Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (528)

Catherine Connolly


528. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Social Protection the basis on which the decision to restructure the corporate governance arrangements of the Citizens’ Information Service and MABS was taken; and the person or body that made the decision. [27091/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy services on a wide range of public and social services. CIB delivers on this remit through its provision of some services directly to the public and through a network of service delivery companies.

In February 2017, following lengthy and extensive analysis of options and a detailed consultation period with all stakeholders,  CIB made the decision to restructure the governance arrangements of the existing network of 42 Citizens Information Services (CIS’s) and 51 Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS) into 16 regional companies comprising 8 Regional CIS companies and 8 Regional MABS companies.

As part of the restructuring process, new boards of directors were appointed. All staff, assets and liabilities of the 93 local companies transferred to the 16 new regional companies. The restructuring process was completed in October 2018 and the 16 new companies have been operating effectively since then. There have been no job losses, no closure of service delivery points and no diminution in services provided to clients.

The aim of the restructuring was to enhance the service for users by improving the governance arrangements for CIB’s funded services and to unlock the benefits of a more modern and streamlined citizen-focused service delivery model.

New service - level agreements are in place for all the new companies, in line with good governance requirements. It has also been possible to gain efficiencies in the provision of support services for both CIS and MABS companies with a number of shared services now in place, including payroll services, legal and financial advice on pensions, and a single insurance scheme.

At the service delivery level, the regional companies now have more flexibility in allocating staff resources to areas of need, and specialist skills are more easily shared. Administrative resources freed up from previous work associated with supporting 93 local companies are now focused directly on clients’ requirements. In MABS, more regular case reviews are being undertaken and there is an increased focus on quality assurance and on achieving improved outcomes for clients.

CIB continues to support the regional companies and works with them as they respond  in an efficient, effective and flexible manner to the needs of clients. This is evident in the response by the regional services during the Covid-9 pandemic when both the CIS and MABS regional networks were able to respond quickly and efficiently to share resources, and develop new and innovative ways to serve clients including a new call back service, instant messaging service and increased use of social media to meet their clients' information needs.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy