The number of places available on CE has remained constant at 23,300 including supervisors. The financial review of CE Schemes has now been completed. The Department of Social Protection have contacted schemes to advise them of their revised material and training allocations.
The materials and training CE Budget has been increased by €9.5m from the original budget of approximately €11.0m following transfer from savings identified elsewhere in the DSP budget. The new CE materials and training budget is thus €20.5m.
Under the revised arrangements, schemes will no longer be given universal amounts of financial support but will instead be provided with a specific level of support aimed at meeting the particular costs of CE Schemes, having regard to the overall level of funding available for CE nationally. To date, significant savings have already been made to the overheads of CE projects in terms of annual insurance costs and audit fees.
To date there are no indications that any CE scheme will close as a result of the CE financial review. However, in any year a number CE schemes may decide to close or amalgamate and in such cases the Department of Social Protection make every effort to secure alternative sponsors to ensure that the participants and the essential services that they deliver are maintained. The matter will be kept under review and, notwithstanding the increased funding now available, should a limited number of CE sponsors withdraw from Community Employment, the Department will ensure that the participants and services are (so far as possible) supported.