Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (455)

John Lahart

Ceist:

455. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the grants and funding issued to organisations and projects in Dublin 24 in 2018. [40696/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Details of the grants and funding issued to organisations and projects in Dublin 24 under the programmes and schemes administered by my Department in 2018 are set out hereunder.

Early Years Programmes and Services

Organisation

*Funding Provided €

Discoveries Creche & Montessori School Ltd

90,798.40

The Childrens House Montessori School

18,657.60

Carrigwood Playgroup

18,285.20

Castleview Community Playgroup

35,349.30

St Dominics Tots Playgroup

74,826.70

Ballycullen Montessori

55,098.44

Kilnamanagh Kids Creche & Montessori School

132,443.37

Glenview Montessori Pre-School

34,190.98

Toddling Tots

49,178.30

Four Seasons Pre-School

83,560.46

St. Kevins Childcare Centre

335,769.09

Young Explorers' Preschoool

155,928.80

Fonthill Lodge Daycare - Tallaght

76,275.86

Drysdale Montessori School

41,856.28

Headstart Pre-school

62,589.84

Stepping Stones Creche and Montessori

223,943.30

Naionra Chaitlin Maude Rath Miontain (Jobstown)

27,877.38

Daisy Chain Pre-School

87,106.74

Naíonra Santain Teoranta

94,589.30

Killakee Montessori & Creche

31,432.80

Step-n-Stones Montessori

33,369.72

Starlight Playgroup

60,243.00

Ashling Nursery and Montessori School

101,105.20

Bohernabreena Community Enterprise

119,186.48

Kingswood Pre school

29,370.50

Firhouse Montessori School

44,466.90

Mini Marvels Montessori School

15,421.80

Ard Mor Montessori - Respond Childcare

38,319.04

Early Steps Pre-school

70,886.70

The Little Childrens Centre - Fettercairn Community

143,792.40

Fledglings - St Anne's Fettercairn

53,945.80

Petal's

30,935.70

Cocoon Childcare - Tallaght

191,895.32

Cocoon Childcare - Citywest

197,426.30

St Marks Youth Club

54,386.40

Happy Days Playgroup

84,565.20

Happy Friends Playgroup

59,211.20

Chuckleberries - Hunterswood

163,645.50

First Rung Early Education

51,194.70

Balrothery Creche and afterschool

44,771.16

Tallaght Childcare Centre

230,615.98

An Turas

315,738.04

St Elmo's Pre-School

114,768.44

Jadd Childcare Service

50,244.44

Youth Horizons Ltd

46,375.76

Kingswood Childcare

53,295.72

Laugh and Learn Montessori

100,018.18

Barnados Millbrook Family Support Services

79,741.97

Rainbow House Educational Childcare Centre

60,145.32

Fledglings Kiltipper

68,374.75

Chuckleberries - Tree Tops

30,750.90

Scoil Iosa Playgroup

36,047.70

St Louise's Playschool

21,688.50

Brookview Childcare Service

74,816.30

Co-operative Childcare Brookview

27,080.44

Busy Beehive Preschool

191,216.90

The Links Creche Southside Ltd. CityWest

103,339.74

Tickles Childcare

108,235.10

Loreto Playgroup Ltd

95,891.70

Care & Cuddles Pre-school

124,800.62

Three Little Lambs

123,353.70

Little Ladybird Creche & Montessori Ltd

73,623.60

Kathy B's

91,071.50

Nurture Childcare AMNCH

46,173.50

Kidorama Academy Ltd

132,295.90

Laugh and Learn

79,609.90

Once Upon A Time - The Arena

79,769.78

Ferncourt Preschool

9,178.00

Precious Days Childcare Limited

33,615.60

Little Fairies Creche & Montessori Ltd

230,382.38

Naíonra Chaitlín Maude

271,358.85

Dublin West St Mary's

132,071.69

Diane's Breakfast and Afterschool Club

33,382.00

Twinkle Stars Preschool

9,788.00

Wombles Creche

94,308.88

Tallaght Childcare Fettercairn

83,837.26

Best Start Early Year Service Jobstown

20,858.70

Kids Inc St Killians

3,584.00

St Marks Preschool

23,988.00

Oakview Tallaght

139,869.90

Mrs Giggles

15,378.00

Starlight Preschool

16,054.20

Ard Mor Montessori - Respond Childcare

4,690.00

*Funding provided consists of the sum of all payments made from 1 Jan 2018 to date under 2017/18 and 2018/19 programme calls in the Dublin 24 area.

