Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

Questions (252)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

252. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be issued payment under the 2012 disadvantaged area scheme; the reasons for the delay in payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10727/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, holdings of eligible applicants are required to have met a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units for a retention period of six consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year.

While the holding concerned has been confirmed as having bovines and equines during calendar year 2012, requisite information in relation to sheep, to demonstrate compliance with the stocking requirements, is outstanding. My Department has been in contact with the applicant in this regard and on receipt of additional information, the case can be progressed.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Application Numbers

Questions (253)

Billy Timmins

Question:

253. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding farm payments in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10731/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1 September 2010 and full payments totalling €1,567.05 and €4,999.96 issued in respect of 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. The application of the person named was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 5 December 2012. The Inspection process is now being finalised with the intention of an early resolution and payment in respect of 2012.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (254, 256)

Seán Fleming

Question:

254. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of agency and contract staff currently employed under the aegis of his Department; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10976/13]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

256. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will outline the numbers and cost of agency staff under the aegis of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11056/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 and 256 together.

My Department, from time to time, employs staff from agencies to provide certain services when such proves to be more cost effective and Department staff are not available. Such expenditure is based on competitive tendering with extensive use of Central Government and Department specific frameworks which continue to drive costs down.

Details are provided in the following table:

Name of Agency

Service

Cost of Service in 2012

Number of Staff (FTEs)

Farm Relief Services (FRS)

Ancillary services to support Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

€2.686m

103

Farm Relief Services (FRS)

Cow Monitoring Scheme as part of the Brucellosis Eradication Scheme. This involves the blood sampling of culled cows in Meat Plants and assists in the detection of brucellosis reactors in a herd. With effect from 1 January 2013 the task of taking blood samples has been taken over by Department staff.

€0.559m

24

Backweston Laboratories Facilities management contract drawn up with OPW. Costs are apportioned between State Labs and DAFM labs in the ration 1:2

Facilities Management monthly contract fee for:

DAFM Labs

Longtown Farm

€1,641,144 ex. VAT

€297,384 ex. VAT

Total €1,938,528

26

5

Matthew Griffin Building Contractor*

Dingle GO hire

€49,084

1

Whitty Construction Ltd.*

Safety and maintenance at Dunmore East

€53,995

1

Deloitte & Touche

ERS (Electronic recording system for fishing activity)

GCPS (generic Claims processing system)

IFIS (integrated Fisheries Information system)

€120,447

€116,545

€113,871

Total €350,863

2†

IT Alliance

AFIT (inspection system)

CCS (customer information management system)

ERS

Operations (database/infrastructure administration)

€250,038

€81,905

€261,331

€337,142

Total €930,416

6.5†

Version 1

AFIT

AHCS (animal health monitoring system)

AIM (animal movement and identification system)

ERS

SPS (single payment system)

IFIS

IMAP (geographical data management)

RDP(rural development programme)-GCPS

REPS (rural environment protection scheme)

€331,178

€741,470

€265,937

€131,573

€253,423

€218,825

€36,568

€8,610

€139,842

Total €2,127,426

18†

System Dynamics

AFIT

DAS (disadvantaged areas scheme)

DEP (Dairy Efficiency Programme)

ERS

FORESTRY

IFIS

IMP NOT (import notifications)

RDP-GCPS

SUCKLER

€279,681

€192,187

€62,896

€151,242

€57,232

€97,221

€123,910

€123,984

€116,514

Total €1,204,867

9.6†

Accenture

ERS

SPS

RDP-GCPS

€102,819

€1,130,562

€244,607

Total €1,477,988

10†

Vantage Resources

IT AFIT

AIM

ERS

FORESTRY

RDP-GCPS

AFIT-RDC

€131,098

€543,917

€118,031

€203,055

€70,609

€78,897

Total €1,145,607

10.4†

Sogetti

AFIT-RDC

RDP-GCPS

€20,056

€119,335

Total €139,391

2†

SMX

SAP (payments system)

