The Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. Funding of approximately €53.498 million is available in 2013 to support the provision of youth services.
In 2013 an allocation of €11.997 million was provided to City of Dublin Youth Services Board to support the provision of youth services to young people in the city of Dublin area. In 2008 the allocation for such services was €14.892 million, resulting in a cumulative reduction of €2.895 million, or 19%, over the five-year period in question. This funding is provided under the special projects for youth, the young people's facilities and services fund, and local drugs task forces.
They are the three schemes that get supported by the CDYSB.
This reduction, in line with the general trend in public expenditure, reflects the crisis in the public finances which emerged in 2008 and which, despite major progress, continues to limit the funding available to publicly funded programmes. As with all Departments and agencies, funding for the programmes of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has been reduced in recent years due to the general budgetary situation.
My Department has tried to ensure that in the determination process for the allocations to youth services throughout the country, the front-line youth projects, particularly those for the most vulnerable young people, are protected as far as is possible from the impact of the necessary reductions in funding. Organisations are being asked to consider the scope for reducing administration costs and overheads, if that is at all possible, in order to maintain the front-line youth services for young people. That is in line with the approach adopted within the public service where operational efficiencies and pay cost reductions, most recently through the Haddington Road agreement, have been used to minimise the impact of the fiscal crisis on service availability.
A comprehensive value for money and policy review of youth funding has been commenced in the Department and it is anticipated that the findings of this report will inform the future development of youth programmes and services.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
I know that the restrictions in funding are challenging for youth organisations. I have met, and continue to meet, many youth organisations and groups to try to see how we can work together to minimise the impact of the necessary savings to ensure the provision of quality youth services to young people is sustained in these challenging times.
During the course of Ireland's EU Presidency, which came to a close in recent days, I used my position as President of the Council of EU Youth Ministers to secure agreement on a policy agenda which aimed at raising the profile of youth work and seeking greater access for the youth work sector to EU funding opportunities, in particular funding to be provided under the youth employment initiative and as part of the implementation of the youth guarantee.