Ireland’s Department of Social Protection wins top award at European Regional Social Security Forum

Print page


19 April 2016

Check against delivery

Ireland’s Department of Social Protection wins top award at European Regional Social Security Forum

 The Department of Social Protection has won the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Good Practice Award for Europe 2016. The award was announced at the ISSA Regional Social Security Forum, taking place this week (18th-20th April 2016) in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Department received the award for its work in developing the integrated welfare and employment service – Intreo. An independent, international jury met to decide on the winner from among 71 entries from 27 ISSA members in 19 countries.

Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment and income supports. Designed to provide a more streamlined approach, Intreo offers practical, tailored employment services and supports for jobseekers and employers alike. It has involved a complete transformation of the physical environment and processes in offices providing social welfare services throughout the country.

The Jury also awarded a Certificate of Merit to each of the Department’s other submissions: "Closed Certification Guidelines for General Practitioners" and "SUSI/DSP Claim, Entitlement and Payment Service".

Secretary-General of the Department, Ms Niamh O’Donoghue said: "Winning the Good Practice Award is prestigious recognition for the outstanding work carried out by the Intreo team and staff throughout the Department who continue to contribute to the successes of this initiative.

"I would like to congratulate the staff involved in all three projects which have been judged to be models of international best practice and to everyone in the Department who has contributed to the successful implementation of these transformative initiatives".


Note for Editor ISSA press release:

More information on Intreo

In 2011, during a period when unemployment in Ireland increased by over 300%, the delivery of employment and welfare services was fragmented across three organisations. Customers who became unemployed dealt separately with each organisation. As a result customer service processes were inefficient and employment outcome for clients were poor. The development of Intreo was the response to this challenge, involving:

  • Development and communication of a clear business strategy.
  • Merger of three large organisations
  • Integration of the services and staff of these organisations
  • Design and implementation of new service processes
  • Implementation of new services
  • Implementation of client profiling to help prioritise resource allocation.
  • Delivery of all of these services in ‘one-stop-shops’ – Intreo Centres
  • Intreo has led to the following service improvements:

  • Transaction processing times have reduced from about three weeks to about three days
  • Lead time for engagement with employment services has reduced from at least three months to about two weeks
  • The persistence rate from short to long tem unemployment has reduced from 35% to c 26%. The progression rate of very long term unemployed people has increased from 25% to 44%


    More information on ISSA and the Good Practice Awards

    ISSA is an international organisation for social security institutions, government departments and agencies. It promotes excellence in social security administration through professional guidelines, expert knowledge, services and support to enable its members to develop dynamic social security systems and policy throughout the world. Founded in 1927, under the auspices of the International Labour Organisation, ISSA counts more than 330 member organisations in over 160 countries.

    To win the overall Good Practice award, the project needed to:

  • Be current: The practice must still be in place.
  • Have clear objectives: The targets, the expected outcomes, the context surrounding the good practice and the issue to be addressed are easily identifiable.
  • Demonstrate an innovative approach: A creative/ forward-looking solution has been developed to address a specific issue/challenge, with the ultimate goal of reaching excellence. It could be a completely new solution or an existing practice involving qualitative changes (e.g. use of a specific performance management tool, substantial changes in organizational structure, introduction of a new method of risk management, a new technology infrastructure).
  • Be efficient and effective: The resources/inputs applied to implementing the practice have been used in an optimal way (e.g. financial and human resources, time, technical and organizational inputs) and the objectives set have been met or the expected outcomes achieved. The impact as much as possible is measurable or verifiable. This means that the good practice has been evaluated and the results provide evidence of its positive impact and effect.
  • Provide learning experiences and have a potential for replication: Useful lessons can be drawn from the good practice (e.g. strengths and weaknesses of the practice, the constraints and difficulties met and the solutions to overcome them) and the practice has a potential to serve as inspiration or model for other social security administrations facing the similar issue/challenge. The practice is transferable with adaptation to the context.
  • Last modified:19/04/2016