Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (2692)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

2692. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding the repayment of debt in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32004/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by my Department that following a routine review of claimants it was noted that the person concerned was paid the incorrect rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance, for a person of his age, for the period 24 July 2017 to 19 March 2018. Consequently he was assessed with an overpayment of €1,747.28.

The person concerned appealed this overpayment to the Independent Social Welfare Appeals Office and the decision was that “the appeal made in this case cannot succeed”. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department.

The person concerned should contact the Department to discuss a recovery plan in order to process the overpayment.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ceisteanna (2693, 2762)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

2693. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her plans to extend a new social insurance scheme, jobseeker's benefit and payments for the self-employed will be in place before the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32046/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2762. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to extend PRSI based benefits to the self-employed who become unemployed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2693 and 2762 together.

It is my intention that the new scheme of jobseeker's benefit for the self-employed, which I announced as part of the Budget 2019, will be introduced from November this year. This scheme will provide a social insurance contribution-based benefit to the self-employed who lose their self-employment and consequently are not engaged in self-employment.

The Social Welfare Bill 2019 introducing the new scheme on a statutory basis was published on the 28th of June and has completed second stage in the Seanad. Once it has completed all stages in the Seanad it will be introduced to the Dáil. The necessary administrative arrangements and IT infrastructure to support this new scheme are being put in place.

This measure is part of the Government's stated aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to both employees and self-employed people. The addition of this new scheme builds on other significant improvements for self-employed people in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in 2017.

All these improvements to entitlements are a real advance in the level of cover available to the self-employed.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Back to Education Allowance

Ceisteanna (2694)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

2694. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the back to education allowance will be increased by 5%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) is designed to support second chance education. It enables eligible persons to pursue education and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study. The weekly rate of payment is linked to the persons' underlying payment, for example jobseekers allowance.

Government has provided almost €62 million for BTEA in 2019. This represents a considerable investment in supporting participants to acquire the necessary education and skills to re-enter the labour market. If this budget is increased by 5%, it will result in an additional €3 million cost in a full year. Any such changes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

The BTEA is not intended as an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third-level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (2695)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2695. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of external consultant reports commissioned by her Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [32247/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The following table sets out the 88 reports conducted by external consultants from March 2011 to date:

Report

Name of Consultants

Publication Date

Cost €

2011

Social Welfare Appeals Office – Research on Insurability Issues & Access to Legal Resources

Mel Cousins & Associates

2011

€7,744

Report on electronic access to GRO Records for genealogy research

John Grenham

Internal Management Report

€3,557

Investigation of odour/smells, Belmullet Local Office

Wright Environmental Services

Internal Management Report

€1,699

Investigation of odour/smells, Local office Cobh

Employment Health Advisors Ltd.

Internal Management Report

€2,023

Development & implementation of the National Employment & Entitlements Service

Accenture

August 2011

€186,563

Report on Pension Charges in Ireland

PWC

October 2012

€61,500

Social Inclusion Forum – Conference Report

Aidan Lloyd

August 2012

€1,500

2012

FÁS IS Applications Systems Review

Accenture

Internal Management Report

€44,772

Analysis & Measurement of Poverty & Deprivation 2012:1.Work & Poverty in Ireland: An Analysis of CSO Survey on Income & Living Conditions 2004-2010 (2012 annual report)2. Technical Paper on Poverty Indicators – [Appendix C of Report of the Review of the National Poverty Target]3. Implications of Income Pooling & Household Decision-Making for Poverty & Deprivation (2012 technical paper)

ESRI

1. December 2012 2. October 2012 3. October 2013

€81,230

Review of Irish Pensions Policy

OECD

April 2013

€130,000

Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund

KPMG

June 2012

€153,750

Evaluation of JobBridge

Indecon International Economic Consultants

April 2013

€59,555

Developing system architecture for the National Employment & Entitlements Service

Compass Point

Internal Management Report

€4,600

Risk assessments regarding reception areas [Arklow, Tallaght, & Kings Inn, Dublin Local Offices]

