Thursday, 11 March 2004

Questions (68, 69)

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

65 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position with regard to the various reviews or studies of community employment commissioned or undertaken by her Department; the main findings of each; if she intends to publish the reports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8079/04]

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Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

72 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of places available on community employment schemes at January 2000, January 2001, January 2002, January 2003 and January 2004; the number that will be available at the end of 2004; if her attention has been drawn to the continuing difficulties being created for community and voluntary organisations by the reduction in community employment places; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8080/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65 and 72 together.

The review of active labour market programmes, including community employment, job initiative, education and training and back to work programmes, which was mandated by the PPF and outlined in the programme for Government, has concluded without reaching a group consensus on the various elements of the review.

The standing committee on the labour market, chaired by my Department, undertook this review. The standing committee was unable to produce a final report in the absence of efficient consensus on the various elements of the review. As part of the review process Indecon international economic consultants were commissioned by my Department on behalf of the standing committee to facilitate a rigorous assessment of the overall effectiveness of existing programmes, and to help inform the deliberations of the standing committee. The Indecon report may now be viewed on my Department's website atwww.entemp.ie.

FÁS has also undertaken a review of community employment and job initiative and has indicated that this report will be published in due course. The total funding allocation for employment schemes in 2004 has been fixed at €351 million, which will support up to 25,000 places across the three employment schemes, community employment, job initiative and social economy. FÁS is being given some flexibility in the management of this financial allocation to maximise progression to the labour market, while at the same time facilitating the support of community services. This allocation, €351 million, is similar to the budgeted amount provided in 2003.

The number of places available on CE since January 2000 is as follows:

Year

Places

Year

Places

January, 2000

36,579

January 2003

24,991

January 2001

33,549

January 2004

19,848

January 2002

30,809

December 2004 (estimate)

20,000

The future structure of the community employment programme remains under review by a group of senior officials and FÁS, and this group will report to Ministers on the outcome of their deliberations shortly.