Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (109)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

109. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress to date in respect of determination of an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21615/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 26 April 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Employment Support Services

Questions (110, 111, 112)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

110. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection the steps being taken to develop the pathways to work option to include private sector firms to assist, support and complement the current employment and advisory services. [21630/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

111. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection when she will publish the CESI report on activation services which was commissioned in November 2012. [21631/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

112. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection when tenders will be issued for activation and support services under pathways to work. [21632/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 to 112, inclusive, together.

The Pathways to Work policy provides for more regular and on-going engagement with jobseekers to enable them to return to employment through the provision of the most appropriate support interventions. In order to increase activation capacity the Department is considering the contracting of employment services to complement the existing capacity of the department. In that regard, the Department engaged the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI) in November 2012 to provide expert advice and assistance with the design and delivery of a contracted employment service model. The consultants recently produced a report and this is currently being evaluated. I expect the evaluation to be completed in the near future. The question of tendering for the provision of additional activation services will be then considered by Government and will be subject to the normal procurement requirements.

As part of its current employment service provision, the Department already contracts with external providers for the delivery of both the Local Employment Service (LES) and Job Clubs. Employment services, including career planning, engagement with employers and job search assistance, are provided under contract by these organisations to clients who are activated by the Department. The Department funds this contracted provision to the value of approximately €25m per annum and these organisations employ approximately 390 staff, who are engaged in the provision of these services.

National Internship Scheme Placements

Questions (113)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

113. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider correspondence from a person (details supplied) who is seeking a suitable internship placement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21649/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department has been in direct contact with the individual referred to by the Deputy since February 2013. The individual has completed one internship and is currently undertaking a second. The intern is seeking to finish a second internship and be permitted to undertake a third.

In the first instance, the intern was dissatisfied with the activities assigned to him but withdrew his complaint the following day. A monitoring visit has been conducted and the Department is satisfied that the host organisation is abiding by the scheme criteria. In the second instance, the intern wishes to finish the internship because he deems it not to be related to his academic qualifications.

Under current guidelines, JobBridge interns may avail of no more than two internships to maximum cumulative period of nine months. The Department is not in a position to make exceptions in this regard. The individual was advised by the Department to consider participating in other schemes such as the Work Placement Programme and referred to the National Contact Centre for further assistance in this respect.

Property Taxation Collection

Questions (114)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

114. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the deduction of local property tax from the back to education allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21650/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In the context of its role in processing and making income support and related payments, the Department makes 87 million payments per annum to over 2 million recipients in any year. Payments are based on a range of entitlement conditions and are aimed at serving various social welfare policy requirements. These payments are of various types: universal payments, means assessed payments, payments based on social insurance contributory history and grants. Payments can be once-off, based on short term need or of long term duration.

Because of the sheer scale, variety and nature of payments made by the Department, ‘deduction at source’ arrangements require substantial development of IT systems and business processes and impose a significant additional administrative burden on the Department and on the requesting agency. The Department has undertaken, as a service to a significant amount of its clients, to invest the resources needed to provide the facility on the schemes agreed with the Revenue Commissioners. Any other arrangements required to pay the tax are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.

The Department is currently engaged in major transformation programmes to meet Government objectives, for example in relation to activation and supporting the provision of integrated income support and activation services through Intreo to clients of working age. The Department has embarked on a major programme of business and system change to support these objectives and is focussing its development efforts in this regard.

The back to education allowance payment is not included in the schemes specified for deduction at source of local property tax and there is currently no plan to extend the list of scheme from which local property tax can be paid. However, it is intended to review this position based on the experience of operating the facility over a period of time.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (115)

Peter Mathews

Question:

115. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24 will be informed of the outcome of their appeal to the social welfare appeals office in respect of their carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21675/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an appeal was registered on 11 April 2013 and in accordance with the statutory requirements the Appeals Office has contacted the person concerned and asked him to set out the complete grounds of his appeal. On receipt of his response, the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal will be sought.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.