"Our MISSION is to promote social well-being through income and other supports which enable people to participate in society in a positive way."
FOREWORD FROM THE MINISTER
I welcome the publication of this Strategy Statement which I have agreed with the Secretary-General of my Department.
We have, as a society, experienced significant change over the last number of years. Unprecedented economic growth has led to higher levels of employment and increased prosperity. However, not all of our citizens have been in a position to avail of the benefits which this upturn in our economy has brought. Tackling disadvantage and promoting social inclusion are key priorities for this Government and my Department has been given a key role to play in this area through its central co-ordinating role in relation to the National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS). In consultation with other departments and agencies we will strengthen this process.
I am convinced that, through a concerted effort, we can deal with disadvantage and ensure that all citizens are in a position to participate fully in society.
My Department has developed an excellent reputation for providing a high quality service to customers and I am determined that we maintain very high standards in this area. I would like to compliment the staff of my Department for their continued commitment and dedication to improving how we provide our schemes and services.
We will continue to focus on developing and delivering supports and services that meet the expectations and needs of the wide variety of customers served by my Department.
This Strategy Statement outlines an ambitious programme but I am confident that the objectives that have been set can be achieved.
Dermot Ahern TD
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs
FOREWORD FROM THE SECRETARY GENERAL
I am pleased to introduce this Strategy Statement which has now been agreed with the Minister in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Management Act, 1997.
This Strategy Statement is a framework document where we set out our Mission, our High Level Goals and the strategies and actions we will pursue to fulfill our remit over the period 2001 to 2004. We outline the environment in which we operate and the key policy and operational areas in which we are involved. In separate chapters we deal with our policy development process, our income maintenance programmes and our service delivery strategies. In addition, we set out our objectives in the key area of Human Resource Management.
Over the years we have, I believe, demonstrated that we are a progressive and responsive organisation. The recent independent customer survey which was carried out shows that overall satisfaction levels with the service we provide remain high. However, we recognise that improvements are required in a number of areas and we give an outline of our customer service programme in this Strategy Statement. The issues are covered in more detail in our Customer Action Plan 2001-2004 published earlier this year.
Dealing with the cross cutting issues where there is overlap of responsibility between different departments and agencies is a key area and we outline our approach to and involvement with these organisations in this Strategy Statement.
This Statement has been developed following a lengthy process of consultation including the involvement of our Partnership process. Each major area of policy and activity was examined and staff at all levels were invited to contribute. We have an ongoing programme of consultation with our customers and voluntary and community representative groups as well as with other departments and agencies and their views and the feedback received has also been taken into account.
Our aim is to continue to improve the services we provide. Our staff have shown that they are committed to this task and we can look forward with confidence to meeting the challenges ahead and achieving the goals we have set in this Strategy Statement.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone involved for their contribution to the preparation of this Strategy Statement.