Structure of the PPN

The Public Participation Network will be organized at county and municipal level in County Offaly.

The PPN has:

  1. A County Plenary dealing with county issues
  2. A Municipal Plenary dealing with local area issues
  3. Linkage Groups to deal with specific issues/topics
  4. A Secretariat at county level to organise and facilitate the working of the foregoing structures/mechanisms.




  • The County Plenary is the ruling body of the PPN
  • The County Plenary will consist of all PPN registered member organisations
  • The Plenary will meet a minimum of 2 times per year in accordance with dept. guidelines.
  • All PPN member groups are entitled to 14 days notice of a county Plenary meeting.
  • Plenary members will opt to be a member of a Community and Voluntary, Social inclusion or environmental College.
  • Each member organisation may select two people to represent them on the County Plenary but only one of them will be entitled to vote on behalf of their member organisation.
  • Each membership organisation will have only one vote at the County Plenary.
  • A special meeting of the Plenary can be called if requested by two thirds of membership groups by petition of members.



The Municipal Districts are made up of all registered member organizations (ie Community and Voluntary, Social Inclusion and Environmental electoral Colleges) in each of Co Offaly three Municipal Districts – Birr, Edenderry and Tullamore.

Municipal District meetings are called by the Secretariat representative for each Municipal District at least twice each year in accordance with the Dept. guidelines.

The Municipal Districts will be guided by the vision and objectives of the PPN at county level.

The Municipal Districts report to the County Plenary annually on their activities

Member organisations of the Municipal Districts can also be member of the County PPN.

A special meeting of the Municipal District Plenary can be called if requested by two thirds of its membership by petition.



A Linkage Group is a collection of PPN member organisations that are stakeholders or have a particular interest or expertise in the issues being discussed at a network group.  The PPN will invite all member groups to join a Linkage Group, and all who wish to join can do so, nominating individuals to attend on their behalf.  Linkage groups may invite non-members to participate in an advisory role. Board of Committee refers to the 23 decision making bodies where there are PPN reps as a member of their governance structure.




Role of the Secretariat:

  1. Facilitate the implementation of the decisions of the Plenary
  2. Ensure the proper functioning of Offaly  PPN between Plenaries
  3. Coordinate activities of Offaly  PPN
  4. Communicate extensively and regularly with all Offaly  PPN members and in this process, disseminate information concerning all PPN activities as widely as possible
  5. Manage the resource worker who will be provided to the PPN at a county level to enable them in delivering their objectives.
  6. To support the individual representatives of the PPN and help to develop their capacity to do their work, participate and provide feedback effectively.



Flat Structure

The PPN is a flat structure. This means that all groups in the PPN have an equal voice and an equal input into decision making.  There is no leader, no overall spokesperson or chairperson.  It is truly a collective, accommodating a wide range of diverse views and perspectives.  It supports each member to develop new skills and contribute in an equal way to the organisation.

The main decision making body of the PPN is the Plenary (i.e. all the independent member groups) which should meet at least twice every year to review the workings of the PPN and set the agenda for the coming period.  The elected Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the PPN between Plenary meetings.  Subsets of the PPN such as Linkage Groups also inform the process.  This is a new way of working which differs from a traditional hierarchical structure and is undoubtedly challenging.  However, there is much evidence around the country of it operating well.


The Plenary (all the member organisations together) is the key decision maker of the PPN, meeting at least twice a year.  Their role is to direct the operation of the PPN, setting overall PPN policy and processes.  Decisions made between Plenary meetings, including the election of representatives, should be presented for ratification to the following meeting. Each independent member group has one vote in the Plenary.  Plenary meetings are an ideal forum for member groups to meet and network and to hear about matters of interest to them.  The Plenary is also charged with developing a wellbeing statement for this and future generations in the area. The Plenary usually meets in May and November.