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Changing Ethos of the Department of Social Protection


I am writing about the way the Department of Social Protection has evolved since the recession in 2009.  How their Services were delivered and the changes that have been implemented over the past few years.  The Department of Social Protection plays a part in everyone’s life at some stage. The aim of the Department is to provide citizens with information, financial support and other services they require in a timely customer-friendly manner.  This report will outline the evolution of the Department in the last few years and the way they have changed their working practices and also more importantly the way the unemployed are treated when first coming into contact with the Department of Social Protection.

Department of Social Protection Before 2012

“Passive” income maintenance expenditures rose very rapidly as unemployment climbed after 2008; the response in terms of expenditure on labor market programmes inevitably lagged somewhat. The Jobs Initiative and Community Employment Schemes were changed and modified.  Jobs Initiative which is amount paid for the Job was introduced in the 1990’s it was targeted towards the unemployed over 35yrears of age and unemployed for more than 5yrs.  The jobs were created in the community and participants were paid the market rate.  The Community Employment schemes were also introduced and expanded during the 90’s participants would work part time hours in the community and earn additional money to supplement their Lone Parents or Disability payment.  The criteria for additional payment were that they had to be on Lone Parents or Dept. Payment.    They also provided excellent training allowance to enhance the skills and qualifications of those on the scheme.  The Scheme would last anything up to 12 months to 24 months.  These schemes re-energized underprivileged areas all over major cities in Ireland.  Some of the C.E. Schemes made a great benefit to people and they used it to gain skills and experience in order to move into the open job market. Fas the training agency concentrated on long term training rather than short term training courses.  The training courses were not geared towards up skilling for shortages in the Job Market.  There as a gap between what was needed in the labor market and what training was being provided by Fas. They failed to link in with Companies and factories on skills shortages.  To train people for specific skills shortages to fill contract positions.  A revolving door seemed to happen in the early years of the recession the unemployed were floating from one course to another.   A lot of our students left the country to seek employment in Europe and overseas.  Small towns in Ireland became devoid of young people.  Our educated young were leaving Ireland for a better life. The unemployed were treated badly when signing on for benefits and were made to feel small and worthless.  They were dictated to and treated like children when seeking what they were entitled.


The Government introduced a Programme a Pathway to Work and Employment Activation Policy for all areas in the community.  Community initiatives were drawn up to increase employment.  The Criteria for C.E. Schemes was changed and those on the dole were only entitled to one payment from the Department of Social Welfare.  The Job Initiative was to be phased out.  Money was to follow employment only; private training companies were to be funded if the Government agencies could not provide relevant job market training.  There was a huge shortage of trained people for the Pharmaceutical Industry; training companies began to spring up providing such training over a 12 month period.  The merger of Dept. of Social Welfare and Community Welfare Service, FAS Community and Employment Services and the redundancy and insolvency payment schemes the Department is now one of the largest public service organizations in the country.   The department now has close relationships with employers who are essential partners in getting people into employment.  The Department is developing integrated services with the introduction of Intero this model of service is to enhance the service to the customer. It is a quality service delivery across a wide range of disciplines and programmes to meet the changing needs of our customers.  As the economy is now booming and we are heading towards full employment again the Department has played a pivotal role in 2015 in supporting Ireland’s economic progress.  Unemployment has fallen from a crisis peak of 15.1 percent to 2012 to 8.8% at the beginning of 2016. The integrated new services are now paying huge dividends to the unemployed. Pathways to work to help the unemployed into work, training and education.

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The Rollout of the Intreo service meets the key objective in the Statement of Strategy 2011 to 2014 to transform the Department into an integrated, activation – focused service provider which puts the customer at the center of all our operations.  In short both a safety net and a springboard.  The Department is determined to deliver a customer service that meets best international standards and maintains the public service that meets best international standards and maintains the public service values of openness, responsiveness, professionalism and good governance.  The Charter and Action Plan will be a focal point to help staff meet this challenge. The most important thing is to be responsive to the customer and the job market.  Keep abreast of the changes to industry and the skills shortage, anticipate demand for skills and retain and up skill the unemployed to meet those challenges.  A proactive organization rather than reactive.  The department will be run as an innovative and strategy

orientated body who meets the needs of their customers.

Customer Charter was initiated

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