Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (383)

Robert Troy

Question:

383. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding Pobal funding in respect of an organisation (details supplied). [21309/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The community services programme (CSP) is designed to address gaps in service delivery and disadvantage and to ensure that community facilities are utilised. The programme is funded by the Department with day-to-day management of contracts undertaken by Pobal. Contract holders must deliver tangible services that are capable of generating non-public revenues from their operations by way of charging fees, sales and/or fundraising and other public funds. The programme is not intended to represent full-funding for any operation. Some €45 million has been provided for the programme in 2014.

Each contract holder is responsible for their own budgets, income, financial and other liabilities. Contracts are generally offered on a three-year cycle based on a business plan or similar submitted by the company. Continued funding is subject to satisfactory compliance with the programme’s operational requirements, financial position of the company, continued eligibility of the company and service, progress on delivery of the stated objectives in the business plan, and an assessment of a business plan for the following three year contact cycle. A regular review process is undertaken to ensure compliance with contract obligations, audit issues, continuing capacity of the organisation to manage public funds, the need for and quality of service delivery, sustainability, and value for money.

This company mentioned by the Deputy is involved in the provision of a range of services for older people in Mullingar. The company receives a funding contribution to employ a full time manager post and three and a half full-time equivalent posts valued at €98,616 pa. The operations were reviewed as part of a re-contracting process undertaken by Pobal in respect of proposed activities for the period 2014-16. The process involved the submission of business plans by the company and an evaluation of performance by Pobal before recommendations were made to the Department. The business plan submitted by the company was considered weak and did not articulate the need for the service or the value to be gained from the expenditure of public funds. Contrary to the requirements of the programme, the company’s business plan was predicated on near full reliant on CSP to fund its activities. The company is unable to generate sufficient income to fund overhead and activity costs

In the circumstances, the Department considered that the expenditure of public funds could no longer be justified. The company was advised of the outcome of the evaluation of the business plan. Pobal staff met with this company on the 5th of March to give feedback on why the decision was made. While the company was also given the opportunity to lodge a review of the decision, they have not done so to date. The contract with the programme is due to conclude at the end of June 2014.

Question No. 384 withdrawn.