Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

Billy Timmins

Question:

204 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position with regard to a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow which has been informed that the CEP scheme is being discontinued which will result in a shortfall of £15,000 per year for secretarial and caretaker services; the alternative funding arrangements in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20311/00]

Billy Timmins

Question:

205 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position with regard to a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow which has availed of the services of a classroom assistant over a number of years; the alternative arrangements in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20312/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 205 together.

The community employment programme, CE, provides work experience for long-term unemployed persons for a period of one to three years. CE participants in schools projects are employed as secretaries, caretakers and classroom assistants. The administration of the CE programme including the allocation of places and renewal of projects is a matter for FÁS, as part of their remit under the Labour Services Act, 1987, therefore, it would not be appropriate to comment on individual projects.

My Department, in the context of the commitment under section 4.2.4 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Department of Education and Science with a view to determining how to transfer all or part of the funding currently spent on CE schemes in schools to that Department. This would provide an increase in funding for schools over and above the additional resources already allocated by the Department of Education and Science for these purposes over the past year.
The precise nature of the scheme to be implemented is at present under consideration in the Department of Education and Science, having regard to the needs of the different elements of the schools sector. While there may be some short-term reduction in funding for schools due to the CE restructuring and the need for FÁS to prioritise projects, the proposals under consideration in the Department of Education and Science would result in increased annual funding for schools on a more permanent basis than that which has been provided up to now through CE.
I would hope to have proposals ready for consideration by the social partners through the PPF standing committee on the labour market later this month. The consultation process should be completed and proposals agreed and set in train by the year-end.