Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (115)

Dessie Ellis


115. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection the future of community employment schemes; the way the CE schemes and the Tús programme are being integrated in communities alongside each other and if there has been any feedback of an overlap; if she has plans to integrate these schemes in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11379/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The CE scheme aims to enhance the employability of disadvantaged and unemployed persons by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities. In addition it helps long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine. Community and voluntary organisations sponsor local/community projects that satisfy two essential criteria - that they respond to an identified community need, and that they provide worthwhile work and training opportunities for participants. Tús is a scheme targeted at those with in excess of one year association with the Live Register that aims to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed while also assisting in providing certain services of benefit to communities. Participants are randomly selected from the Live Register by the Department and sanctions apply to those who do not avail of offer of placements. While the scheme aims to contribute to the work readiness of the long-term unemployed, it also contributes to the management of the Live Register in highlighting those who are unemployed but may not be actively seeking work. Tús is delivered through 53 Implementing Bodies (IBs) - 52 Integrated Development Companies (IDCs) and Údarás na Gaeltachta who manage the day-to-day implementation of Tús.

The matters to which the Deputy refers were examined in detail in the recently published Departmental Review of Employment Support Schemes. There were various recommendations for the reform of the two schemes to aid in the activation process such as refocusing CE on shorter-term interventions and progression (in line with Pathways to Work) and using the CE exit planning model for persons exiting Tús. I am aware of overlap in the allocation of Tús places and CE places, in many cases sponsoring organisations accommodate both clients very well. The reforms outlined in the above report and the subsequent consultation and feedback from stakeholders will be of assistance in the re-alignment of Employment Programmes including CE and Tús within this Department.