN and the Linkage Group in a positive and constructive way.