Nifast

Internal Management Report

€1,845

Air Quality Investigation, Ballymun Local Office

Wright Environmental Services

Internal Management Report

€3,644

Air Quality Investigation, Áras Mhic Dhiarmada

Wright Environmental Services

Internal Management Report

€3,383

Report on Pension Priority Order

Mercer

February 2013

€18,450

Contracted Employment Service Model

Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion

Internal Management Report

€140,989

2013

Mobile Applications Opportunity Exploration

Accenture

Internal Management Report

€33,388

Social Inclusion Forum – Conference Report

Aidan Lloyd

September 2013

€1,500

Health & Safety Review of DSP premises, Upper Gardiner St, Dublin 1

CPL Training Ltd, trading as Nifast Health & Safety Training

Internal Management Report

€1,100

Diet Supplement Diet Costings Update

Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute

September 2013

€4,000

Analysis & Measurement of Poverty & Social Exclusion (AMPSE) 2013 programme:1. Social Transfers & Poverty in Boom & Recession (for 2013 annual report) 2. Indicators of Economic Strain in the Great Recession (for 2013 technical paper)

ESRI

1. December 2013 2. April 2014

€67,979

Auto Enrolment & Applicability to Ireland (Pensions)

TOR Financial Consulting Ltd.

Internal Management Report

€9,900

A Review of In-work Supports for the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare

Mel Cousins & Associates

Q4 2014

€10,000

Delivery of Administrative Profiling Models to Identify those at Risk of Labour Market Disadvantage

ESRI

June 2014

€33,745

Report on Organisation Development

Axiom Consultants

Internal Management Report

€122,692

Advisory report on implementation of European Youth Guarantee in Irish circumstances

Organisation for Economic co-operation & Development (OECD)

January 2014

€50,000

Evaluation of the Youth Guarantee Pilot

Franklin Research Ltd.

January 2015

€20,000 (EU funded Report)

Evaluation Research (Back to Education Allowance)

ESRI

October 2015

€24,809

Survey Air quality in Nutgrove Local Office

Wright Environmental Services

Internal Management Report

€2,900

Social Welfare Appeals Office – Research into Revising Decisions

Mel Cousins & Associates

Internal Management Report

€2,400

2014

Social Inclusion Forum – Conference Report

Aidan Lloyd

December 2014

€1,650

Analysis & Measurement of Poverty & Social Exclusion 2014 programme: 1. Transitions into and out of household joblessness using CSO SILC data 2. Measuring Irish joblessness: The SILC and LFS data sources

ESRI

1. September 20152. May 2015

€80,000

Security Partner Services - IT Forensics

Deloitte

Internal Management Report

€2,398

Forensic Services

Rits

Internal Management Report

€2,340

Forensic Services

Rits

Internal Management Report

€4,201

Identification & containment of malicious software

Deloitte

Internal Management Report

€15,699

Assessment for Application Lifecycle Management

Microsoft Ireland

Internal Management Report

€22,586

Ex-ante Evaluation to support the preparation of the Operational Programme for the European Fund for the Most Deprived 2014-2020

Mel Cousins & Associates

Internal report required by EU Regulation (EU) No. 223/2014

€16,000

Microfilm Condition Report

Martin Bradley, Archives and Records Management Consultant

Internal Management Report

€1,691

Report on the effectiveness & efficiency of the guidance model used during Youth Guarantee Pilot

NUI Maynooth

Internal Management Report

€14,145 (EU funded report)

Survey Air quality in Waterford Intreo

Wright Environmental Services

Internal Management Report

€6,863

2015

Review of the EmployAbility (Supported Employment) Service

Indecon International Economic Consultants

August 2016

€59,280

Policy and practice report: Key lessons learned from the Ballymun Youth Guarantee Project

NUI Maynooth

March 2015

€11,135 (EU funded Report)

Evaluation of the Disability Activation Project

Indecon International Economic Consultants

November 2015

€29,520

Forensic Services

Rits

Internal Management Report

€11,480

Windows Tablet PC Hardening Review (Limited Scope)

Deloitte

Internal Management Report

€4,151

Social Inclusion Forum – Conference Report

Aidan Lloyd

August 2016

€1,650

Confidential Information Security Report

Deloitte

Internal Management Report

€7,749

Technical review of rent supplement under the Equal Status Acts.

