Overview National Action Plan for Social Inclusin 2007-2016: Building and Inclusive Society


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Further information is also available from the Office for Social Inclusion website http://www.socialinclusion.ie/

Overview of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016: Building an Inclusive Society

Introduction

High Level Goals

Making It Happen

Bridging the Implementation Gap

Introduction

The Government is committed to a coherent strategy for social inclusion based on the lifecycle approach set out in the national partnership agreement Towards 2016. This National Action Plan for Social inclusion (NAPinclusion), complemented by the social inclusion elements of the National Development Plan 2007-2013: Transforming Ireland– A Better Quality of Life for All , sets out how the social inclusion strategy will be achieved over the period 2007-2016.

The commitments set out in this Plan are ambitious and challenging. The new strategic framework will facilitate greater co-ordination and integration of structures and procedures across Government at national and local levels, as well as improved reporting and monitoring mechanisms.

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (NAPinclusion) has been prepared in a different context to the original 1997 National Anti-Poverty Strategy. Income support targets (social welfare rates and pensions) have now been achieved and, in line with the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) report on the Developmental Welfare State, there is greater emphasis on services and activation as a means of tackling social exclusion. This is reflected in the nature of the Plan, which complements the NDP 2007-2013 and Towards 2016.

The Plan has a strong focus on actions and targets, clearly defined and measurable, which are essential if the Plan’s objectives are to be achieved and progress in achieving them effectively monitored. By adopting the lifecycle approach, the Plan also supports the development of a more joined-up and multidisciplinary approach to policy making, with coordinated inputs from a wide range of actors.

High level Goals

The NAPinclusion sets out a wide-ranging and comprehensive programme of action to address poverty and social exclusion. To ensure that a decisive impact on poverty is made, the Government believes that significant interventions are required to prioritise a small number of high level goals. These targeted actions and interventions are designed to mobilise resources to address long-standing and serious social deficits with the ultimate aim of achieving the objective of reducing consistent poverty. The overall goal of this Plan is:

Overall Poverty Goal

To reduce the number of those experiencing consistent poverty to between 2% and % by 2012, with the aim of eliminating consistent poverty by 2016, under the revised definition.

Within each section of the lifecycle, a number of high level goals are being prioritised to achieve this goal.

Children

Education at all stages of a child’s life is of central importance for their development and future well-being. Accordingly, it forms the basis for the main targets in this area. In addition, the importance of income support in tackling child poverty is also recognised. The high level goals for this life stage are to:

Goal 1: Education
Ensure that targeted pre-school education is provided to children from urban primary school communities covered by the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) action plan;

Goal 2: Education
Reduce the proportion of pupils with serious literacy difficulties in primary schools serving disadvantaged communities. The target is to halve the proportion from the current 27%-30% to less than 15% by 2016;

Goal 3: Education
Work to ensure that the proportion of the population aged 20-24 completing upper second level education or equivalent will exceed 90% by 2013;

Goal 4: Income Support
Maintain the combined value of child income support measures at 33%-35% of the minimum adult social welfare payment rate over the course of this Plan and review child income supports aimed at assisting children in families on low income.

People of Working Age

Employment plays a key role in combating poverty and social exclusion. Therefore, the main high level goals for this life stage aim to provide supports for those who are furthest from the labour market to take up employment. For those outside the labour force, it is important that income supports are provided to sustain an acceptable standard of living. These two aspects are covered as follows:

Goal 5: Employment and Participatition
Introduce an active case management approach that will support those on long-term social welfare into education, training and employment. The target is to support 50,000 such people, including lone parents and the long-term unemployed, with an overall aim of reducing by 20% the number of those whose total income is derived from long-term social welfare payments by 2016. This target will be reviewed in the light of experience;

Goal 6: Income Support
Maintain the relative value of the lowest social welfare rate at least at €185.80, in 2007 terms, over the course of this Plan, subject to available resources.

Older People

Community care services are essential to enable older people to maintain their health and wellbeing, in order to live active, full independent lives, at home for as long as possible. Income also has a key role to play in alleviating poverty in old age. Therefore, the high level goals for this life stage focus on these two areas.:

Goal 7: Community Care
Continue to increase investment in community care services for older people, including home care packages and enhanced day care services, to support them to live independently in the community for as long as possible;

Goal 8: Income Support
Maintain a minimum payment rate of €200 per week, in 2007 terms, for all social welfare pensions over the course of this Plan and, if possible, having regard to available resources and the Government’s commitment in Towards 2016, to enhance this provision. The overall pension structures and system to provide income supports for pensioners will be reviewed in the light of the forthcoming Green Paper on Pensions, to be finalised at end March 2007. This will review all the pillars of pension provision.

