Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (358)

Jim Daly


358. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on the progress of the gateway scheme to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5547/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Gateway was introduced by the Department of Social Protection to deliver on the policy objectives set out in Pathways to Work and is designed to bridge the gap between unemployment and re-entering the workforce. Responsibility for delivery of this initiative rests with individual county and city councils. Gateway has a target to provide for 3,000 placements focusing on those who have been unemployed for 24 months or more. Participants are currently being selected by a random process conducted by the Department of Social Protection for recruitment by county and city councils.

Progress on the roll-out has been slower than anticipated. Delays in the main relate to the on-going staff restructuring processes of county and city councils, the ongoing engagement with stakeholders, particularly Trade Unions, and operational matters relating to securing resources, identifying work and supervisory cover as well as Garda vetting. So far some 1,600 work placements have been identified in councils in the initial phase of the rollout. While small numbers have started work, progress is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks. Despite the obstacles identified above, the initial placement of participants on Gateway commenced in Louth county council in early December with the first placements beginning in Limerick council on 20th January. County and city councils have given assurances of accelerating the recruitment process to fill all places identified and to meet the target of 3,000 placements at an early date.