Mel Cousins & Associates

Internal Management Report

€18,000

Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction Survey

W5 Marketing Intelligence Ltd

Q2 2016

€72,385

Analysis & Measurement of Poverty & Social Exclusion 2015 Programme:1. Changes in social risks by life-cycle group2. Developing a multi-dimensional quality of life indicator

ESRI

November 2016 July 2016

€80,000

Evaluation of the Suitability, Effectiveness and Relevance of the JobBridge Activation Programme

Indecon International Economic Consultants

October 2016

€134,895

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Activation Reforms

ESRI

Q2 2017 (Still in progress)

€118,315

External quality assessment of DSP Internal Audit under the D/PER Internal Audit standards 2012

EisnerAmper Ireland

Internal Management Report

€5,535

Information Security Reports

Grant Thornton

Internal Management Report

€10,332

2016

Review of the Local Employment Services and Job Club services

Indecon International Economic Consultants

Published in 2018

€87,232

Review of the Predictive Analytic Modelling Solutions relevant to the Department's schemes

The Analytics Store Ltd.

Internal Management Report

€9,471

Back to Education Allowance Qualitative Study

BMG Research

Q2 2017

€50,670

Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction Survey 2016 (Next annual round of Customer Satisfaction Survey originally commissioned in Aug 2015)

W5 Marketing Intelligence Ltd

Q4 2016 &Q2 2017

€124,550

Social Inclusion Forum 2016 – Conference Report

Aidan Lloyd

Q2 2017

€1,650

Measurement and Analysis of Household Income & Living Conditions 2017 Programme:1. Technical paper: examine the feasibility of conducting dynamic analysis to explore poverty and deprivation transitions over time and between different social risk groups2. Research report: examine the poverty and deprivation experience of the different risk groups, both dynamically and across a set of selected EU-countries

ESRI

1. Q3 2017 2. Q4 2017

€94,070

Joint Research Programme on Retirement

ESRI

Expected publication date Q.3 2019

€29,500

Research into Development of Pensions, Longer Working Hours and Retirement Policy

ESRI

October 2017

€32,000

2017

Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction Survey 2017 (Next annual round of Customer Satisfaction Survey originally commissioned in Aug 2015)

W5 Marketing Intelligence Ltd

Q4 2017Q2 2018

€167,674

Actuarial Review of the Social Welfare Insurance Fund as at 31 December 2015

KPMG

Q3 2017

€281,670

Compliance of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679

Mazars

Internal Management Report

€301,350

Independent Review of the amendments to the One-Parent Family payment since Jan 2012

Indecon

October 2017

€104,944

Strategic Review of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s website

Clickworks and iReach

Internal Management Report

€59,100

Survey of Employers (including JobPlus employers)

W5 Marketing Intelligence Ltd.

May 2018

€30,750

Social Inclusion Forum 2017 – Conference Report

Lisa Costello

Q2 2018

€1,750

Study to explore the drivers of negative employment outcomes on participants of the Back to Education Scheme

BMG Research

Q2 2017

€41,228

2018

Economic Analysis of Auto-Enrolment Options

ESRI

Publication to be determined in line with any future Government decisions on Automatic- Enrolment

€25,000

Jobseeker Customer Satisfaction Survey 2018

W5 Marketing Intelligence Ltd.

2018

€121,228

Joint Research Programme on Gender and Pensions

ESRI

Q4 2018

€80,000

Pension Accounting Advice on Post-Employment Benefits

Mazars

Internal Management Report

€4,428

Review of the Implementation of the New Illness Benefit System

Liam Irwin

Internal Management Report

€6,000 (estimated cost)

Social Inclusion Forum 2018 – Conference Report

Peigín Doyle

Q 2 2019

€1,443

Health and Safety Audit of the Department's Print and Stationery Stores

Quadra Consulting

Internal Management Report

€1,722

2019

An Initial Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Intreo Activation Reforms

ESRI

Q1 2019

€82,820

Static Electricity Survey of Kennedy House, Navan

Chris Mee Group

Internal Management Report

€2,460

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2696)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2696. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the photography costs for her Department in each year since March 2011 including costs incurred from use of the Ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department administers over 70 separate schemes and services, which affect the lives of almost every person in the State. The Department is committed to ensuring that members of the public are fully aware of the welfare supports and services that are available to them. Public information campaigns, including social media and online digital advertising, are an important part of this work. Photography services are used, in conjunction with press releases, conferences and launch events, to communicate my Department’s key initiatives, launches, schemes and services to customers and are regularly issued to regional and national media. This photography is used across a wide range of Department publications and guides, and regularly placed on the Department's website to highlight the services and initiates of the Department.

