The National Development Plan (NDP) 2007 -2013 provides for the Social and Economic Participation Programme involving an investment of 50m in a new initiative by the Department of Social Protection. The programme is specifically targeted at encouraging and supporting those on social welfare to make the transition from passive welfare payments to active participation in employment. The objective of the programme is to promote participation and social inclusion through activation measures aimed at people of working age on welfare. The aim is to facilitate progression regardless of the circumstances that led the person to require income maintenance. This service is delivered through the Departments facilitator network working in co-operation with other relevant service providers such as FS, VECs, HSE and other local agencies. The programme complements existing services such as the back to work and back to education schemes in addition to services offered by other agencies in agreed circumstances, where necessary.
Within the programme, facilitators will be required to :
- Work, in conjunction with the Employment Support Services, with identified categories of welfare recipients for activation on a targeted monthly caseload basis;
- Maintain and provide timely and accurate statistics within specified reporting structures under the programme;
- Assess the needs of and engage with customers in developing a comprehensive individual progression plan towards employment, training and self-reliance;
- Focus and encourage customers to engage with the range of services and supports available to them in order to maximise opportunities for progression;
- Promote the Back to Education Allowance and Back to Work Allowance schemes locally by engaging with customers, educational institutions, local partnership companies and employers. Promote the Family Income Supplement scheme or schemes operated by other agencies;
- Develop support programmes which complement a case management approach for customers;
- Develop and enhance working relationship with other agencies and local groups that which support objectives of meeting customer progression plans;
These key elements require facilitators to :
- Engage with target groups on a case management basis;
- Be available to those seeking advice and help in accessing employment, training, education or other support services;
- Advocate on behalf of customers in dealing with other areas of the department or external agencies;
- Administer the Activation and Family Support Programme (AFSP) and the Technical Assistance and Training Fund (TAT) in accordance with relevant guidelines;
- Monitor the progression of customers and obtain feedback to develop and enhance the progression process;
- Together with regional management and ESS, contribute to the development of policy and service delivery in relation to activation.