Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (138)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

137 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection the way a training programme (details supplied) where participants are trainees, in recovery from addiction, unlike other community employment schemes whose participants have roles as clerical staff, child care workers, maintenance and so on, will survive a 50% cut to its training grant which is vital for the scheme and its participants; if provisions will be made in order that more flexible arrangements to current funding will be arranged for this vital training service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34147/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

Community Employment is an employment programme which helps long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine. The programme assists them to enhance and develop both their technical and personal skills which can then be used in the workplace.

Reductions in training and material grants were announced as part of Budget 2012. The Department subsequently undertook a financial review of all CE projects, the main objective of which was to identify areas where savings could be achieved so that best use could be made of available funds. As a result of the review, there are now new arrangements in place to ensure best value is obtained on a range of items including insurance, audits etc.

Community Projects have been advised that any underspend on materials can be reallocated to their training budget. In addition to the budget allocation that has been made to all CE projects, there is also a wide range of training available through both FAS and the VEC's which can be accessed at no cost by CE participants.

The Department recently wrote to the project sponsor concerned to advise it of an improved budgetary allocation following the recent review. An official of the Department has been trying to make contact with the sponsor over the past few days and will be available to meet with the sponsor to discuss any issues, concerns and options.