Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2653)

Martin Kenny

Question:

2653. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the training that social welfare office front-line staff and citizen information centres receive on processing social welfare rights for asylum seekers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34580/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection provides a range of training to its staff involved in frontline roles in the Department which includes delivery of services to asylum seekers.

The Department has provided a range of instructor led classroom training and e-learning supports to staff engaged in frontline roles to enhance the delivery of services to customers.

This training seeks to ensure that frontline staff are aware of the various legislation, guidelines, processes and procedures applicable to the delivery of such services.

Along with providing role based training the Department has invested significant resources in delivering frontline customer services training to its staff including all new entrants.

The Staff Development Unit also promotes, through the intranet, the Irish Human Rights Equality Commission’s e-learning module ‘Delivering Equality in Public Services: An Introduction For Front Line Staff’

This Department has recently introduced an accredited learning programme for frontline staff in partnership with the National College of Ireland which is currently being delivered incrementally. These courses will be available for staff in the frontline roles of Case Officer, Deciding Officer, Designated Person, Intreo Centre Manager, Social Welfare Inspector and Appeals Officer. A further general Certificate in Social Protection Studies will also be available.

This Department seeks to support its staff in frontline roles by providing various learning and development opportunities to develop competency and confidence in delivering services to meet the requirements of their role along with the key skills required to effectively deliver its services.

The Citizens Information Board, which has statutory responsibility for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy services to citizens, makes a range of training available to the staff of the Citizens Information Services and the Citizens Information Phone Service which includes information on the rights and entitlements of asylum seekers.

This training includes a compulsory e-learning course for all Information providers, the Essential Training for Information Providers, and an accredited Higher Certificate in Arts in Information Provision and Advocacy Practice (QQI Level 6), delivered over two academic years. Both courses provide Information Officers with information on the rights and entitlements of asylum seekers and training on how to provide an appropriate, high quality information and advice service to the public.

In addition to these core trainings, individual Citizens Information Services also engage the services of external specialist services to provide further trainings. Examples include the provision of training by NASC to Information Providers in the Citizens Information Phone service on 24 and 25 July 2019 including an overview of the asylum process and the Reception Conditions Directive. In September 2018, Crosscare provided training on 'Migrant Access to Social Protection’ for Citizens Information staff and a similar internal CIS training was subsequently developed and delivered nationally through the CIS Advocacy Support Worker programme