In February, the Board of Citizens Information Board (CIB) decided the new governance arrangements for local service delivery would comprise of sixteen boards, eight Citizens Information Services (CIS) and 8 Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS).
Before making its final decision, CIB had engaged in an extensive and comprehensive consultation process, involving service delivery companies and representative organisations and groups. This included representative groups having audiences with the Board itself.
In recent months, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection held hearings and received submissions from the various stakeholders, and issued a draft report. Cognisant of the various concerns expressed to the Committee, CIB undertook a series of regional consultations with stakeholders throughout May, to discuss and examine key aspects of implementing the new sixteen board model.
These sessions were attended by 127 representatives of local company Boards and 223 representatives of management, staff and volunteers of local services. Each session was chaired by an independent facilitator. Attendees had an opportunity to raise any concerns about service delivery under the new model. CIB reports that these engagements were well received and there was considerable support for the planned restructuring.
In addition, my Department understands that CIB intends to host further consultations over the summer months on key areas such as the role of volunteers, the delivery of consistent high quality services countrywide and the preservation of the fundamentally valuable local community focus and support ethos within the new model. CIB will also consider these findings in the development of its Volunteer Strategy.
CIB has established an Implementation Group, with cross-sectoral representation, to assist with the governance reorganisation and has committed to carry out a full Cost Benefit Analysis on the sixteen company model.
My Department is satisfied that CIB is making genuine efforts to allay the concerns of staff, boards and volunteers and is seeking to find ways to best embed the historically strong community ethos in the new governance structure.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.