In addition to the above the Deputy might note that Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) received funding of €1,190,000 from my Department in 2018 for the support of the Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes. My Department also provide additional funding to ECI on the agreement that they act as an “authorised signatory” and process applications for the Garda Vetting of its members. In 2018, the Department allocated funding of €222,080 to ECI for Garda Vetting.

Local Drug Task Force projects

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

St Aengus Neighbourhood Youth Project

€39,488.00

Youth Skills / Peer Education Tallaght

€23,292.00

Special Projects for Youth

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Tallaght Youth Service

€473,505.00

West Dublin YMCA, Brookfield

€63,802.00

Tallaght Travellers Youth Service

€61,458.00

Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Tallaght Travellers Youth Service

€34,927.00

Springfield Community Officer

€38,042.00

At Risk in Brookfield

€36,353.50

Community Addiction Response Programme, Killinarden

€30,252.25

Killinarden Community Council Youth Project

€147,369.00

Fettercairn Youth Project

€38,284.00

St Marks Youth Project, Fettercairn

€38,284.00

Brookfield Youth & Community Centre

€76,601.27

Big Issue Street League Tallaght

€1,035.98

Local Youth Club Grant Scheme

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Newcastle Foroige

€450.00

Boy Girls Social Club

€450.00

St Anne's Baton Twirlers

€1,561.50

The Knights of Eanna

€450.00

Citywise Education

€ 1,000.00

Fettercairn Summer Project

€900.00

St Judes Summer Project

€ 1,000.00

Whitechurch/Ballyboden Summer Project

€800.00

Glenasmole Summer Project

€800.00

Holy Spirit Summer Project

€800.00

Quality and Capacity Building Initiative

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Anam Cara Parental and Sibling Bereavement Support

€18,715

CDI (on behalf of South Dublin CYPSC)

€28,150

An Cosán

€32,470

Childhood Development Initiative Tallaght West

€50,215.64

KICK (Kickboxing to inspire)

€30,250

Area Based Childhood Programme

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative

€1,511,972

Children and Young People’s Services Committees

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Programme funding to support work of South Dublin CYPSC in their priority actions outlined in their 3 year plan

€20,000

Healthy Ireland funding paid through Pobal to support work of South Dublin CYPSC under Healthy Ireland initiative

€30,303

Other Programmes

Organisation/ Project

Funding Provided

Funding towards the Irish Foster Care Association`s National Conference (Children and Young People’s Programme).

€12,981

Children in Care

Ceisteanna (456)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

456. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the adequacy of decision-making support available for parents prior to placing a child in voluntary care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40769/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla's policy is that social workers seek to keep children at home with their parents when it is deemed to be in their best interest, and when any risk can be managed safely. Tusla has introduced 'Signs of Safety', a child protection practice model which supports families working with social workers to develop safety plans for their children.

I am informed by Tusla that, when the need to place a child in care is being considered, the decision making supports for parents vary, depending on each family’s circumstances. A parent may seek to have their child placed in care in some circumstance. This might arise, for instance, if a single parent, with little community support, needed to undergo treatment for a health issue.

In all cases, the first step is to keep children safely at home with supports from the State and/or from their own networks. If voluntary care is required, the possibility of this being available safely with family and friends is always considered in the first instance, and supported as appropriate.

Parents who seek voluntary care are brought through a supportive process to ensure they understand what they are requesting, including the possible impact on the child, and possible consequences that may arise if their home situation remains unsafe. Parents whose children need care for safety reasons, but who are reluctant to proceed with voluntary care, will be supported to understand their children’s needs, the reasons that voluntary care is in their best interest and their right to consult with their solicitor.

The process for voluntary care requires parental consent. However, a parent can withdraw their consent at any time. If consent is withdrawn, a decision is made about the necessity to seek a court order. This will depend on whether it can be deemed safe to return a child to his or her parents' care.

In some areas there is a parent advocacy service. An advocate employed by Tusla or one of its funded organisations, is available to support the parents, either individually or in groups, to deal with issues arising and also to advocate on their behalf.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

Ceisteanna (457)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

457. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40775/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Since September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months are eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. This measure refines the development introduced in 2016 and increases the duration of each registered child on ECCE from a previous average of 61 weeks, to a potential duration of 76 weeks (two programme years). This delivers fully on a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that is good for children, families and Early Years providers.

This new measure will address the previous situation with regard to multiple entry points whereby there was a broad fluctuation in the number of free preschool weeks a child could avail of (between 61 and 88 weeks depending on the date of birth of the child) and will ensure a programme that is equitable for all children. The situation where there was more than one entry point created a perception of inequality to some parents when they considered the variance in the number of weeks of ECCE provision, dependant on their entry point.