€430,293

Total €430,293

2.4†

The ICON Group

ERAD (animal disease management)

GIS (geographical data)

€2,541

€123,777

Total €126,318

0.8†

Compass Informatics

GIS

€16,254

Total €16,25

0.4†

Client Solutions

SAP

€174,945

Total €174,945

1†

IT Force

E-GOV

€244,893

Total €244,893

3†

CPL

E-GOV

€94,693

Total €94,693

1†

CTRL

OPERATIONS

€113,560

Total €113,560

1†

SMDT

OPERATIONS

€70,065

Total €70,065

2†

Sabeo Technologies

OPERATIONS

€154,332

Total €154,332

1†

Janix

SSO (single sign on system…authentication for multiple corporate systems)

Operations

€73,376

€391,379

Total €464,755

3†

IBM Ireland

Operations

€46,127

Total €46,127

0.1†

*Construction contractors supplying service as distinct from an employment agency.

† The number of full time equivalents quoted below for IT contractors is as of 31/01/2013. This number is subject to some fluctuation as requirements change.

No. of Agency Staff

No. of Contract Staff (FTE)

Service

Mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs

NIL – recruited directly by this Department

3

To carry out work associated with the National Forestry Inventory

Cost controlled by agreeing a fixed term and cost contract ; Contract staff engaged for a two year period, on a salary scale similar to the first point of the 'Forestry Inspector Grade 3' salary scale

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Question No. 256 answered with Question No. 254.

Questions (255)

Joan Collins

Question:

255. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of public sector workers who have retired in the past three years within his Department or any office or body under his aegis who have been reinstated; if he will provide details on the pay rates they are receiving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10988/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A retired Assistant Secretary was re-engaged by my Department on a contract basis which is due to expire at the end of the EU Presidency on 28 June 2013. His current contract involves a total cost of €63,553.50.

A retired Senior Research Officer was re-engaged by my Department on a contract basis for a limited period which is due to expire on 1 March 2013. Since his re-engagement in March 2012, the cost to my Department is €34,956.73.

The parallel information in respect of the State Bodies under the aegis of my Department is a matter for the Bodies themselves.

Question No. 256 answered with Question No. 254.

Foster Care Policy

Questions (257)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

257. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide an update on the rules regarding the age that children leave foster care (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10699/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Under Section 3 of the Child Care Act, 1991, the Health Service Executive has a duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care or protection. Where a child is taken into the care of the state, the policy of the HSE is to place him/her in care settings, preferably in foster care, as close as possible to their home and community. The age for all young people to leave the care of the state is 18 years, unless they a leave care prior to turning 18 years of age.

As regards separated children seeking asylum (SCSA), their immediate and ongoing needs, as well as their application for refugee status are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in accordance with the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) and the Child Care Act, 1991. Where children are identified by An Garda Síochána, at the point of entry as unaccompanied minors, the circumstances are investigated and if there are any concerns about the welfare of the child, they are placed into the care of the HSE. Young children are always placed with foster carers, and older young people are either placed with a private foster company or, by their own preference, in dedicated children's residential accommodation. On reaching 18 years of age, or on completing their second level education during their 18th or 19th year, they are then referred by the HSE to the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA). The Reception and Integration Agency arranges for their transfer to adult accommodation and service provision in the direct provision system.

The HSE and the RIA have an agreed policy in relation to the accommodation of separated children seeking asylum who reach the age of 18 years and there is regular liaison between the two agencies. I am advised by the Department of Justice that detailed discussions take place between the Separated Children's Team in the HSE and RIA, to ensure the best RIA centre match for the young adult concerned. RIA provides these young adults with full board and accommodation in a direct provision centre. In practice and with the agreement of the Department of Justice, the HSE has retained young adults in after care for various durations and in very exceptional circumstances, for example where there is severe disability or serious mental or physical health issues. In addition, the HSE is committed to ensuring continuity of care for all young people who are undertaking their leaving certificate and therefore interprets "18th birthday" as the end of a school year/leaving certificate year following their 18th birthday. Any change of placement would only be in exceptional circumstances and in the young person's best interests.

