Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (331)

Joe Higgins

Question:

331. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Social Protection the action an employer may take at an organisation where community employment workers are employed (details supplied) if overtures are made to the CE workers by a representative of another organisation to switch their CE placement to that organisation. [5195/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The community employment scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis. In this way local organizations help to develop their areas by sponsoring projects and at the same time enabling unemployed people to re-enter the open labour market, by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to a work routine while enhancing both their technical and personal skills.

Some CE schemes provide participants to various suitable community sub groups. These sub groups are required to be of charitable status and to be non-profit making organisations. Furthermore, confirmation is required that there has been no displacement of previously employed persons who were previously engaged in the proposed work.

All participants are the employees of the Project Sponsors who are directly responsible and accountable to this Department for the participants’ work experience, placement and training. The Department are contracted to the Sponsor Group only and engage with the Sponsor Group on a regular basis, regarding monitoring the programme.

It is not within the remit of the Department to engage directly with sub groups who have local arrangements with the Sponsor and do not have a contract with the Department; the only engagement by the Department on this basis is to ensure that the sub groups are not commercial entities and that there is no displacement of paid employment due to the placement of CE participants with a particular sub group.

Any organisation that meets these requirements can approach any CE scheme to request facilitation of CE places for its service. However, it would not be appropriate for the Department to make representations on behalf of any group or organisation; it would be the responsibility of the organisation to contact relevant schemes directly.

Carecall is one of the community groups that avail of CE participant places from the Network 15 CE Scheme, at the discretion and by agreement with Network 15 Sponsoring Group. However Carecall do not have a dedicated CE scheme and are therefore a subgroup of the main sponsors. At present there are three participants allocated to Carecall. Participants can if desired apply for a transfer to any other scheme for any advertised CE vacancy. Movement across schemes is often relevant to provide the participants with varied work experience opportunities. However, on examining records, the three participants currently based in Carecall have not applied for any CE transfers.

Furthermore, I can confirm that no existing CE schemes have received applications from the persons referred to in the question requesting the allocation of CE participants to this new service. I can also confirm that my Department have not received any request from these parties or related parties to apply for a dedicated CE Scheme to support the service referred to in the question.