Since March 2011, photography services have been used for the occasions as set out in the tables below. All costs listed are inclusive of VAT.

In accordance with Government procurement policy, the Department undertook procurement for the provision of “Professional Photography Services” in 2018. As a result of this process, SON Photographic Ltd. was appointed under an Office of Government Procurement framework tender. All of the Department's photography requirements have therefore been arranged through this company since June 2018. Prior to this, the procurement of photography services was carried out under informal tendering arrangements in accordance with national and EU procurement procedures.

I do not use my ministerial allowance for the purposes of obtaining photography services.

2011

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Launch of JobBridge

Maxwells

1035.16

Departmental North/South Summer School, Maynooth

Kevin Morris Photography

950.00

Mortgage Arrears Seminar

Ark Photography

254.10

Social Inclusion Forum

Ark Photography and Dragana Jurisic

547.50

Two Social Inclusion Projects

Ark Photography

326.70

Total 2011:

€3,113.46

2012

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Launch of ‘Partial Capacity Benefit’ and ‘Employability’ scheme

Maxwells

338.25

Launch of 'Pathways to Work scheme'

Maxwells

536.28

Opening of Community Campus in Phibblestown

Lensmen

280.44

Launch of Mortgage Information Helpline

Ark Photography

258.30

Launch of Good Practice Guide for Breakfast Clubs

Ark Photography

184.50

Presentation of Report of the Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund

Ark Photography

184.50

Official launch of Sligo Intreo Centre

Joe Travers

300.00

Intreo roadshow in Limerick

Picsure Ltd (Kieran Clancy)

233.70

Employer roadshow in Galway

Joe Travers

125.00

Employer roadshow in Cork

Tony O’Connell Photography

227.00

Employer roadshow in Dublin

Ark Photography

258.30

Total 2012:

€2,926.27

2013

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Official launch of Intreo Centre in Tallaght

Lensmen

323.48

Launch of JobBridge arts in Killarney

MacMonagle Photography

338.25

Briefing for Employers in Blanchardstown and Launch of Intreo Centre in Blanchardstown)

Lensmen

851.25

Publication of Indecon Report on JobBridge

Lensmen

589.79

EU Presidency Conference, Leuven

Peter Cavanagh

707.25

Official launch of Intreo Centre, Kilkenny

Vicky Comerford

123.00

Launch of Pathways to Work

Maxwells

482.16

Inaugural Meeting of the Labour Market Advisory Council

Maxwells

424.35

Official launch of Intreo Centre in Loughrea

Joe Travers

225.00

Total 2013:

€4,064.53

2014

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Launch of Benefit of Work ready reckoner and official opening of Intreo in Ballyfermot office

Ark Photography

322.88

Official opening of Intreo Centre in Limerick

Kieran Clancy

221.40

Official opening of Intreo Centre in Castlebar

Joe Travers

300.00

Medical Assessor Admin Conference

Bobby Studios Photography

270.60

Launch of Interim Report of Labour Market Council

Ark Photography

258.30

Total 2014:

€1,373.18

2015

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Tánaiste meeting with French Prime Minister in Leinster House

Mac Innes Photography

246.32

Launch of Jobs Week

Maxwels

413.28

Official launch of Intreo Centre in Galway

Joe Travers Photography

175.00

4.60

Total 2015:

€83

2016

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Official Opening of Clondalkin Intreo Centre

Robbie Reynolds Photography

553.50

Launch of Pathways to Work 2016 to 2020

Maxwell Photography Ltd

645.75

Total 2016:

€1,199.25

2017

Details

Photographer

Cost (€)

Official Opening of Elizabeth O'Farrell House with Mrs Sabrina Higgins( cost of purchasing imagery)

Photocall Ireland

92.25

Launch of Healthy You Early Intervention Forum

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Portrait photography of Management Board.

Son Photographic Ltd

501.76*

Portrait photography of Management Board.

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Portrait photography of Management Board.

