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Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 313.  Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  when her review of community employment schemes will be complete; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16598/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton A financial review of Community Employment schemes is ongoing following the announced changes in Budget 2012. All schemes have been communicated with and met by an officer of my Department. Returns from these meetings are now being examined on a regional basis in terms of the funding requirements and what savings can be achieved within the limits set down by the Department. These outcomes will be analysed and will form the basis of the review findings which will be available to my Department from the end of March. Initial feedback is that the additional flexibility of €1,000 provided by my Department has helped to ease the situation. There is a growing realisation that some reduction is necessary given the budgetary situation and there is a general acceptance of this in principle.

A series of meetings is taking place at national level with representative bodies in relation to coming up with solutions as to how savings can be gained within the programme and further meetings are planned. Due to the widespread consultation and the level of detail being provided it is not possible to make any recommendations or decisions until the process is completed. There is also a review of Employment Support programmes, which includes Community Employment. Stakeholders are also being consulted as part of this review process. This review will also be completed by the end of March 2012.

These reviews and subsequent reports at both the individual CE scheme level and at the macro level will provide good evidence on which to base future policy and ensure the most appropriate support for participants and the services provided to the community and voluntary sector.

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