I propose to take Questions Nos. 616 and 631 together.
The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and others with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.
The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor.
The sponsor organisations of these schemes receive state funding to cover the cost of participant, supervisor, assistant supervisor remuneration, training and material costs from the Department. The supervisors and assistant supervisors are employees of the sponsoring organisations and are not public servants or employees of the Department.
My Department is engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and all parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed. I have asked Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.