Foster Care Provision

Questions (258)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

258. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the action she is taking on foot of the Health Information and Quality Authority report inspection of the Health Service Executive Dublin north west local health area fostering service in the Health Service Executive Dublin north east region; and the way she proposes to ensure that the action plan is fully implemented. [10728/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

HIQA undertakes inspection of foster care services against the National Standards for Foster Care, under Section 69 of the Child Care Act 1991. The purpose of foster care inspections is to review compliance with regulations and standards for all children. HIQA's inspection methodology includes interviewing HSE managers and social workers, a sample of children, carers and birth parents and review a range of files, including complaints.

Foster care services in HSE Dublin North West Area have been inspected by HIQA on three occasions since September 2009, the most recent of which took place in October 2012. Some progress was noted particularly in the area of foster carer assessment, approval and training with all general foster carers approved and significant improvements in the area of relative foster carers. Some 96 % of children in foster care had been visited by a social worker within the preceding six months.

Notwithstanding such progress, I was concerned to note that inspectors found that some deficits identified previously had not been rectified. Inspectors found that there were inadequacies in systems to assess risk and to investigate and take timely action in response to concerns. File keeping, data collection and analysis were also found to be lacking.

The inspection found that sufficient foster carers have not been recruited within the area and this has provided difficulties in making placements and matching children with particular needs with the most suitable carers. Recruitment of foster carers is of concern more generally and it is intended to conduct a national recruitment campaign in the coming months.

There were 38 complaints or allegations about 27 foster carers reviewed by HIQA. 34 complaints were investigated and 4 were underway. Ten concerns relating to child welfare and 7 related to physical abuse were confirmed. Investigations were underway in the remaining cases.

An Action Plan to address the weaknesses identified was prepared by HIQA. In order to ensure that the Action Plan is fully implemented, I have requested that the HSE set up a high level oversight process to be lead by the Head of Quality Assurance to ensure implementation of all the HIQA recommendations. I intend that this oversight process will provide regular updates to both me and HIQA on the implementation of the Action Plan. Yesterday I met with Mr Gordon Jeyes Chief Executive Designated of the Child and Family Support Agency to review the actions underway to address the critical issues identified.

An important finding in this inspection report is that many foster carers were providing high quality care and children's needs were being met. Foster carers were committed and child centred in their approach. They saw themselves as advocates on behalf of the child and availed of every opportunity to promote the child's best interests to achieve better outcomes.

Foster Care Policy

Questions (259)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

259. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 572 of 22 January 2013, the target date for the finalisation of a national register of foster parents who are deemed unsuitable and no longer have children placed with them. [10729/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I am advised by the HSE that each local areas holds their own register of approved carers. A national register for foster carers is currently under development by the HSE. The HSE plans to pilot a register towards the end of 2013 in a number of sites across the country and subject to the findings of the review of the pilots, it is expected that the national register will be finalised in 2014 .

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (260, 262)

Seán Fleming

Question:

260. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of agency and contract staff currently employed under the aegis of her Department; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10978/13]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

262. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will outline the numbers and cost of agency staff under the aegis of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11058/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 260 and 262 together.

I presume the Deputy is enquiring about the use of agency or contract staff engaged to meet a short-term service need or where some flexibility in staffing a service is required. In that regard, I can confirm that my Department, the Family Support Agency, the Adoption Authority of Ireland or the Children Detention Schools do not presently engage such services.

The National Educational Welfare Board has advised that it has a contract for services in place to provide data operators for inputting school return data and that two such staff are currently being used. The cost to date in 2013 has been €8,745.

The engagement of persons under contacts for services or on an agency basis is subject to strict public procurement controls and costs are kept under constant review.

The information requested relating to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children is not readily available in my Department. I have requested the Ombudsman to provide the information directly to the Deputy.