Annual Report 2013

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Annual Report 2013 - Foreword from the Minister

Since coming into office as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, I have focused on transforming the Department from the passive benefits provider of old to an active and engaged public employment service that assists in getting people back to work. 2013 saw further significant progress towards achieving that goal.

At the end of 2013, 61,000 more people were in work, an employment increase of 3.3% on 2012. Unemployment fell by 41,400 or 14.1% over the course of the year. These figures demonstrate that the unrelenting Government drive to create jobs and get people back to work is succeeding. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is the lead Department on the Pathways to Work strategy, which complements the Government's Action Plan for Jobs. The Action Plan is designed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy, while the aim of Pathways to Work is to ensure that as many as possible of those newly created jobs go to people on the Live Register.

Central to this success are a series of key reforms, such as replacing the welfare offices of old with new Intreo Centres. There are now 44 Intreo Centres in operation – integrating employment services with benefit payment services in a ‘one-stop shop' where jobseekers can access their income supports and employment supports to help them back to work, education or training.

In 2013, a new profiling system was put in place which assesses how likely a person is to get a job when they first claim their benefits. The key benefit of the profiling system is that it identifies those who are most likely to fall into long-term unemployment at the point of initial engagement with the service. This means we can tailor our services specifically to support them.

I made tackling youth unemployment a priority of Ireland's EU Presidency last year, and we achieved political agreement on the Youth Guarantee. The Youth Guarantee is about providing our young people with the opportunities they need to achieve their full potential. The central aim of the Guarantee is to ensure that young jobseekers receive a good quality offer of work, training or education within a short period of becoming unemployed.

On foot of this, in October 2013 I confirmed that Ballymun, Dublin, was selected as one of the first Youth Guarantee Schemes to proceed in the EU following funding approval by the European Commission and the Government. This scheme will guarantee access to career guidance and assistance, leading to identification of an individual career plan for the young unemployed person with follow-through to training, education, work experience or full-time employment. Lessons learned from this scheme will assist in the formation of national policy regarding the future development of Youth Guarantee Schemes across Europe.

My Department is moving through a phase of significant transformation. I wish to acknowledge and thank the staff of the Department for their hard work, dedication and commitment to ensuring that we deliver more modern, efficient and dynamic services to our customers, providing both a safety net for those who need it and a springboard back to work for jobseekers, while ensuring that taxpayers' money is responsibly spent.

Joan Burton T.D.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Last modified:22/05/2015

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