People with Disabilities

Many people with disabilities would like to take up employment if given the opportunity. Therefore, the high level goal for this life stage focuses on how employment and participation can help people with disabilities to lead full and rewarding lives.

Goal 9: Employment and Participation
Increase the employment of people with disabilities who do not have a difficulty in retaining a job. The immediate objective is to have an additional 7,000 of that cohort in employment by 2010. The longer term target is to raise the employment rate of people with disabilities from 37% to 45% by 2016 as measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey. The overall participation rate in education, training and employment will be increased to 50% by 2016. These targets will be reviewed in the light of experience and the availability of better data.

Communities

Many people with disabilities would like to take up employment if given the opportunity. Therefore, the high level goal for this life stage focuses on how employment and participation can help people with disabilities to lead full and rewarding lives.

Goal 10: Housing
Deliver high quality housing for those who cannot afford to meet their own housing needs and to underpin the building of sustainable communities. An important element will be the enhanced housing output reflected in Towards 2016, which will result in the accommodation needs of some 60,000 new households being addressed over the period 2007 to 2009. This will embrace meeting special housing needs (the homeless, Travellers, older people and people with disabilities);

Goal 11: Health
Develop 500 primary care teams by 2011 which will improve access to services in the community, with particular emphasis on meeting the needs of holders of medical cards;

Goal 12: Integration of Migrants
Develop a strategy aimed at achieving the integration of newcomers in our society. As an initial action, resources for the provision of 550 teachers for language supports in the education sector will be provided by 2009 and access to other public services through translation of information and supports will be improved.

Making it Happen

The NAPinclusion focuses on delivery and achieving positive outcomes. This requires continuing to develop an openness to change, involving government departments, agencies and other organisations working together more effectively and continuing to progressively overcome traditional barriers to co-operation. Regular monitoring and evaluation of progress against social inclusion targets and objectives is essential, together with service delivery that is accessible, flexible and customer centred.

Both at national and local level, all government departments and agencies have specific responsibilities to deliver on key targets. In addition, a number of actions aimed at achieving greater co-ordination and strengthened delivery of the social inclusion agenda are being established. The following measures are aimed at developing more co-ordinated and integrated approaches at national and local levels, and between these levels:

  • The Office of the Minister for Children (OMC) will provide a strong leadership role in improving outcomes for children. Drawing on the experience of the Childhood Development Initiatives, the Children Services Committees and the County Childcare Committees, integration of services will be improved around the needs of individual children and families through new and enhanced local structures;
  • To ensure a better integration of activation, income and other supports to assist people into employment, a new high-level group will be established. This will be composed of the Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Social and Family Affairs, FÁS and other relevant agencies as required. This group will report to the Cabinet Committee regarding progress in delivering on the targets set out in this Plan and other related issues;
  • The Local Government Social Inclusion Steering Group (LGSISG) will be further developed to support the linkages between the national and local level and will report to the Cabinet Committee, as appropriate;
  • New mechanisms will be developed in 2007 at national and local level to improve co-ordination and delivery of housing, in particular where there is a care dimension, for older people and people with disabilities.

At the local level, the involvement of local interests, particularly local authorities and County/City Development Boards (CDBs), will be key elements in ensuring the delivery of social inclusion across all sectors of society. Developments here include:

  • The County/City Development Board structure will be developed and strengthened to support its role in co-ordinating public service delivery (including social inclusion activities) at local level. In this context, the extension of Social Inclusion Units to half of the city and county councils, by end 2008, will support this approach. CDBs will, in addition, prioritise the work of the Social Inclusion Measures (SIM) groups, established to improve co-ordination of social inclusion activities at local level;
  • The delivery of the RAPID (Revitalisation of Areas by Planning Investment and Development) programme, which aims to direct State assistance towards improving quality of life and access to opportunities for communities in the most disadvantaged urban areas throughout the State, will be strengthened and enhanced.

Bridging the Implementation Gap

There is always the risk that outcomes intended and planned for may not be achieved because implementation is deficient. This can occur because of administrative failures in relation to individual policies, lack of effective co-ordination or weak performance monitoring and evaluation. The Government is convinced that the structures outlined above will avoid these risks and minimise implementation gaps. These structures, combined with the strong commitment to the high level goals and the many actions and policies outlined in this NAPinclusion, should ensure that the overall goals of the strategy are achieved.

A new strategic framework aims to achieve a more comprehensive and efficient monitoring and reporting process that is streamlined across Towards 2016, the NDP and the NAPinclusion. The key element will be the preparation by the Office for Social Inclusion, of the annual Social Inclusion Report. This report will be presented to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion, the Partnership Steering Group and the NDP Monitoring Committee.

 

Last modified:06/10/2008
 

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