Employment & vocational training

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Community Employment

The government report on Community Employment (CE) was raised in the Seanad by John Whelan (Lab, labour) (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 27th June, 381-3).  The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told him that the review was now complete and schemes would receive notice of their revised allocation by the end of the week.  Under the revised arrangements, sponsors would no longer be given universal amounts of financial support but a specific level of support aimed at meeting the particular costs necessarily incurred by them.  She was putting in place an appeals mechanism for scheme organizers unhappy with what they received.  Significant savings had already  been made to the overheads of projects in insurance costs and audit fees.  Allocations would depend on applications made.  Some schemes submitted figures below €500, others over €1,000.  ‘They can apply to the regional manager initially and if they are still unhappy with the outcomes, they can apply to the assistant secretary in charge of the schemes overall.  Clearly, they will have to justify any application they make and show how they have made savings.  Many schemes had heavy administration costs, particularly insurance and auditing and ‘we have changed the arrangements to make it possible to make savings’.  Some also had quite expensive rents and ‘we will be asking schemes to seek to re-negotiate with landlords’.   She concluded by saying that they hoped to improve the qualifications people could obtain from such schemes. 

 

The minister told the Dail that the review had found considerable variation in CE schemes in the amount of training provided, materials required, overheads and the potential of sponsoring organizations to meet costs that up to now had been met by the materials grant (Dail Eireann, Debates, 27th June 2012, 495).  As a result, new arrangements were in place to reduce spending on audits and insurance.  Considerable savings had already been achieved this year and there would be additional savings next year.