Let me put this document on the record first. I suggest that the Deputy marks the points that he wants to deal with because there might be more than one.
There is a note on the number of people participating in back to work initiatives. They include the figures which add up to about 50,000 people, and that is on page 5. Most of those people are on community employment, rural employment schemes, back to education allowance scheme, and Tús schemes. Whereas there is only about 5,000 people on back to work enterprise allowance schemes, short-term enterprise allowance or the part-time job initiative. It is good to get that information.
There is a profile of the debt written off. A sum of €32 million was written-off in 2010 with, I think, values of under €10,000. There is a detailed schedule there of what was written off by the Department and written off by the Social Insurance Fund - €35 million. We discussed that at the meeting and asked for a breakdown.
We asked about the cost-effectiveness of An Post's banking charges, and to include the difference with standard banking fees. They say that approximately 60% of payments in 2018 were by electronic funds transfer, 40% were where the payee presents to the post office and about 1% were where cheques were issued in the post. There is detailed information.
There is a breakdown of all payments that were made by the Department that directly support families. We were given very detailed information on that.
There are details on prepayments at the year end.
There is further information on the public services card, the contract and everything relating to that.
There is a note on Turas Nua and Seetec. Deputy Cullinane wants to comment on that.
There is a note on the number of refusals that were subsequently appealed and their decisions and they gave a complete breakdown. The appeals office allowed approximately 32% of appeals, partially allowed 2% and made a revised decision in 21% of the cases and in about 37% of cases, the appeals were disallowed by the appeals office. It is roughly 60% where there was some improvement for the applicant and about 40% where the decision of the Department was fully upheld.
There is a note on the requirements for a qualified adult allowance in the context of the State contributory scheme. I raised this issue myself.
While people will find this interesting, I will not read out the note. We asked for a breakdown of the reasons claims are rejected based on the means of the applicant and those rejected based on a lack of contributions or other reasons. The Department gave the reasons for all of their major schemes as to whether it was means or a lack of information. A full breakdown consisting of three pages was given and it is important that people take a look at that. I know many people will want to read the note in detail.
There is a note on the review of the 94,000 cases by the Department, to include a breakdown by gender. That refers to people who had left the workplace early. The Department gave all of the figures and we mentioned that.
There is a note on the five contracts not subject to competitive procurement. The details have been supplied.
I wish to highlight the note that we received on the school meals schemes, to include the number of eligible schools which did not receive a payment in the first term and an update on the operation of the scheme for 2019 and 2020.
If I read it correctly it gives the number of pupils on a county by county basis for the DEIS schools not participating in the school meals programme. There are 3,317 children in DEIS schools which have not put in place the school meals programme. That is dreadful. Those children should be getting those meals. We will ask the Department in the first instance to communicate with the chairman of the board of each of those schools to find out why the children are not getting what they are entitled to in those DEIS schools. In Mayo, there are 408 children entitled to this scheme who are not getting it. That is not acceptable. Some other counties have much fewer. The Mayo figure appears to be the highest.
The Department had a separate initiative for non-DEIS schools and there are 6,455 children eligible in schools to receive the school meals programme and those schools have not yet put that in place. That is approximately 10,000 children entitled to the school meals programme but for some reason the schools are not providing it. We want the Department to follow up on that and contact each of the schools because it is not fair to the children involved and we want a report on that by the end of March. We will give them a couple of months to make progress on that but it is something people should know about.
We mentioned fraud cases earlier and in the interest of balance I always ask for the top five settlements, in this case for 2018, pertaining to the Social Insurance Fund to include the amounts recovered. This refers to employers in respect of redundancy and insolvency payments and in one case the debt was €2.882 million and the Department recovered €2.871 million. There are other cases for €252,000, €258,000, €313,000, and another employer owed €1.069 million but the Department recovered only €227,000. A lot of money has to be recovered from employers as well as individual claimants. We want always to maintain the balance. It also gives a detailed breakdown of the customer debt where the figures were less than €10,000 and which were written off. Some go back to 1984, a long time ago.
There are other items in respect of the back to education allowance and exceptional needs in the housing support which will be relevant to the housing topic. There is also a detailed note on the free travel scheme, the travel pass and the integrated ticketing system. I am just highlighting points. There are 42 pages which I ask people with an interest to study. I have only touched on the topics.