It must be noted that age limits have been used to determine eligibility since the inception of the ECCE programme in 2010. These rules are a necessary component of any Government scheme and ensure that Exchequer funding is used for its intended purpose.

The upper age limit for the ECCE programme was set in consultation with the Department of Education and Skills. It ensures that children transition into primary school with their peers and limits the age range of children beginning primary school. Limiting the diversity in age ranges in children beginning primary school education is considered generally to be in the best interest of children, in relation to peer interaction in junior infants, as well as other educational considerations.

My Department does its best to ensure, in so far as possible, the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for childcare funding under the ECCE Programme. In order to ensure objectivity and fairness, it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied evenly. An essential component of the ECCE programme rules is an eligibility start date to ensure that the programme can be administered and budgeted for in an appropriate manner.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

Ceisteanna (458)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

458. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to a cohort of children who are no longer eligible for the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme due to changes to the enrolment points eligibility criteria; if measures to cover those no longer eligible will be considered; if changes made to the enrolment points of the ECCE programme, being implemented from September 2018 in order to expand access, will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41122/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

There is no question of any child losing entitlement to eligibility for the ECCE scheme. Rather ECCE eligibility has increased to two years.

From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months will be eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE). The upper age ECCE requirement is that the child must not reach 5 years and 6 months before the end of the programme year.

This new measure will address the previous situation with regard to multiple entry points whereby there was a broad fluctuation in the number of free preschool weeks a child could avail of –(between 61 and 88 weeks depending on the date of birth of the child)– and will ensure a programme that is equitable for all children. The situation where there was more than one entry point created a perception of inequality to some parents when they considered the variance in the number of weeks of ECCE provision, dependant on their entry point.

The number of entry points reverted to one at the beginning of September 2018. One enrolment period at the start of the pre-school year will help to streamline the administration process and will make it easier for childcare providers to operate and budget for the programme year. It also makes it easier for parents to secure places on the ECCE programme for their children. There are currently no plans to change this single entry point.

Some children will not be able to commence their ECCE in September of the programme year as they will not have reached the age of 2 years and 8 months on or before 31st August. However, they will be able to commence ECCE in the following September and continue for a further year from September of the next programme year. Parents of children born around this time of the year may prefer for their children to start school at 4 rather than 5. These parents may therefore choose to avail of one year of ECCE only. However, it is important to note that this is a parental choice and that the overall policy change has ensured that two programme years are available to all children.

Departmental Communications

Ceisteanna (459)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

459. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the Department has a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business; and, if so, if it will be published. [41518/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The following text is an extract from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs' policy on the use of private email for Government business.

WebMail Services"As there is no way of filtering the messages relayed by webmail providers, they pose a potential security threat. Users may not transmit sensitive or classified information using any 3rd party e-mail services. The Department reserves the right to ban access to 3rd party e-mail services if it is discovered that they are being used inappropriately."

Official Engagements

Ceisteanna (460)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

460. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she and-or officials in her Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41532/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I did not attend the 2018 Ryder Cup, nor did my officials.

Community Services Programme

Ceisteanna (461)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

461. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the next community services programme; when it will open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40699/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports more than 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. Funding is provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. More than €46 million is available to support community organisations under the programme in 2018.

My Department continues to accept expressions of interest under the programme and funding for new organisations will be considered, in light of available budgets, during the year.

My Department will commence a review of the CSP shortly. The review will consider, among other things, how the programme fits with overall Government priorities as well as my Department’s other community programmes and policy objectives. Decisions on the future shape and structure of the programme will be determined on foot of the review.

LEADER Programmes

Ceisteanna (462)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

462. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a review of the criteria will be carried out to allow childcare providers apply for Leader grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40917/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Funding under the LEADER Programme is targeted at innovative approaches to addressing the needs of rural areas as identified in the Local Development Strategies prepared for each sub-regional area. The funding can be provided under a broad range of themes, including enterprise development and social inclusion. It is important, however, to ensure that the available funding is targeted at policy areas where it can provide the greatest added value.

Provision of funding supports for childcare providers is available through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the City and County Childcare Committee. It is not, therefore, proposed to extend the LEADER Programme to include childcare providers at present.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (463)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

463. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of applications received for the rural regeneration fund by the 27 September 2018 deadline; the process and timeline for assessing applications, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41217/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The National Development Plan provides for an allocation of €1 billion for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to enable towns, villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably and support delivery of the strategic objectives of the National Planning Framework.

