Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1264)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

1264. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of community employment workers and volunteers working in citizen's information centres and services; the number of advocacy cases dealt with in citizens' information centres in 2018 that did not relate to social welfare or housing appeals; the number of staff that will be employed by the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities in 2019; the salary range involved; the number of staff employed at salaries equivalent to grade 8 in the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13225/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy services to citizens on a wide range of public and social services. The nationwide network of Citizens Information Services (CIS), is funded and supported by the CIB, and provides information, advice and advocacy services to the public. CIS supports clients, including those who may have a disability, to act on their own behalf wherever possible (self-advocacy) and also advocate directly on behalf of clients, where required.

CIS has an overall paid staffing of 285 employees ( equating to 193 Whole Time Equivalents (WTE's). The network is also currently supported by 201 employment scheme workers (equating to 109.5 WTE's); and 990 volunteers (equating to 112 WTE's).

In 2018, the total number of representative advocacy cases dealt with by the Citizens Information Services was 2,638. The majority of these cases related to social welfare and housing issues. Of the total, the number of cases that did not relate to social welfare or housing was 871. These cases related to a variety of issues such as health, money and tax, employment etc.

The CIB also funds and supports the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS), which provides an independent, confidential and free advocacy service that works exclusively for adults with disabilities.

Current staffing in NAS stands at 54 (52.5 WTE's). The number is due to increase to 56 staff ( 53.5 WTE's )during the course of 2019. Pay scales in the organization range from €24,407 (point 1 Administrator scale) up to €84,877 (top point of the National Manager scale). There is only one staff member who is paid at the equivalent to Grade VIII in the HSE.

NAS has recently been awarded the contract for the provision of a new independent Patient Safety Advocacy Service, funded by the Department of Health. This new service will support those wishing to make a complaint about their experience of the public health service; and provide support to patients who may have been affected by a patient safety incident. Plans for the establishment of the new service are underway between NAS and the Department of Health and it is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.