Youth Guarantee

Questions (117)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

117. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of the fact that the Youth Guarantee says it will ensure that all young persons under the age of 25 years receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education what will be incorporated in the guarantee for the category of young person who is unemployed, out of college or school but who wants to set up their own business as opposed to take up an offer of training; will there be a link into youth entrepreneurship funds at EU level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29434/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance already supports unemployed jobseekers wishing to engage in self-employment. It is generally considered that mentoring and advice – possibly delivered through start-your-own business training – can prove to be a valuable asset to a person starting out on their self-employment venture.

In addition, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, new Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will be launched that will provide support to micro-enterprises through Local Authorities. Furthermore, the Action Plan for Jobs commits to establishing a Centre of Excellence for Micro-enterprise and Small Business within Enterprise Ireland that will be a key integrating resource for the LEO network.

The newly established LEO will function as a First Stop Shop for the provision of information and advice for small business, as well as continuing to assist micro enterprises in relation to accessing loan finance from the Microenterprise Loan Fund. This fund will benefit young entrepreneurs seeking to finance their business ventures.

With regards to EU funding youth entrepreunerships, the specific initiatives to be funded under the EU's Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) will not be known until the details of the YEI are finalised later this year.

Youth Guarantee

Questions (118)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

118. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason the Government decided to locate the Youth Guarantee within the Department of Social Protection rather than the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; the role the Department of Jobs , Enterprise and Innovation will have in the pilot project and the eventual State-wide Youth Guarantee scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29435/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The reason that the Department of Social Protection (DSP) is taking the lead role in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee Scheme (YGS) is because the YGS is primarily concerned with activating young people, who are not in work, into employment through employment services, work experience, internships, education or training. Given that labour market activation is the primary responsibility of DSP, it is natural that it takes the lead role in the implementation of the YGS and in the pilot project in Ballymun. Ultimately however, the delivery YGS will involve a number of Departments with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI), along with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) having a major role to play. The primary role of DJEI will be to facilitate the creation of job opportunities in general, including for young people. The reforms necessary to realise job creation targets under the auspices of DJEI are outlined in the Action Plan for Jobs.

DJEI do not have any specific role in the Ballymun Pilot. The management structure of the Ballymun project will comprise of a National Steering Group and a Local Implementation Group. The National Steering Group for the Ballymun pilot will consist of a representative from Department Of Social Protection (Chair), the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC), FAS (the national training authority), Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Business and Employers Conference (IBEC).

The Local Implementation Team for the Ballymun pilot will comprise representatives of relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Social Protection, FAS, CDVEC, Ballymun Whitehall Area Partnership, Ballymun Job Centre/Local Employment Service Network, EQUAL Youth, North Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Ballymun for Business, and a representative young person (to be identified).

Youth Guarantee

Questions (119, 121)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

119. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason Ireland is moving to adopt the more gradual implementation of the Youth Guarantee scheme in view of the high level of youth unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29436/13]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

121. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the way her Department is identifying the appropriate timescale for implementation of Youth Guarantee in Ireland's current circumstances; the criteria and the phasing that are planned; if a plan has been developed and forwarded to the Commission; if not, when this will be done; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29438/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 121 together.

Securing EU Council approval for an EU wide Youth Guarantee was one of the priorities of the Irish Presidency and I am pleased to say that current approval was secured during my chairmanship of the Council of European Employment and Social Welfare Ministers (EPSCO). I am determined that the Youth Guarantee be implemented as quickly and effectively as possible and will this week lead discussions at EPSCO designed to ensure that each country develops a robust implementation plan and that the provision of EU funding is front loaded over the next two years.

In leading these discussions, I am particularly conscious that the scale of the provision required to deliver the Youth Guarantee in Ireland is likely to be large relative to current provision, and the costs involved are therefore likely to be substantial. Issues will therefore arise as to how a guarantee is to be financed and over what period, given the fiscal constraints currently facing the country.

I am also conscious that if the Youth Guarantee is to be delivered in an effective manner, it will also be important to take the time to learn the lessons from the initial rollout of the Youth Guarantee Scheme (YGS). It is hoped for example, that there will be early lessons from the Ballymun Project that will guide the nationwide rollout of the YGS.

An implementation plan is due to be finalised by the end of the year, and this will set out a timescale for implementation. In the meantime, the Ballymun Pilot if approved by the EU council is expected to start in October.

Youth Guarantee

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 119.

