Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1777, 1778)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

1777. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if INTREO centres in the north west will be downgraded and turned into front offices; if so, the reason for the downgrading; if her attention has been drawn to the potential negative effects this will have in terms of the provision of local services to persons seeking jobseeker's and other social welfare entitlements in view of the fact that the skill set will have been removed as a result of the loss of front-line staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34809/19]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

1778. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the results from a number of piloted projects involving the downgrading of INTREO offices into front and back offices will be made available; if there were reported delays in claims being processed or other issues; if the results will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34810/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1777 and 1778 together.

A new operating model which seeks to make best use of resources by balancing workloads across the Intreo network is currently being introduced. This does not represent a downgrading of Intreo Centres. The new model utilises recent ICT developments implemented in Intreo Centres – collectively known as the digital claim - which have removed the location constraints of the previous paper based system and deliver the capability to distribute work to available resources across the Intreo network regardless of location. This enables the separation of Front Office customer facing functions and Back Office processing of claims and decision making which can now be undertaken via a back office that can utilise resources from across the country.

The new operating model was successfully piloted in late 2017 and early 2018 and the model has been approved for national implementation. It has now been implemented across the Department's Branch Office network and in eight Intreo Centres with rollout across the remainder of the Intreo network planned to complete in mid 2020.

Hope that clarifies the matter for the Deputy.