Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Ceisteanna (11)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

11. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the purpose and function of the City of Dublin Youth Services Board; the number of staff employed by job title and grade; the number of staff on secondment or career break by title and grade; and the number of staff bilocated. [19722/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (11 contributions) (Ceist ar Education)

My question relates to the City of Dublin Youth Services Board, CDYSB, its purpose and function and the number of staff employed there by job title and grade, the number on secondment or career break and the number bilocated.

The City of Dublin Youth Service Board, CDYSB, is a committee of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board, CDETB, and was established in 1942. In accordance with the Education and Training Board’s Act 2013, the role of CDYSB is to support the provision, co-ordination, administration and assessment of youth services in their functional area and provide such information as may be required by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in relation to this support. Responsibility for the management and oversight of youth project funding lies with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs with the education and training boards acting as grant administering bodies for the disbursement of funding under the various youth funding schemes.

CDYSB is also responsible to the Department of Health and to my Department for the administration of grant aid.

The stated mission of CDYSB is to promote youth work and volunteerism and to enable young people to realise their potential within their communities and a changing society.

Staff in CDYSB are employees of CDETB. CDETB has advised my Department that there are currently 31 staff working with the youth service board. Of those staff 13 are funded through my Department while the remainder are funded through other projects. Of the 31 staff employed I understand that these are across 13 different job grades. I further understand that there are three staff working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, one staff member on secondment and no staff members currently on career break. I will circulate with this answer the staffing numbers and the associated grades of the CDYSB for the information of the Deputy.

Staffing in CDYSB

Information provided by CDETB May 2019

Breakdown of CDYSB Staff:

Job Title:

Headcount:

WTE:

Job Grade:

Director

1

1

Director

Head of Operations

1

1

Head of Operations

Development Officers

4

4

Development Officers

Liaison Officers

8

7.92

Liaison Officers

Senior Youth Worker

7

6.76

Senior Youthworker

Finance & Governance

2

2

Senior Youthworker

Head of Finance

1

1

Assistant Principal Officer

Administrative Officer

1

1

Administrative Officer

Staff Officer

2

2

Staff Officer

Assistant Staff Officer

1

0.58

Assistant Staff Officer

Clerical Officer

1

0.8

Clerical Officer

Assistant Porter

1

1

Assistant Porter

General Operative

1

0.57

General Operative

Total:

31

29.63

Staff working in DCYA:

Development Officer

1

1

Development Officer

Liaison Officers

2

2

Liaison Officers

Seconded Staff:

Liaison Officer

1

0.60

Liaison Officer

This question was originally addressed to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and I was quite surprised when it was sent over to the Department of Education and Skills. When an organisation falls between a number of Departments, it is not a great scenario in terms of assessing the work of that organisation.

I wish to talk about the value of youth services and youth work in the context of the constituency that I represent. I am aware of the work that the organisation does in an area where young people are facing blatant drug dealing and intimidation. It is an area with many early school leavers and high-needs groups, including homeless people and young people from new communities, some of whom are undocumented or are unaccompanied minors. There is a lot of specific work going on and the CDYSB is supposed to be the body overseeing all of that.

As the Minister said, the board was set up in 1942 but the environment has changed a lot since then. I am not sure that the youth service board is keeping up with the changes in the environment. Are there any plans to conduct a review or an assessment of the work, in view of the changing needs? Such a review would enable us to ensure that the CDYSB is addressing the needs of young people at the most appropriate time.

It would be remiss of me not to say that a conversation is always needed when it comes to the more informal aspects of education. As someone who previously worked in the formal secondary school sector before moving into community youth work, I saw the benefits of both working closely together while remaining separate because informal youth work is a very different concept. Given the changes in society in both rural and urban settings and the obvious challenges in the latter, I am happy to explore potential solutions in order to remain up to speed with the needs of present day society.

A lot of this is the remit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and in that context, I would be happy to facilitate a meeting between officials from that Department, Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan and myself to see where we are at in the context of needs. There are great organisations involved in youth work and the provision of youth services but there is always a need for more resources.

While I appreciate what the Minister has just said, the challenges facing young people today are far greater than when certain organisations were set up in the 1940s. For that reason, there is a need to constantly evaluate how those challenges are being addressed by the people who are being paid to do that work. I am interested in the job titles of some of the 31 staff because I am hearing from some of those involved in youth projects that there is not much hands-on or direct engagement with young people. They said that so much time is taken up with administration, finance and governance issues, which is not what the board was set up to do. There are questions around that issue. As I said, I addressed a number of questions to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Zappone, but this one was transferred to the Department of Education and Skills. I agree that it would be important to have a meeting and I thank the Minister for his offer.

I am happy to facilitate that at an official level. It is also important to point out that we cannot brand all youth organisations and those working in informal or formal youth work in the same way because many of them do different things and are unique to their respective areas, cultures or communities. One thing I know for sure is that if young people are not leading youth work themselves, if they are not in charge and if we do not facilitate the empowerment of young people in their communities, not alone will they will not be part of it, they will not drive the change that is necessary. My experience tells me that when we give young people responsibility and space and freedom to express themselves, that is when change happens. I am deeply conscious of the fact that we need to adapt to change constantly. Society is changing but the one constant is that when young people are given even an inch of responsibility, they jump at the opportunity. I am happy to work with the Deputy on this issue.

Questions Nos. 12 and 13 replied to with Written Answers.

Tá cúpla nóiméad fágtha. B'fhéidir go bhfuil am againn chun ceist dheireanach a thógáil. Bogfaimid ar aghaidh go dtí ceist Uimh. 14 in ainm Teachta Funchion. Glaoim ar an Teachta Quinlivan.

It is a question on whether the Department has plans to review the process under which schools receive resources and additional staff for ASD classes in order to achieve more flexibility for schools to apply for and receive the necessary resources at multiple points during the school year, rather than at the start of the school year, as happens in the majority of cases.

Tá brón orm-----

If we are running out of time, I am happy to accept a written reply.

Tá mé idir dhá chomhairle maidir leis an cheist. Tá an freagra agam. Má tá sé ceart go leor, seolfaidh mé ar aghaidh é. I will send it to the Deputy.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.