Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (244)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

244. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the details of the planned interdepartmental review of community employment schemes; the persons or bodies and from which Departments the group tasked with undertaking the said review will be comprised; the terms of reference of the group; if the views and opinions of community employment scheme participants, supervisors and other relevant stakeholders will be sought as part of the review; if the roles of existing post holders such as those employed as community employment scheme supervisors and assistant supervisors will be safeguarded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Community Employment (CE) placements are categorised into two strands, Social Inclusion and Activation. The Social Inclusion placements are generally engaged in significant levels of local service support and delivery and are more suited to adults who need additional supports e.g. older unemployed workers, persons with a disability, travellers, homeless people, refugees, those requiring drug rehabilitation and ex-offenders.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government agreed to establish an Interdepartmental Group (IDG) to explore the most appropriate organisational arrangements, including which Department should host the CE Social Inclusion schemes.

My Department’s main focus, as a Public Employment Service, has to remain on activation and to progress as many participants as possible from CE into full-time and sustainable employment. As the level of unemployment continues to fall, my Department must address the need to adapt schemes to the changing circumstances, opportunities and needs of jobseekers and others. It is also my strong view that local services which are supported by these Social Inclusion placements must be safeguarded into the future.

The IDG will comprise of officials from my own Department and officials at Principal Officer level or equivalent from the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform; Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Rural and Community Development; Children and Youth Affairs; Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Health; Justice and Equality and Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The terms of reference for the IDG are being finalised. Following the deliberations of the Group it is intended that consultation will take place with key stakeholders and community groups.

My Department provides funding to sponsoring organisations to cover the cost of the supervision on these schemes. The level of funding provided will continue to be in line with the level of supervision required.