The Fund will be a key driver in supporting the revitalisation of rural Ireland, delivering a significant and sustainable impact for rural communities and helping to address issues such as de-population in small rural town, villages and rural areas.

Initial funding of €315 million will be allocated to the Fund over the period 2019 to 2022 on a phased basis.

The closing date for applications under the first call for the Fund was 27th September. I understand there is strong interest in the Fund from across the country with over 250 applications received. The completeness and eligibility of all applications received is still being verified by my Department. I shortly expect to be in a position to share information on the number of complete applications received, applications by category and their locations.

My Department has established a Project Advisory Board which will oversee during October/ November the assessment of applications for the Fund. The Board is Chaired by my Department and made up of representatives from key Government Departments, along with a number of independent external experts.

Following this recommendation I hope to make announcements on the first set of successful applications under the Fund in November.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (464)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

464. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the maximum number of applications permissible for each local authority for schemes (details supplied) in 2018; the allocation of funds, by county, for each scheme in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41218/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department operates a suite of programmes designed to support rural communities. These include the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the CLÁR programme, the Local Improvement Scheme and the Walks Scheme.

Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2018:

Under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, Local Authorities were required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns/villages in their area and then select up to 12 proposals for development into detailed applications for submission to my Department. Selection of projects under the 2018 Scheme was by means of a competitive process. On 5th October, I announced details of successful projects under the 2018 Scheme. Full details are listed on my Department’s website at https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018-Town-and-Village-Renewal-Scheme-Funding-1.pdf.

2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

Measure 1 of the 2018 Scheme relates to small scale maintenance/promotion and marketing projects. Applicants under this measure, in the main, were Local Development Companies. However in some counties where there were few applications from Local Development Companies, my Department accepted applications from Local Authorities. Details of successful Local Authority applications under the scheme are published on my Department's website: https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-ORIS-2018-M1-Local-Authority-approvals-002.xlsx.

Local Authorities were eligible to submit up to four applications under Measure 2 - medium scale repair/upgrade and new trail development and one application under Measure 3 - large scale repair/upgrade and strategic trail development. No funding has been allocated under these measures in 2018 to date.

2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

In January 2018, I announced funding of €2.1 million for Measure 2 of the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Local Authorities were permitted to submit up to 4 applications under this measure in 2017. Details of successful applications are published on my Department's website at https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Capture-1.png.

CLÁR 2018

Local Authorities were invited to submit up to 15 applications in total under the 2018 CLÁR programme for Support for Schools/Community Safety measures, and Support for play areas (including MUGAs). The remaining 2018 CLÁR measures were open to applications from bodies outside the Local Authorities. Detailed lists of successful applications are available on the CLÁR pages of my Department's website at: https://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/clar/.

Local Improvement Scheme

The list of projects which each of the Local Authorities plan to undertake under the scheme this year were submitted to the Department and detailed information regarding 2018 roads selected for improvement works under the scheme are available on my Department’s website at: http://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/local-improvement-scheme/.

Walk Scheme

The cost of the Walks Scheme on an annual basis is in the region of €2.6 million. These costs include participant and materials payments, a contribution toward the cost of employment of 12 Rural Recreation Officers (RRO) who are employed by 12 Local Development Companies, and administration fees to 16 Local Development Companies.

The figures provided in the table for the cost of implementing the Walks Scheme for 2018 is indicative and based on the cost to the Department of the scheme in 2017. They include a contribution of €60,000 by Fáilte Ireland towards the cost of funding the 12 RROs.

The Local Authorities are not involved in the administration of the Walks Scheme.

COUNTY

Walks scheme Cost 2017

CLARE

€131,757

CORK

€819,139

DONEGAL

€130,511

GALWAY

€96,966

KERRY

€371,442

KILKENNY

€82,471

LAOIS

€64,526

LEITRIM*

€2,097

LOUTH*

€47,727

MAYO

€288,178

OFFALY*

€19,381

ROSCOMMON

€192,621

SLIGO

€103,958

TIPPERARY

€173,848

WICKLOW

€101,979

Total

€2,626,601

* LDC without RRO or contribution from Fáilte Ireland.

Ministerial Communications

Ceisteanna (465)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

465. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the Department has a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business; and if so, if it will be published. [41529/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department’s ICT User Policy provides for access to the Department's e-mail system and its authorised internet services, as the only methods approved for the issue or publication of official Department information in electronic format. The policy is made available to all staff and is published on the Department's Intranet site.

Official email business, in my role as Minister, is conducted via Department and Oireachtas email accounts.

