Minister of State Kevin Humphreys to officially open new Intreo Centre in Ennis


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 Minister of State Kevin Humphreys to officially open new
Intreo Centre in Ennis

The latest Department of Social Protection INTREO Centre will be officially opened today (Thursday, 22nd January, 2015) by Kevin Humphreys, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection with special responsibility for Employment, Community and Social Support. 

Speaking in advance of the official opening, Minister Humphreys said: “The introduction of the Intreo service in Ennis is a positive step in transforming the way income and employment supports are provided.  It is a key element of the Government’s response to the high unemployment levels and it supports the objectives set out in the Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.  It links the payment of income supports with the supports offered to people in their pursuit of work.”

Located at Government Buildings, Kilrush Road, Ennis, the new INTREO Centre will provide a one-stop-shop for jobseekers where they can get employment and financial supports in the one place for the first time.  Previously, the social welfare services were divided into three separate locations in the town, which was inconvenient for the Department’s customers and put greater pressure on processing times for applications.

The support now being provided through INTREO will be customised to each customer’s individual skills, experience and qualifications.  A tailored progression plan is planned and agreed between the jobseeker and their Case Officer.  This plan helps the jobseeker in deciding the training and development programmes they should pursue to maximise their access to job opportunities.  There are some 1,675 people in Clare currently availing of these supports that include the Back to Education Allowance, Enterprise Allowance, TÚS, JobBridge and Community Employment schemes.

Ennis INTREO Centre also works closely with local employers in helping them find recruits for any vacancies they may have.  Minister Humphreys said: “The Department of Social Protection is available to meet with and engage with employers at local level to help them source employees for particular jobs or projects. In recent times there has been good progress on the jobs front.   Of course there are enormous challenges ahead and this year we are specifically addressing long-term and youth unemployment.  This Government is continuing to improve employment and work activation supports in its drive to make sure that people are better off in work.

“Together with businesses and local employers throughout the country, the Department of Social Protection along with the Labour Market Council are creating opportunities that are benefitting jobseekers and employers. Through the JobsPlus scheme alone which was introduced in July 2013, over 2,900 employers have availed of the opportunity to give over 3,900 unemployed people on the Live Register a chance to get back into the jobs market.  To date, 90 jobseekers have availed of JobsPlus in County Clare. They are working with 59 employers.  A new JobsPlus strand for young people will be available early this year under the Youth Guarantee.”

"In addition, I am confident that the Back to Work Family Dividend which is now available to lone parent and long-term jobseeker families with children is a further initiative that will be a financial support to help lone parent and long-term jobseeker families return to work."

Currently, people in receipt of jobseeker payments receive an additional increase of €29.80 per week for each child they have, a payment known as a Qualified Child Increase. Under the Back to Work Family Dividend scheme, these jobseekers will retain that payment of €29.80 a week for each child in full for the first year in employment, and will retain half the payment – or €14.90 per child - for the second year in employment.

This means that over the two years, a family with one child will receive additional support of €2,324 to supplement wages. A family with two children will receive €4,649, those with three children will get €6,973, while those with four or more will get €9,298.

While in Ennis, Minister Humphreys will also meet with representatives of Community Employment schemes including Mountshannon Community Council CE and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul CE.  Overall, there are 31 Community Employment Programmes currently underway in County Clare, that include 4 Job Initiative Programmes and which have 523 participants. 

These programmes, sponsored mainly by local voluntary and community organisations based in County Clare and some public bodies involved in not for profit activity provide valuable services to local communities whilst also providing work experience as well as training and educational opportunities for jobseekers.  

The project activity is mainly environmental – enhancing the towns, villages and leisure amenities to a very high standard.  It also focuses on health and social care through the provision of support services to people in elderly care centres, as home helps or supporting ill or disabled people.  Participants are also involved in childcare.  In 2014 the Childcare CE programme was implemented with childcare placements and training and development opportunities all within one designated sponsor group – Clare Family Resource Centre in Ennis.

The Minister congratulated all involved in both delivering and participating in the Community Employment and other projects which he said enhance the local communities while equipping the participants with new skills and preparing them to become job-ready.

Minister Humphreys thanked the local staff of the Department for their co-operation while work was underway in constructing the Intreo Centre: “Thanks to Jim Lynch, his management team and staff for their continued support.  I wish all of you continued success as you continue to deliver an excellent service on behalf of the Department.”

ENDS


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.
Last modified:22/01/2015