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Launch of ‘MyGovID’ online services

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Launch of ‘Make Work Pay’ Report

Son Photographic Ltd

442.80

Launch of Jobs Week/Fair

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Launch of ‘Treatment Benefits Awareness Campaign

Son Photographic Ltd

464.33

Purchasing Photography Stock from Jobs Week 2016

Charlie Collins t/a Collins Photo Agency

163.03*

Purchasing Photography Stock

Charlie Collins t/a Collins Photo Agency

163.03*

Launch of Welfare Fraud campaign

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Senior Management Group and individual photography

Son Photographic Ltd

1,045.50

Launch of Fuel Allowance Information Campaign

Son Photographic Ltd

467.40

Purchase of Stock Photography from 2016

Photocall Ireland

92.25

Photography of Intreo Centre for stock photography

Son Photographic Ltd

356.70

Launch of new ‘Ability’ Programme to help young people with a disability into employment

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Jobs Week - Navan Event

Son Photographic Ltd

390.53

Jobs Week - Dublin Castle Event

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Photography for BTSCFA Launch

Son Photographic Ltd

485.85

Photography for Paternity Benefit Campaign Launch

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Photography for Treatment Benefits Announcement

Son Photographic Ltd

485.85

Announcement of Gender Recognition Act

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

DEASP 70 Year Anniversary Open Policy Conference

Son Photographic Ltd

605.78

NCI DEASP Graduation Event

Son Photographic Ltd

€442.80

Total 2017:

€9,766.86

2018

Details

Photographer

Costs (€)

Jobs Week 2018

Son Photographic Ltd

307.50

Launch of Pension Roadmap

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Mother & Baby Fair

Fennell Photography

405.90

Launch of Feeding Ireland’s Future

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Update on Pensions Roadmap

Son Photographic Ltd

541.20

Launch of Ability Programme

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance

Son Photographic Ltd

485.85

Launch of the Telephone Support Allowance

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance - cancellation

Son Photographic Ltd

123.00

Pre-Budget Forum

Son Photographic Ltd

615.00

Intreo Jobs Fair – Dublin Castle

Son Photographic Ltd

485.85

Launch of Make Work Pay – Richmond Barracks

Son Photographic Ltd

430.50

Pensions Auto-Enrolment – Government Press Centre

Son Photographic Ltd

319.80

Customer Experience Conference

Son Photographic Ltd

553.80

Management Board

Son Photographic Ltd

258.30

Total 2018:

€6,248.70

2019 (to end of June)

Details

Photographer

Costs (€)

Hot School Meals – Launch of Pilot

Son Photographic Ltd

319.80

Launch of MyWelfare.ie

Son Photographic Ltd

319.80

Minister Doherty visit to CE schemes in Westmeath

SR Photography

160.00

Management Board – photography

Son Photographic Ltd

259.30

Jobs Week 2019 – Dublin Castle

Son Photographic Ltd

516.60

Jobs Week 2019 – Bray

Son Photographic Ltd

455.10

SMT photography – Carrick-on-Shannon

Son Photographic Ltd

504.30

Total to end of June 2019:

€2,534.90

*Includes late payment fee

Legal Costs

Ceisteanna (2697)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2697. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32281/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department incurs expenditure on costs associated with legal cases from Vote 37 Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Social Insurance Fund.

Costs relating to prosecutions arising from fraudulent claims made to the Department are borne by the Chief States Solicitors Office.

The following table sets out the amount paid by the Department for external legal services for the period 1 March 2011 to date:

Year

Amount (€000)

1/1/2019 to date

452

2018

4,115

2017

1,756

2016

1,017

2015

1,105

2014

692

2013

462

2012

246

1/3/2011 – 31/12/2011

1,081

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2698)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2698. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The procurement of ICT services is essential to support the Department in providing high quality service to the public in a cost effective and efficient manner. It is governed by EU and national legislation and circulars issued by the Dept. of Finance and the D/PER. The Department actively participates in the initiatives of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) who have established a range of central framework agreements to cover common goods and services. The Department is committed to facilitating SME access to procurement opportunities and publishes it’s procurement policy on www.welfare.ie/Procurement-Policy.

