Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (468)

Michael Harty


468. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there is an effective efficient and fair distribution of funds by the Citizens Information Board to various MABS companies to ensure that counties such as County Clare are not disadvantaged; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40718/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, (CIB) provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems. As part of its free services, MABS also provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears.

The governance arrangements of what had been 51 local MABS services providing a face to face services from 60 offices nationwide, were restructured into 8 Regional MABS companies during 2018. Clare MABS together with West Waterford, Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary North and South MABS formed a new regional company - North Munster MABS. Prior to the establishment of this new company, MABS in the counties of North Munster, comprised six separate and distinct companies, all competing for resources and funding from the Citizens Information Board.

North Munster MABS, a new company funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board, is responsible for providing a Money Advice and Budgeting Service extending across the four counties of Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. The service operates eight offices across this geographical region and employs 44 staff, part time and full time including a Regional Manager who oversees the operation of the service.

North Munster MABS, is overseen by a voluntary Board which aims to ensure that the provision of and access to MABS is consistent and fair across the entire region. Since its establishment in 2018, the Board of North Munster MABS has become more familiar with the needs of each area in its catchment and is making plans to develop a staffing strategy to best meet those identified needs. Equity of access and provision of service across all four counties will be a primary driver of that strategy and the aim is to make effective and efficient use of taxpayers money to develop quality services for MABS clients in the North Munster region.

CIB is working closely with all newly established Regional Boards and staff of the services to develop the future plans to further improve services across the country and to ensure a greater level of consistency, quality and accessibility.

I trusty this clarifies the matter for the Deputy