As the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach announced on 23rd March 2010 that the Department of Social and Family Affairs would be reconfigured as the Department of Social Protection with the transfer to it of a number of functions including the employment and community services programmes of FÁS and the transfer from it of functions relating to social inclusion and family supports. The training services of FÁS will remain under the remit of my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills. The purpose of this reorganisation is to provide a more effective and streamlined service to the unemployed by integrating the income support provided through the social welfare system with supports for activation and re-entry to employment.
The Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2010 provided the legislative basis for transferring policy and financial responsibility for the employment and community services programmes of FÁS from the Minister for Education and Skills. It is intended to commence the relevant provisions of the Act with effect from 1 January 2011. From that date FÁS will continue to provide these services but will do so under the direction of my Department. The recently published Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 2010 provides for the transfer of the relevant staff and related resources from FÁS to my Department. It is intended to commence these provisions during the course of 2011 once the necessary practical arrangements have been put in place.
A major programme of change is currently being developed by my Department, in close consultation with senior management in FÁS and the Department of Education and Skills, with the objective of developing a new service vision and model for the integrated Department. The aim is to create a Department which is focused on case management rather than transaction management, activation rather than just income support and is structured around the customer rather than the schemes it delivers. The intention being to ensure that the people can obtain the services they require, and are entitled to, in a seamless, effective and efficient way.
FÁS and my Department are already working closely together and considerable progress has already been made on a number of measures to enhance the delivery of services to people on the Live Register.