The total annual expenditure for "IT External Service Provision", "IT Consultancy" and "eGovernment" for the years 2011 to 2019 is set out in the following table.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

IT External Service Provision

€9,103,243

€6,540,189

€7,623,448

€13,653,771

€13,736,231

€17,910,686

€21,554,631

€23,708,756

€13,416,241

IT Consultancy

€236,748

€307,746

€502,030

€481,507

€0

€0

€11,808

€235,583

€5,350

eGovernment

€630,696

€302,248

€1,775,737

€241,408

€3,368,897

€4,061,356

€7,252,971

€12,903,655

€5,332,141

Increases in recent years are due to the demand for new schemes and services, a major programme of work to migrate existing complex DEASP schemes from legacy technology to more modern platforms to provide greater efficiencies for customers and staff and the development of digital self-service platforms.

Since 2011, a detailed breakdown of annual expenditure for external IT provision and eGovernment is published on http://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/consultancyitespDSP.pdf

Expenditure incurred on external information technology, including IT consultancy services is closely monitored and services are only engaged for essential work, following a rigorous assessment of need.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (2699)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

2699. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the spend in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, on the family income supplement and working family payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32377/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Expenditure on Working Family Payment (formerly Family Income Supplement) from 2011 to 2018 is detailed in the following table.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

€204.5m

€223.6m

€261.8m

€297.9m

€367.9m

€415.4m

€414.6m

€410.5m

Expenditure on Working Family Payment up to end of June 2019 was €201.6m.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Farm Assist Scheme

Ceisteanna (2700)

John Brady

Ceist:

2700. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of years a review into farm assist can go back; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32388/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Farm Assist is a means tested income support payment for farmers. A person's entitlement to farm assist is reviewed on an ongoing basis, as is the case for all schemes, to ensure that the customer continues to satisfy the conditions of the scheme. A person's means may also be reviewed from time to time to ensure that the customer is in receipt of the correct payment. Claims may be reviewed retrospectively over a number of years depending on the time period relevant to the claim review.

A customer may also request a review of their means in the light of changed circumstances at any time.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (2701)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2701. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of protected disclosures for which she has engaged an external consultancy and-or legal firm since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and-or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32398/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Since 2014 to date the Department has engaged an external consultancy firm in respect of one protected disclosure.

In 2018 the Department engaged a firm to investigate issues related to a protected disclosure as part of the other work it was undertaking on behalf of the Department. The name of the firm was Crowe Ireland and the total fee involved was €21,083.

Contracted firms must ensure that they have no conflict of interest and must comply with confidentiality requirements.

Rent Supplement Scheme

Ceisteanna (2702)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

2702. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position with respect to the withdrawal of rent supplement from claimants whose landlords are unwilling to transfer to HAP and in circumstances in which the withdrawal of rent supplement would render the claimant homeless or at risk of homelessness; and the guidance issued to local rent units on the matter. [32423/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Rent supplement plays a vital role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme supporting approximately 20,160 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

The strategic policy direction of the Department is to return rent supplement to its original purpose of being a short-term income support following the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, which became available nationwide from 1 March 2017.

All new applicants with housing needs assessments must present to the relevant local authorities for assessment for social housing, whereupon following confirmation of need, HAP will be made available rather than rent supplement. People in receipt of rent supplement for over 18 months are being requested to contact their local authority to have their housing needs assessed, thus beginning the transfer process to HAP. The target is to complete all transfers from long term rent supplement to HAP in 2020 and there are currently over 48,600 active HAP tenancies in place.

Suspension of rent supplement can occur where a tenant fails to engage in the HAP transfer process. The customer is initially given six weeks to engage with their local authority. A further six weeks, is provided to the customer to assist the customer with their initial HAP transfer application. If the customer fails to engage or cooperate with the local authority during this transfer process rent supplement may be suspended. Where suspension does occur, rent supplement is reinstated when the customer re-engages to facilitate the HAP transfer process.

Failure of a landlord to participate in HAP should not affect an existing customer’s entitlement to rent supplement, provided that the tenant has engaged with the local authority and/or Community Welfare Officer. I can assure the Deputy that officials in my Department continue to make every effort to ensure that persons in receipt of rent supplement are supported in the transfer to HAP.

Should the Deputy have a particular case in mind I would invite him to share these details with my Department for review.

I trust that this clarifies the position.