Questions (120)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

120. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection with regard to the Ballymun pilot project of the Youth Guarantee, when the pilot will be up and running; when the various stakeholders will be brought together; the way the project will be evaluated and the lessons learned be transferred to other areas particularly those with less well-developed community supports; if she will provide a guarantee that youth organisations will be centrally involved in all aspects of the pilot and the subsequent State-wide Youth Guarantee; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29437/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Ballymun pilot project is due to start 4 months after getting approval for our proposal from the Commission. The latest communication from the Commission has intimated that a decision on proposals will be made by the end of this month. Hence, if approved, the Ballymun pilot can be expected to start in October. The various stakeholders will be brought together during the initial meetings of the National Steering Group and the Local Implementation Group, which will take place during the period July – September.

With regard to evaluation of the pilot scheme, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) will issue a request for tenders to retain the appropriate evaluation and monitoring service. All stakeholders have an expressed interest in identifying and capturing lessons for policy and practice as a result of their involvement in the Youth Guarantee Scheme (YGS) pilot. The learning will be used to inform their own organisations and members of the lessons and issues raised by the pilot.

The external independent evaluator will be asked to assess: Quality of delivery of activities/tasks: a quality system will be developed to ensure appraisal of on-going tasks by each partner during the piloting of the model. Partnership and Communications: the main factors making the partnership successful, the factors making for cooperation within the partnership etc. Outcomes and Impact: Questionnaires and administrative records will be used to assess the outputs, outcomes and impact of the pilot YGS for the participants and the partner organisations. Focus groups and questionnaires will be used to determine the qualitative aspects of the learning coming from the pilot.

With regards to the transfer of lessons learned from the pilot, a dissemination conference will be organised to highlight the outcomes of the pilot and to feed into the national and EU discussion on the development of future YGS that are relevant to young people and labour market integration. A documentary account of the programme is a central objective of the DSP to capture learning and ensure that the lessons are distilled and disseminated into mainstream policy formulation.

With regards the involvement of youth organisations, the Ballymun proposal includes both a national and local partnership structure to manage implementation and both youth organisations and organisations which deliver services to young people will have a central role to play in both national and local structures.

The National Steering Group will consist of a representative from Department Of Social Protection (Chair), the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC), FÁS (the national training authority), the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Business and Employers Conference (IBEC).

The Local Implementation Team will comprise representatives of relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Social Protection, FÁS, CDVEC, Ballymun Whitehall Area Partnership, Ballymun Job Centre/Local Employment Service Network, EQUAL Youth, North Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Ballymun for Business, and a representative young person (to be identified).

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 119.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (122)

Jack Wall

Question:

122. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a carer's allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29441/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence disallowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeal Officer’s decision on 11th June 2013.

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.

Child Care Services Provision

Questions (123)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

123. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection the childhood supports that are available for non-jobseeker's, low income and full-time working, yet former lone parents allowance recipients, who still have young children but will not be entitled to lone parent allowance once his or her youngest child reaches seven years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29453/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Childcare policy and the provision of childcare is the responsibility of my colleague Minister, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs currently administers the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme and the Childcare Employment and Training Support Scheme (CETS). CCS funds some 1,000 community-based non-profit child care facilities nationwide to enable them to charge reduced childcare fees to disadvantaged and low-income families who avail of their services. The scheme is available to social welfare recipients and to non-jobseekers if they have low incomes. CETS is implemented by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on behalf of FÁS and the VECs. Under this scheme, parents who are FÁS/VEC trainees and who need assistance with child care costs to access education and training courses in order to enter or return to employment, can access subsidised child care places.

As a result of the reforms to the one-parent family payment (OFP) scheme, once an OFP recipient’s youngest child reaches the relevant age threshold, they will no longer be entitled to the OFP payment. It is expected that the majority of individuals who will continue to have an income support need will apply for either the jobseeker’s allowance (JA) scheme or the recently announced jobseeker’s allowance transition (JST) arrangement.

The JST arrangement will cater for OFP recipients who will lose their entitlement to the OFP payment, who have a youngest child aged under 14 years, and who are entitled to the JA payment. These customers will be exempt from certain JA conditionalities that require them to be available for and genuinely seeking full-time work. This in turn reduces the need for child care support for these customers as they will have the option of remaining in the home to take care of their children.

Lone parents who have an entitlement to jobseekers and who have children under 14 years of age, who are attending primary school, may wish to avail of the subsidised after-school child care scheme. This scheme is available to jobseekers that avail of an employment opportunity. Lone parents will also be able to apply for the other Department of Children and Youth Affairs childcare schemes.

In addition to these supports lone parents who lose entitlement to their OFP payment and who are working 19 hours or more per week, can apply for the family income supplement (FIS). If they are eligible for FIS they can also apply for the existing D/CYA childcare schemes.