The Office of Public Works is charged with ensuring that all Intreo Centres comply with building regulations and disability legislation. With regard to access, and in particular access for persons with disabilities, over the past 4 years the OPW refurbished and remodelled 60 Social Welfare Local Offices into Intreo Centres and/or acquired new premises in some locations. In most locations, the buildings would have already complied with the relevant aspect of the Building Regulations. All costs associated with providing disability access to buildings would have been absorbed in the overall costs of refurbishment of Intreo Centres.
The Department offers a suite of disability awareness training to its staff including Disability Awareness, Mental Health Awareness and Deaf Awareness. E-learning courses from the National Disability Authority (NDA) and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) are available free to all staff via links on the Department’s staff development intranet site. All new staff in DSP are made aware of disability issues during induction.
Under the One DSP Learning initiative, introduced in 2015, a module covering Employment Supports for People with a Disability is available to Case Officers. This module covers all the grants and supports available for both jobseekers and employers with regard to people with a disability. This will continue to be available for Case Officers in 2016. In addition, a focused training day for 70 Case Officers will take place in February in conjunction with the National Disability Authority (NDA). Topics will include a general overview of disability; introduction to disability awareness; an overview of the NDA website and on-line training tool and disability-specific information using a case study.
It is estimated that the cost of providing disability awareness training to all staff in the Department would be approximately €150,000.