Official Engagements

Ceisteanna (466)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

466. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he and-or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41541/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Neither I nor any officials in my Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Carer's Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (467)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

467. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to allow a transition period of four weeks for persons who are returning to work after spending a long period of time caring for a family member while in receipt of carer's benefit (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40661/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Through the commitments contained in both the Programme for Government and in the National Carers’ Strategy, the Government recognises the crucial role that family carers play in Irish society and is fully committed to their support through a range of supports and services. The main income supports provided by my Department include Carer's Benefit, Carers Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance, and the Carer's Support Grant. Spending on these payments in 2018 is expected to amount to almost €1.2 billion.

Carer's Benefit (CB) is made to insured people who temporarily leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. The payment may be paid for 6 weeks after the death of the person being cared for after which the person may return to the workforce. The CB payment is an entitlement based on social insurance contributions and any extension to the post care period of continued payment would have to be considered in a budgetary context and in the context of the scheme's objectives.

Carer's Allowance (CA) does not require any social insurance contributions and is a means tested income support payment that draws from the social insurance fund in order to provide appropriate income support for those providing full time care. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full time care and attention is required and being provided and that the means test which applies is satisfied.

In Budget 2016, the period when CA can be paid following the death of a care recipient was extended from 6 to 12 weeks. The Department's Intreo service is available to carers who wish to consider returning to work after their caring responsibilities ends.

I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

Ceisteanna (468)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

468. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated number of staff reductions and savings that will be made following the introduction of the new computer-based employee PRSI return in January 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40771/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

PRSI, along with tax and USC is collected by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners through the PAYE tax system.

From 1 January 2019 the Revenue Commissioners will launch their new PAYE Modernisation project. I understand that PAYE Modernisation has an objective of streamlining current business processes and reducing the administrative burden currently experienced by employers to meet their PAYE reporting obligations.

The main changes under the PAYE Modernisation project will affect how employers report payroll deductions to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners which collects PRSI on behalf of the Department. While the availability of more timely and accurate information will be of benefit to the Department is not anticipated at this point that there will be savings or staff reductions in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as a result.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (469)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

469. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if discriminatory elements (details supplied) of the domiciliary care allowance scheme will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40586/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is payable to whoever is considered to be the qualified person to receive the allowance. Section 186D of the SW Consolidation Act 2005 defines a qualified person as the person with whom the child normally resides and provides for the care of the child.

For DCA to be payable, a child must be resident with the qualified person for at least 5 days per week as per Section 140C of SI 162 of 2009. There is no provision under the legislation to support the splitting of DCA payment between two parents.

If the child is resident full-time in an institution, such as a hospital, DCA is not payable. However if the child comes home for not less than 2 days and not more than 4 days in any one week, then half rate payment can be made to the qualified person (ie. the person they would be considered as normally residing with if not in the institution). In this case payment is not split, but rather paid at a reduced rate to one person.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications Data

Ceisteanna (470)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

470. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the delays in the issuance of carer's benefit following a first application, in terms of days and weeks; the number of applicants awaiting the processing of a claim for carer's benefit; the number of days and weeks from application to award; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40611/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

At the end of August 2018, the average waiting time for new CARB applications was 11 weeks with 1,039 CARB applications awaiting decision.

Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CARB, a person has to show that they have the required level of PRSI contributions, that they have left full-time employment, that they are providing full-time care and attention and that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. This is compounded if the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient; this is sometimes the case with CARB applications.

The Department is currently in the process of re-designing the CARB application form. This will allow carers to provide more information on the type and level of care they provide, with an aim to providing Deciding Officers with the information they need to expedite decisions on entitlement.

Staff have recently been re-assigned within the CARB area to work on claims processing and this should lead to a reduction in processing times.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (471)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

471. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when an application for carer's benefit will be assessed in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40612/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for carer’s benefit was received from the person concerned on 19 July 2018.

The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 31 May 2018 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated post office on 11 October 2018.

Arrears of benefit due from 31 May 2018 to 10 October 2018 will also issue to her post office on 11 October 2018.

The person concerned was notified on 3 October 2018 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Staff

Ceisteanna (472)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

472. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if assessments of resources are conducted in her Department in respect of staffing in order to adequately cover telephone inquiries, administrative workflows and volumes; if the areas in which resource gaps and deficiencies in service exist have been assessed; the way in which these impact on processing applications received; the way in which the definition of a reasonable response to an applicant is assessed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40613/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the ongoing need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services.

Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised with specific targets set for responses within particular scheme area. This is 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.

Like all Government departments and agencies, my Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget, which for this Department has involved reductions in staff.

As part of the Department’s ongoing programme of service modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have been implemented in recent years.