Submissions and Policy Recommendations 2014
Submission on Draft Interim Standards for New Directions, Services and Supports for People with Disabilities (October 2014)
Publication Date: October 2014
These standards arise from recommendations in the report 'New Directions, the review of HSE Day Services and Implementation Plan', which proposes that day services for adults with disabilities should take the form of individualised outcome-focussed supports and that supports available in the community will be mobilised so that people with disabilities have the widest choice and options about how to live their lives and how to spend their time. CIB has experience of the difficulties and challenges faced by people with disabilities seeking to access supports to enable them to live independently in the community through its involvement in supporting the National Advocacy Service (NAS) as well as mainstream advocacy provision in Citizens Information Services (CISs). NAS contributed to the submission drawing on its experience of working with people with disabilities in adult support services. The inclusion of advocacy in the Draft Standards explicitly acknowledges the important role of advocacy in supporting people. The provision of minimum standards is a key component in promoting equality and social inclusion. CIB in this submission identifies various factors that need to be taken into account in the implementation of these standards including the need to develop more inclusive linkages between specialist disability services and generic services.
Data-sharing between Public Service Bodies (September 2014)
Publication Date: September 2014
In a submission to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on data sharing amongst public bodies, CIB highlighted an issue that is frequently reported by users of services – specifically that of people being required to provide the same basic personal information over and over again to public service bodies, including to different sections within the same department/agency. Data sharing, as proposed, should eliminate much of the need for people using public services to provide personal details at every contact with the system which is frustrating for the citizen and unnecessarily time consuming for the public body. This submission calls for better integration of administrative processes overall and identifies factors that need to be taken into account in developing the public service data-sharing and governance initiative along with safeguards and protocols required to protect citizens rights. While such data sharing will potentially be valuable, it is important to bear in mind that integration across the public sector will continue to present significant challenges, in particular those arising from a functionally organised service delivery system.
Draft National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People (September 2014)
Publication Date: September 2014
CIB submitted a response to HIQA’s nationwide public consultation on National Standards for nursing homes and residential care settings providing services to older people. In the Submission, CIB welcomed the revised Draft National Standards as another important milestone in addressing many of the issues that have been identified over the years in relation to older persons in long-term residential care. The submission focuses on developing individual capacity and supported decision-making in residential settings, the need for more inclusive linkages with the broader community and valued social connections, individual care and support plans that include provisions for both health care, life-style and maintaining social networks as desired by the resident or, where appropriate, someone speaking on his/her behalf. The Submission also states the need for an enhanced role for independent advocates as part of an integrated residential care service.
Pre-Budget Submission 2015
Publication Date: July 2014
The CIB pre-budget submission is based on feedback from the Board’s delivery partners – the Citizens Information Services (CISs), the national Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS), the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the National Advocacy Service (NAS). This submission sets out the policy concerns and related issues identified by these services in relation to work/income, welfare, housing, health, financial inclusion and access to credit.
The increased taxes and public spending cuts implemented in recent budgets present long term uncertainty for CIS and MABS clients, many of whom are social welfare dependent. The focus of government in recent years on the issue of working age income supports and the interaction of the tax and social welfare systems to determine how best to support people through periods of involuntary unemployment and other financial crisis, is welcome.
Medical card eligibility and medical need – Submission to Expert Panel (June 2014)
Publication Date: June 2014
This submission to the Expert Group on Medical Card Eligibility and medical need acknowledges that any new framework with a focus on medical conditions as the basis of need would be a significant and important departure in terms of the approach to health care. Notwithstanding this, people on low incomes will continue to need medical cards even if they do not have chronic medical conditions. The submission identifies the psychological as well as monetary value to having access to a medical card – this may even be more important for people with chronic medical conditions or a long-term disability. The growing focus in disability services on a person-centred approach based on individual needs assessment is an important one which should be reflected in a new policy framework to introduce a needs-based Medical Card system.
Preparation of a Social Housing Strategy - Submission by the Citizens Information Board (June 2014)
Publication Date: June 2014
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) welcomes the opportunity to make a preliminary submission on the proposed Five-Year Social Housing Strategy. Such a Strategy is urgently required because of the growing number of people who cannot access suitable housing without support from the State. The CIB has over the years regularly highlighted social housing issues arising from feedback from its service delivery partners in various reports and submissions. The national network of CISs dealt with almost 58,000 housing queries from members of the public in 2013. 38% of housing enquiries related to local authority and social housing and a further 22% or 13,000 to private rented accommodation. As is widely acknowledged, since the 1990s, Ireland’s housing system has undergone significant transformation that has particularly impacted on low income households characterised by the contraction of the Local Authority social housing sector, the expansion of the private rented sector and a parallel and consequential increased reliance on this sector for social housing.
Migration Integration Strategy - Submission to the Department of Justice and Equality (May 2014)
Publication Date: May 2014
The review of migrant integration policy with the purpose of providing the basis for a new and updated overall integration strategy is welcomed by the Citizens Information Board (CIB). CIB also welcomes the establishment of the Cross Departmental Group on Integration which it is hoped will make a necessary contribution to the development and implementation of a whole of government policy geared towards the fuller integration of migrants into Irish society. This submission draws on the experiences of the national network of Citizens Information Services around the country in the provision of mainstream information services to migrants. CISs dealt with over 600,000 callers and almost a million queries from members of the public in 2013 – almost 20% of callers where nationality was recorded were non Irish nationals.
MABS Submission to the Central Bank on Additional Consumer Protection Requirements for Debt Management Firms
Publication Date: February 2014
This submission prepared by MABSndl sets out the MABS response to the Central Bank Consultation Paper on additional consumer protection measures for commercial debt management firms.
MABS Submission to the Central Bank on Additional Consumer Protection Requirements for Debt Management Firms.pdf
MABS Submission to the Central Bank on Additional Consumer Protection Requirements for Debt Management Firms.doc
Submission on Reform of the Tax Appeals System
Publication Date: January 2014
This submission addresses the issues outlined in the Reform of the Appeals System for Tax Matters published by the Department of Finance. Citizens Information Services and the national Citizens Information Phone Service deal with over 40,000 tax related queries annually. The Board considers that well-functioning appeals systems which are accessible to, and have the confidence of, the public are essential for ensuring that the rights of citizens are respected and implemented. While, ultimately, all citizens must have access to the courts to make decisions on disputes, the existence of non-judicial alternative disputes resolution mechanisms makes the resolution of disputes easier and less costly. CIB notes that the proposals for reform are broadly in line with the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in respect of the tax appeals system.