Minister Burton officially opens new Intreo Centre in Limerick

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One-stop shop provides income and employment supports in one place for jobseekers

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, TD and Housing Minister, Jan O'Sullivan, TD, today (Friday, 13th December, 2013) officially opened the Limerick Intreo Centre in Dominic Street.  

Intreo is the Department's transformative approach to helping people get back to work, offering an integrated employment and support service.

The Intreo Centre in Dominic Street provides a one-stop shop for jobseekers where they can get their income supports and employment supports in the one place for the first time.
Intreo is a key element of the Government's Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.

Minister Burton said: "Since coming to office, I have focused on transforming the Department from a passive benefits provider to an active and engaged employment service through the Pathways to Work strategy. The transformation of our local welfare offices into Intreo Centres is one of the central elements of that strategy.

"That work is paying off – the Live Register has fallen below 400,000 and will reduce further next year. But there remains a long way to go and that is why it is crucial we offer every practical support to jobseekers. That is why Intreo Centres such as Limerick are so important."

The Minister outlined the key elements of the Intreo service, which include:

  • Activation measures which include client profiling, early group engagement and regular one-to-one meetings with case officers which focus on employment supports and monitoring of the client's progress.
  • Integrated decision-making process leading to quicker decisions.
  • Integrated reception providing a one-stop shop incorporating all strands of the Department's employment and income support services.
  • An emphasis on the mutual commitments between the service and its clients.
  • Enhanced employer engagement at national and local level maximising access to job opportunities and potential employees.

The Minister also spoke of the importance of local employer support and engagement  to the success of Limerick Intreo. 

"Intreo Centres are not just for jobseekers, they are also for employers. We provide a range of supports for employers, such as JobsPlus, the wage subsidy scheme where the State pays approximately €1 in €4 of the typical cost of hiring someone who has been on the Live Register for 12 months or more. I would urge employers as well as jobseekers in the area to see what the Intreo office has to offer them."

Minister Burton also welcomed the announcement made by University of Limerick earlier this week: "I was particularly pleased to hear that the University of Limerick has secured a €100 million loan from the European Investment Bank to extend and build new facilities.  This development plan is expected to create a total of 1,000 jobs; 290 full-time positions and 710 construction-related positions. This is welcome news for Limerick and its environs, both from a jobs perspective and from that of a city whose university is expanding and delivering greater third-level opportunities and facilities."


Note for Editors
The 'Intreo' process consists of five main elements:
An integrated 'one-stop-shop' reception service

  • This replaces the three previously separate services from FÁS, the Department of Social Protection and the Community Welfare Service (HSE).
  • In practice, this means that the client receives complete information on a more timely basis, in one location and all follow-on appointments can be scheduled at the same time.

A single decisions process

  • Previously, clients submitting claims for social welfare payments might have had to wait some time for their claim to be awarded as details of their employment status and income were assessed.
  • While awaiting this payment, clients were entitled, by submitting a separate claim to the Community Welfare Service, to an emergency Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment.
  • The new process significantly reduces the time taken to decide a claim and those clients who might still require a supplementary payment can have this decision made as part of the single process rather than having to submit a separate claim.
  • As part of the decisions process, a personal profile (known as PEX) is captured for each individual and this profile informs the approach taken at the next stage in the process – activation.

An integrated activation/employment service process

  • Previously clients had to wait at least three months before an appointment could be made with an employment services officer, and in some cases this appointment had to be triggered by the client themselves.
  • Now, under the new process, all clients must attend a group engagement session – typically within a week or two of registering for jobseekers' payments. Depending on their personal profile, they are subsequently scheduled for follow-on one-to-one meetings with an experienced employment services officer.
  • The group engagement session is designed to give clients basic information on their entitlements and the services that are available to them in order to help them return to work. Each client is given a fact sheet in preparation for and in advance of the one-to-one meeting.
  • At the one-to-one meeting the employment services officer/case worker will go into greater detail as to the employment and training supports available and help the client to prepare a Personal Progression Plan (PPP).
  • Follow-up meetings are then scheduled to monitor progress against the plan and to adjust it, as circumstances dictate. Clients may also be contacted in the periods between one-to-one meetings to check if the client is following the actions agreed under the PPP.
  • Ultimately clients who, despite the assistance of their case officer cannot make progress on the pathway into employment/further education, may be directed to, and required to, take up a place on a State employment or training scheme.

Social Contract – Rights and Responsibilities

  • This contract underpins the Intreo approach.
  • It is a record of the commitments being made by the Intreo service and also of the commitments expected of clients who avail of that service. In other words, a social contract to ensure that all parties understand that with rights to supports from the Department come responsibilities to engage with those services.
  • The commitments expected of clients are that they will:
    • Co-operate with the Intreo service in developing a Personal Progression Plan.
    • Use this plan to strive to secure employment.
    • Attend all meetings requested by the Department.
    • Provide all information requested by the Department.
    • Clients who register for the service will be expected to sign and honour this Record of Mutual Commitments.
  • Failure to honour this commitment can lead to a reduction in, and ultimately a cessation of, payments.

Employer Engagement

  • The Department already offers a suite of services that can assist employers in recruiting staff from the Live Register. These include:
    • Job advertising and job-matching services (
    • An internship scheme - JobBridge (
    • Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (
    • In-work supports to employees – Part-time Job Incentive scheme and Family Income Supplement
    • WorkAbility services, including wage subsides and grants, for employing people with a disability.
Last modified:13/12/2013