Registration of Births

Ceisteanna (2703)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

2703. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection in relation to the registration of the birth of a child born by IVF, the steps she will take to allow both parents of a child register their child without having to wait the ten months in circumstances in which the mother of the child is divorced for a period of less than ten months; if the content of an article (details supplied) can be taken into consideration; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32455/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

If the mother’s male partner provided a gamete used in the IVF procedure, it may be possible to have the birth registered to include the particulars of both parents. This would involve a statutory declaration by the mother and submission of her decree of divorce [under section 22(3)(b) of the Civil Registration Act 2004], which would be sufficient to demonstrate that she has been living apart from her husband for a period of 10 months or more.

If, however, the gamete used in the IVF procedure was provided by a donor, then it is not currently possible to register the birth to include the particulars of both parents. Parentage in this scenario is determined by the provisions in Part 2 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (CFRA 2015), and provisions for registration of these births are set out in Part 9 of that Act.

Part 2 of CFRA 2015 is the responsibility of the Minister for Health, who is working to have these provisions commenced as soon as possible. Following passage of the Civil Registration Act 2019, I have been in contact with the Minister for Justice and Equality to make arrangements for early commencement of Part 9.

In the meantime the child's birth should be registered to include only the mother's particulars and then re-registered, to include the particulars of the second parent, once the relevant provisions of CFRA 2015 have been commenced.

Social Insurance Fund Data

Ceisteanna (2704)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

2704. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the outturn figures for the excess of receipts overpayments in the PRSI fund in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32494/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

This question is being answered on the understanding that it relates to the excess of Social Insurance Fund income over expenditure in the years 2016 to 2018.

The following table shows the excess of receipts over expenditure of the Social Insurance Fund for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (provisional):

Social Insurance Fund

2016

2017

2018

€m

€m

€m

452.4

730.9

1,134.0

Invalidity Pension

Ceisteanna (2705)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

2705. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position in relation to the request for information to be supplied to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32500/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

The lady referred to was awarded invalidity pension under Irish Legislation with effect from the 11 October 2018. As she had indicated on her application form that she had worked in Latvia, an application was made on her behalf to the Latvian Authorities who subsequently requested medical information.

The Medical Review and Assessment section of this Department is in the process of scheduling an appointment to conduct an in-person medical assessment, the findings of which will be recorded on form E213. It is expected that this will be completed by third week of August, following which the E213 report will be expedited to the Latvian Authorities

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (2706)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2706. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a domiciliary care allowance application will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [32502/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned in respect of her two children on the 9th April 2019. The applications were not allowed as it was considered that the children did not meet the eligibility criteria for the allowance. A letter issued on the 13th June 2019 in respect of both children outlining the decisions.

In the case of an application which is refused, the applicant may submit additional information and ask to have the decision reviewed, and/or they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. The options available have been advised in the decision letter.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pensions

Ceisteanna (2707, 2708)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2707. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time it is taking to process contributory pension applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2708. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time it is taking to process non-contributory pension applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32602/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2707 and 2708 together.

The average waiting time to award a state pension (contributory) and a state pension (non- contributory) at the end of June was 8 and 10 weeks respectively.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension

Ceisteanna (2709)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2709. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time it is taking to process invalidity pension applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32603/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

The average time taken to process a new IP claim in June 2019 was 11 weeks. The Department is committed to ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance

Ceisteanna (2710)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2710. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time it is taking to process disability allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32604/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is committed to making decisions on entitlement as quickly as possible. The current processes in place and resources assigned to this area of the Department, along with the number of Medical Assessors available to provide medical opinions are kept under constant review to ensure that any delays are minimised.

The processing time for individual Disability Allowance (DA) claims will vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim. By their nature individual DA claims are complex – the Deciding Officers must consider the applicants’ medical condition and its impact on their ability to work, the applicants’ means and the applicants’ residency situation. In a significant number of cases additional information is required in order to make a decision. Because of this complexity these claims by their very nature take time to complete and require substantial attention to ensure a full decision. The average processing time for a DA new application for the first six months of 2019 was 14 weeks.

