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Community Welfare Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 18 September 2014

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ceisteanna (60, 61, 62, 63)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

60. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of community welfare officers that have been withdrawn or retired in the past three years, per county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35101/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

61. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of community welfare officer clinics that have been withdrawn in the past three years, per town and per county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35102/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

62. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of community welfare officer clinics that are no longer available in local areas per town and per county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35107/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

63. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of her Department employees that are administering the rent supplement scheme; the number that have been withdrawn, redeployed, retired or promoted out of the section in the past three years, per region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35108/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 to 63, inclusive, together.

A key objective of the transfer of the Community Welfare Service (CWS) from the Health Service Executive to the Department on 1st October 2011 was to provide a streamlined and consistent service to the customer.

The Department has since re-engineered its business model to support the provision of integrated services across all business streams involved in the delivery of localised services. This is resulting in a rebalancing of resources across the Department’s range of activities including the relocation of some staff to main centres, primarily Intreo offices, which will provide a full range of services, including the CWS and these will, in general, be available in one location.

The Department is currently examining the operation of all its services in the context of the Pathways to Work commitments and the development of Intreo services nationally. As part of this programme of change approximately 430 CWS satellite clinics were closed over the last three-year period facilitating the redeployment of some 300 staff to activation and case management support services, with the majority coming from the CWS. There are approximately 200 full time equivalents administering the rent supplement scheme. Statistics are not maintained in relation to the number of CWS staff withdrawn or redeployed on a county basis or who have retired or been promoted in the past three years.

A tabular statement is attached showing the number of CWS clinics that were closed from October 2011 to date in 2014 on a county basis. A detailed listing providing details of the closed clinics by town will issue separately to the Deputy.

Where the CWS has been re-structured, alternative arrangements have been put in place to ensure that customers are provided with ongoing access to the supports provided by the service. In general, this means that the frequency of available public clinics is increased. If a person is unable to travel to a new clinic, for example due to illness, alternative arrangements are in place including arranging a visit to the client’s home if necessary.

People claiming supports under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme generally only interact with the Department on an occasional basis, for example, when seeking an exceptional needs payment or in claiming additional supports such as rent supplement, which are usually reviewed once to twice yearly.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department and that the services provided are reconstituted, where necessary, to meet the changing needs of Irish society.

CWS clinics closed over the last 3 years by county:

County

Total

Carlow

7

Cavan

8

Clare

21

Cork

45

Donegal

37

Dublin

49

Galway

44

Kerry

17

Kildare

7

Kilkenny

16

Laois

4

Leitrim

7

Limerick

22

Longford

4

Mayo

32

Meath

4

Monaghan

5

North Tipperary

1

Offaly

7

Roscommon

13

Sligo

13

Tipperary North

13

Tipperary South

15

Waterford

13

Westmeath

6

Wexford

4

Wicklow

14

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