Minister Burton officially opens Carlow Intreo Centre


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The Department of Social Protection’s Intreo Service – helping jobseekers seeking work and employers seeking workers

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D., visited Carlow today (Friday, 16th May 2014) where she officially opened Carlow Intreo Centre.

The new Intreo Centre offers a much improved service to members of the public, providing extended opening hours, improved claims processing times, Group Engagement information sessions to 125 jobseekers each week and one to one interviews with jobseekers provided by a team of eight case officers.  Jobseekers can access their income supports in the Intreo Centre on Kennedy Avenue and employment supports are provided in the nearby Intreo Activation Centre on Hanover Street.

Speaking in Carlow Intreo Centre this morning, Minister Burton said: “As Minister for Social Protection, 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. Intreo is a central element of the strategy, and represents a transformative approach to helping people get back to work, providing not just income supports but employment supports too.”

In addition to managing income and employment supports, Carlow Intreo Centre oversees a range of other supports for jobseekers living in Carlow and its environs, including 17 Community Employment Schemes, Tús and JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme as well as the Back to Education and Back to Work schemes. There are over 1,500 people in Co. Carlow currently availing of these schemes.
 
“These programmes give jobseekers a pathway back to work by providing practical work experience, training or education. The proof that these approaches are working for people in Co. Carlow is in the Live Register figures, currently 6,301 people, a decrease of 8.4% on the same period last year,” said Minister Burton.

It is intended that the full Intreo service will be delivered to all of the Department’s 63 offices nationwide by the end of 2014.

Carlow Intreo is also working with employers to help them find recruits for vacancies and providing information on the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme and JobBridge, the National Internship scheme. Earlier this year Carlow Intreo, working with Carlow Chamber of Commerce, met with over eighty local employers to outline these services to them.

In a new initiative, Minister Burton today opened and attended the inaugural meeting of the Carlow Employment Forum. The Forum which is led by the Department of Social Protection, brings together employers and other stakeholders involved in assisting jobseekers to return to work. This group will work together to ensure that all opportunities for jobs, training and education are prioritised for jobseekers in Carlow.

Minister Burton continued: “With my Department and the other relevant stakeholders working together with employers, we will be in a better position to ensure that appropriate training and education is identified for jobseekers so that they are well positioned to avail of opportunities as they arise in Carlow. There is a range of financial and other supports available to employers who recruit from the live register and we aim to heighten the awareness of these and the existence of a  talented pool of  people on the Live Register  to local employers and encourage them to work with us on a road to recovery”.

The Minister concluded by expressing her thanks to the OPW for their assistance in developing the physical infrastructure in Carlow Intreo Centre and to the staff in the Centre for the excellent service they have been providing over 36 years.

ENDS

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 (down to one day in most cases) 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 (jobsireland.ie)
    • An internship scheme - JobBridge (jobbridge.ie)
    • Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (jobsplus.ie)
    • 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:16/05/2014