People who are awaiting a decision on their DA application can and do access Supplementary Welfare Allowance payments via their local Community Welfare Service administered via Intreo offices across the country. These regular weekly payments as well as once off Exceptional Needs Payments where appropriate ensure that people are not without a source of income while they wait for the processing of their DA application to be completed.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (2711)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2711. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons processing applications for the contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32605/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The state pension (contributory) scheme is centrally administered from the Department’s offices located at College Road, Sligo.

Details of the number of staff engaged in processing applications for state pension (contributory) are shown below.

State Pension Contributory (SPC)

No. of staff (whole time equivalents)

Claims from applicants within ROI

28.3

Claims from outside ROI

14.9

In addition to processing applications from primary claimants and requests for reviews, deciding officers process applications for increases including (and not limited to) Increase for qualified adult; fuel allowance; increase for living alone.

The staffing needs for all areas within my 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. 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.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Citizens Information Board

Ceisteanna (2712)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

2712. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has advocated that the Citizens' Information Board provide independent prevention advice on gambling addiction especially in young persons in line with the information it provides in relation to alcohol and drugs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) under the aegis of my Department, is responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money advice and budgeting) and advocacy on a wide range of public and social services.

The Citizens Information Board delivers on its remit by provision of information and advice through three main channels:

- the regional network of 8 Citizens Information Services (CIS) which provides a face- to-face impartial and confidential service to the public;

- the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS), which operates Mon-Fri 9am to 8pm, at 0761 07 4000;

- and the Citizens Information website (www.citizensinformation.ie) which provides a wide range of information for citizens

CIB also publishes advocacy, research and social policy reports highlighting issues of concern to users of social services.

My Department does not prescribe content in respect of information provided by the Citizens Information Board on the range of public and social services available. Currently, information is not specifically provided on gambling addiction as the HSE’s Addiction Services have been traditionally funded to treat problematic drug and alcohol use. However, I am aware that some cases of problematic gambling have been provided with treatment in recent years. On that basis, the Citizens Information Board has undertaken to consult with the Department of Health about the publication of more targeted material on gambling addiction on the citizensinformation.ie website.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (2713)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2713. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's allowance will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [32679/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 5 March 2019.

The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 2 July 2019 to assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.

Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Live Register Data

Ceisteanna (2714)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

2714. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 48 of 14 May 2015, the number of childcare workers who signed on for jobseeker's payments each year for the past four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32697/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The numbers of persons who declared their employment category as childcare and related occupations who signed on to the live register for jobseeker's payments or for credits during June, July and August 2015-2018 - but were not on the live register in the previous month - are detailed in the following tabular statements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Live register claims registered between June and August 2015

-

June

July

August

Total

Jobseeker's Allowance

757

549

274

1580

Jobseeker's Benefit

286

838

150

1274

Credits only

40

107

23

170

Total

1083

1494

447

3024

Live register claims registered between June and August 2016

-

June

July

August

Total

Jobseeker's Allowance

478

362

219

1059

Jobseeker's Benefit

550

502

151

1203

Credits only

56

64

20

140

Total

1084

928

390

2402

Live register claims registered between June and August 2017

-

June

July

August

Total

Jobseeker's Allowance

391

402

253

1046

Jobseeker's Benefit

373

638

153

1164

Credits only

34

67

20

121

Total

798

1107

426

2331

Live register claims registered between June and August 2018

June

July

August

Total

Jobseeker's Allowance

311

328

206

845

Jobseeker's Benefit

345

639

138

1122

Credits only

37

79

21

137

Total

693

1046

365

2104

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (2715)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

2715. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the correct level of disability allowance and-or basic payment payable in the case of a person (details supplied); if the case currently unappealed can be referred for oral hearing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32743/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that the department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from the above named person on 21 March 2019.

The application for DA, based upon the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds and the person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 1 July 2019.

The person was also notified of his right to a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. No such request has been received to date.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (2716)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

2716. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the basis on which an overpayment resulting in repayment occurred in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32744/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned is receiving a weekly Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment (BASI) for their family. As a qualifying condition of receiving BASI, the person concerned must satisfy a means test. Most Social Welfare payments are assessed as means. This includes the half-rate Carers Allowance payment the spouse of the person concerned is receiving.

This amount has been deducted from the person concerned’s weekly payment from 4 July 2019. The reasons for the overpayment will be communicated to the person concerned in writing within the next 10 working days.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.