New Intreo Centre in heart of Galway city is officially opened by Tánaiste


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The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. today (Wednesday, 11 November, 2015) officially opened the new Intreo Centre in Galway city at Fairgreen road.  This new office provides a full range of social welfare services that had previously been provided from five separate offices throughout the city. 

Now, customers, for the first time, have a single point of contact in one location in Galway city.  The catchment area for this new Intreo Centre is Galway city and its hinterland including east to Oranmore and Athenry, north to Claregalway and towards Headford and West including Oughterard and most of South Connemara and the Aran Islands. 

Some 150 Department of Social Protection staff are based in the Intreo Centre which is headed up by Divisional Manager, Eoin Brown.   Almost 16,000 customers will be assisted through this office which includes income supports and tailored employment supports for jobseekers.

The new Intreo service in Galway will reduce waiting times for jobseeker payments, significantly improve customer service and, for the staff, the working environment has been transformed.

Speaking at the official opening, the Tánaiste said: “Intreo has been a key element of the Government’s response to the high unemployment levels and it supports the objectives set out in Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.  It links the payment of income supports with supports offered to jobseekers in their efforts trying to find work.

“The type of support provided by Intreo is customised to each person’s skills, experience and qualifications.  A tailored progression plan is discussed and agreed by the jobseeker and their case officer.  Intreo Galway provides a one-stop-shop for jobseekers where they can get their income and employment supports in the one place for the first time.  Previously, the Department’s services were situated in five different locations around the city.

Speaking before the opening, Minister Simon Harris said:  "The opening of the latest Intreo Centre in Galway City by Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is another example of the role my Office, the OPW plays in assisting the Department of Social Protection to deliver the Intreo Programme.  The provision of appropriate, modern and efficient accommodation that meets the Department's business requirements and allows them to deliver their services to customers efficiently and effectively is the cornerstone of my Office's core service. This programme of works represents a very significant investment in terms of both funding by the Government and the allocation of administrative, architectural and technical resources by the OPW.”

The Tánaiste acknowledged the support of employers in Galway city and its environs in working with the Department of Social Protection by offering placements for jobseekers.   A team of 19 Activation Case Officers are currently working in Intreo in Galway with jobseekers.  There’s a broad range of employment supports available to jobseekers and local employers are key to the effectiveness of these supports.  Recent recruitment drives include collaboration with the Irish Hotels Federation and a number of local agencies and nursing homes. 

In Galway, five companies have registered for the First Steps Youth Development Internship to date while 31 companies across the county have signed up to the Employment and Youth Activation Charter.

The Tánaiste said: “This new Intreo Centre in Galway is an excellent example of how the Department of Social Protection has moved on from being a passive financial pay-hatch of old to a pro-active support for its customers.  I am very pleased to see the Department and local employers engaging with each other, both with the same objective, to help create work and improve the standards of living for all society.”

The Tánaiste thanked Eoin Brown and his staff who committed wholeheartedly to the new Intreo Centre, the Office of Public Works, the main contractors L&M Keating and the Department of Social Protection staff who oversaw the project.

Note for Editors

The Intreo process consists of five main elements:

An integrated 'one-stop-shop' reception service: This replaces the three previously separate services from FÁS, the Department of Social Protection and the Community Welfare Service (HSE). In practice, this means that the client receives complete information on a more timely basis in one location, and that all follow-on appointments can be scheduled at the same time.

A single decisions process: Previously, clients submitting claims for social welfare payments might have had to wait some time for their claim to be awarded as details of their employment status and income were assessed. While awaiting this payment, clients were entitled, by submitting a separate claim to the Community Welfare Service, to an emergency Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment. The new Intreo process significantly reduces the time taken to decide a claim and those clients who might still require a supplementary payment can have this decision made as part of the single process rather than having to submit a separate claim. As part of the decisions process, a personal profile (known as PEX) is captured for each individual and this profile informs the approach taken at the next stage in the process – activation.

An integrated activation/employment service process: Previously clients had to wait at least three months before an appointment could be made with an employment services officer, and in some cases this appointment had to be triggered by the client themselves. Now, under the new process, all clients must attend a group engagement session – typically within a week or two of registering for jobseekers' payments. Depending on their personal profile, they are subsequently scheduled for follow-on one-to-one meetings with an experienced employment services officer.
The group engagement session is designed to give clients basic information on their entitlements and the services that are available to them in order to help them return to work. Each client is given a fact sheet in preparation for and in advance of the one-to-one meeting.
At the one-to-one meeting, the employment services officer/case worker will go into greater detail as to the employment and training supports available and help the client to prepare a Personal Progression Plan (PPP).

Follow-up meetings are then scheduled to monitor progress against the plan and to adjust it, as circumstances dictate. Clients may also be contacted in the periods between one-to-one meetings to check if the client is following the actions agreed under the PPP.
Ultimately clients who, despite the assistance of their case officer cannot make progress on the pathway into employment/further education, may be directed to, and required to, take up a place on a State employment or training scheme.

Social Contract – Rights and Responsibilities: This contract underpins the Intreo approach.
It is a record of the commitments being made by the Intreo service and also of the commitments expected of clients who avail of that service. In other words, a social contract to ensure that all parties understand that with rights to supports from the Department come responsibilities to engage with those services. The commitments expected of clients are that they will:

  • Co-operate with the Intreo service in developing a Personal Progression Plan.
  • Use this plan to strive to secure employment.
  • Attend all meetings requested by the Department.
  • Provide all information requested by the Department.
  • Clients who register for the service will be expected to sign and honour this Record of Mutual Commitments.
  • Failure to honour this commitment can lead to a reduction in, and ultimately a cessation of, payments.

Employer Engagement: The Department already offers a suite of services that can assist employers in recruiting staff from the Live Register. These include:

  • Job advertising and job-matching services (jobsireland.ie)
  • An internship scheme - JobBridge (jobbridge.ie)
  • Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (jobsplus.ie)
  • In-work supports to employees – Part-time Job Incentive scheme and Family Income Supplement
  • WorkAbility services, including wage subsidies and grants, for employing people with a disability.

ENDS

Last modified:11/11/2015