Statement of Strategy 2016 to 2019

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The Department’s Mission is ‘To promote active participation and inclusion in society through the provision of income supports, employment services and other services.’

The Department’s overall objective for 2016 to 2019 is to continue putting our clients at the centre of all our operations, providing an efficient and effective service and to continue developing our staff, structures and processes.

Foreword by Minister

I welcome the publication of the new Statement of Strategy for the Department of Social Protection. This Strategy will implement the priorities as set out in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

The top priority for the next few years is to remain prudent in our approach to the economy and public spending and ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, providing for modest and sustainable increases in incomes and improving public services and infrastructure. We want to ensure that everyone benefits from the recovery, with no one left behind.

We made progress on all of these priorities in Budget 2017 with a €5 increase across the board in maximum weekly benefits for people of working age, and for  retired people aged 66 or over, alongside additional targeted measures for the self-employed, lone parents, young jobseekers and rural communities.

My goal is to ensure that people are rewarded for working, by reforming the PRSI system and reinforcing the contributory principle. Budget 2017 has already started this process by restoring some dental and optical benefits to employees. I am also implementing a New Deal for the self-employed, who will have new benefits extended to them, including treatment benefit such as free eye and dental tests for the first time, and access to the safety- net of State income supports if they have a serious illness or injury that prevents them from working without having to go through a means test.

Current levels of pension provision are inadequate for many people especially in the private sector. I intend to work with relevant parties to develop new proposals to improve the adequacy of retirement provision. Such proposals will be designed to supplement the State’s own pension provision, not replace it.

The Department is also developing a new working family payment to reduce child poverty and make work pay, ensuring that no family is better off on welfare than in work.

Since my appointment as Minister for Social Protection I have been consistently impressed by the calibre of staff. I look forward to continued close co-operation in implementing the priorities set out in the Programme for a Partnership Government.


Leo Varadkar T.D.
Minister for Social Protection


Introduction by the Secretary General

The Department of Social Protection’s tenth Statement of Strategy sets out the mission, high-level objectives and key strategies which we will pursue in delivering the policies and priorities as set down by the Minister for Social Protection and the Government, in particular the commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government. It also details our complex operating environment, which presents both challenges and opportunities, and the significant enablers which will be leveraged to help achieve our goals.

The objectives and high-level strategies in the Statement of Strategy are aligned to Business and Risk Management Plans across the Department and each staff member’s role in the attainment of those objectives is clearly defined within the Performance Management & Development System.

Much has been achieved in recent years in difficult circumstances. We will build on those achievements and continue to report on progress in the Department’s annual report.

In preparing this Statement of Strategy, submissions were invited and received from civil society including community and voluntary bodies, other Departments and Offices, staff and the public. Thank you for your considerable contributions which were all fully considered, and informed the development of this Statement of Strategy.

As a Department we strive to provide excellent customer service whilst making the best use of the resources available to us. The Department delivers a vast range of services from various locations throughout the country, but as a single organisation, we have a true sense of purpose to put our clients at the centre of all of our activities.

Achieving our ambitious work programme could not happen without the dedication and motivation of the Department’s staff. My sincere thanks to all of the Department’s staff for their invaluable support and co-operation in our continued efforts to deliver and improve our services.


Níamh O’Donoghue
Secretary General

Last modified:26/04/2018