The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. visited Tallaght today (Friday, 22nd March 2013) where she officially opened the latest of the Department’s INTREO offices at the Square. The Minister also officially opened the new premises for Tallaght Citizens Information at Hainault House.
A key element of the Department’s Pathways to Work strategy, INTREO is a transformative approach which offers jobseekers their income supports and tailored employment supports in the same place for the first time.
Speaking at the launch of the Tallaght INTREO Centre, Minister Burton said: “Our priority under the Pathways to Work strategy is to ensure that new employment opportunities go to people currently on the Live Register. That is what INTREO is about. In the past, Ireland’s welfare system for jobseekers was characterised as being largely passive and providing benefits only. INTREO is pro-active, ensuring jobseekers get not just the income supports they need but also employment supports to help them on the path back to work, training or education.”
INTREO is already delivering - clients can access employment supports in INTREO offices within a week or two of registration as opposed to a minimum of three months previously. Similarly, decisions on welfare claims are made within days instead of weeks, and client attendance at the engagement sessions with case workers has increased significantly.
Minister Burton said that employer support and engagement is also critical to INTREO. In another significant reform, the Department now has a dedicated division to engage with employers and help them find recruits from the Live Register.
There are a number of key elements which make up the INTREO service. They include:
Activation measures including client profiling, early group engagement and one-to-one meetings focused on personalised employment supports and on-going monitoring of the client’s progress.
An integrated decision-making process leading to reduced bureaucracy and delivering faster decisions.
An integrated reception providing a one-stop-shop. Instead of engaging separately with three different services in different locations, jobseekers can now register for all services in the one location.
A ‘social contract’ between the Department and the client which sets out the service commitments of the Department but also the responsibilities of the client. Tailored guidance and employment supports will be provided to jobseekers. In return, jobseekers are expected to accept that continued income support will be contingent on their full engagement with employment supports and activation measures.
Enhanced employer engagement at national and local level to maximise access to jobs opportunities and potential employees
Separately, Minister Burton performed the official opening of the Citizens Information Centre.
Speaking with staff, volunteers and guests at the Centre, the Minister said: “Citizens Information has played an invaluable role in Tallaght over many years and I want to pay tribute to all those involved who have done so much for the community. The establishment of this office is a welcome development which will ensure an enhanced service for the people of Tallaght and improved working conditions for the staff and volunteers working here.”
The centre is one of 42 Citizens Information Services throughout the country that provide information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy service to members of the public on a wide range of public and social services.
Minister Burton said: “The Citizens Information Services play a very important role in ensuring that people have access to comprehensive information and advice on their rights and entitlements. In particular, I would urge any person currently experiencing problems of over-indebtedness or mortgage arrears to avail of the service that is available from their local Citizens Information Centre.”
The Citizens Information Board has re-developed its website www.keepingyourhome.ie to provide detailed information for people in mortgage arrears and people who are at risk of going into arrears.
In addition, the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline has been established to provide guidance and assistance to people with concerns about their mortgage.