Submission on Pathways to Work Strategy 2020 - 2024
Publication date:September 2019
CIB responded to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection public consultation on the development of a new Pathways to Work Strategy to cover the period 2020 – 2024. The CIB submission was based on the social policy feedback submitted by services arising out of queries from people seeking to transition from welfare to work. In 2018, almost 45% of the one million queries handled by Citizens Information Services were social welfare related. Feedback from services cites ongoing difficulties in relation to the quality of employment for long-term unemployed people, the issue of suitability (and choice) of activation programmes and the inability of many qualified adults to access employment supports and activation measures.
Data from over a million queries informs CIB’s Pre-Budget Submission 2020
Publication date:September 2019
The Citizens Information Board uses insights gained from enquiries to its delivery services to illustrate the impact of government policy and its implementation on people who are trying to secure social and public services. These services dealt with over one million queries and assisted 700,000 callers to access a wide range of social, public and financial services in 2018. Data from these services indicates that many clients are trying to adapt to changing circumstances in their lives, will have experienced a financial shock or will be facing ongoing financial pressures which leave them unable to meet basic essential living costs – rent or mortgages, fuel, food, education, clothing or transport. Drawing on this evidence, the pre-budget submission ‘Meeting Basic Living Costs’ describes some of the problems experienced by callers and suggests particular policy changes that could help people in meeting the costs of living. Areas featured include: in-work welfare and income security; income gaps for people with disabilities, those experiencing illness and also carers - there were almost 120,000 queries made to Citizens Information Services in 2018 related to these payments and supports; the availability and affordability of housing - staff in information services responded to over 95,000 housing queries during 2018 and problem debt and financial inclusion.
Cost of Disability Research
Publication date: August 2019
We welcome the fact that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has commissioned this independent cost of disability research. CIB has a specific remit to provide advocacy supports for people with disabilities. In that context, CIB funds and resources the National Advocacy Service (NAS) to meet the needs of people with disabilities who are in vulnerable situations. It is internationally recognised that people with disabilities incur many extra living costs as a result of their disability and the research aims to inform policy direction in relation to the appropriate level of support required to meet these costs. This submission is intended to inform the initial planning phases of the research.
Capping the cost of licensed moneylenders
Publication date: July 2019
This submission was in response to a Department of Finance consultation on capping the cost of licensed moneylenders and other regulatory matters. The question of whether or not to introduce interest rate restrictions in the legal moneylending sector needs to be considered in the broader context of financial exclusion. The responses to the questions asked in the consultation document are prefaced with some wider observations on poverty, financial exclusion and access to affordable credit and draw on MABS experience of casework with clients with moneylending debts. Access to credit is one of the main pillars of financial inclusion and is a key enabler that allows people to, manage their consumption patterns and to cope with unplanned items of expenditure. CIB and MABS have been to the forefront in the development of the personal micro credit loan scheme through the credit union movement.
A more equitable Ireland for Travellers
Publication date: June 2019
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) in its submission to the Seanad Public Consultation identified a number of key areas that need to be addressed when looking at inequality and social exclusion among the Traveller community. These include ongoing policy implementation issues in relation to the delivery of Traveller accommodation at local authority level, the recognition of traveller ethnicity (with specific reference made to the collection of data around the use of public services), financial inclusion and the development of an innovative approach to Traveller employment and participation.
Submission on Review of Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process
Publication date: May 2019
This submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on the direct provision and international protection process was in response to the Committee seeking the views of interested parties and stakeholders regarding what can be done in the short to medium term to develop a better accommodation system for asylum seekers and a more streamlined and efficient international protection application process. The CIB submission noted that, despite a good deal of evidence from a number of different sources and reviews in recent years, significant difficulties remain for people who are living in Direct Provision and in the administration of the international protection application process.
Consultation on Draft National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022
Publication date: May 2019
This submission was in response to a Government consultation on a draft national social enterprise policy. CIB welcomes the inclusion of a social enterprise policy as part of a suite of measures for the development of the voluntary and community sector. Our submission notes the need for social enterprise policy to be located clearly within a local development framework.
Evaluation of Community Banking and Local Provision of Banking and Financial Services
Publication date: April 2019
Community Banking and the local provision of banking and Financial services (April 2019) The Citizens Information Board (CIB) in its submission to this Department of Finance commissioned evaluation highlights community banking as an initiative that can help address issues relating to financial exclusion and access to credit for small-scale local enterprises. Any new model of public banking needs to recognise low income consumers as having real potential as customers, provide low cost overdraft facilities and low cost credit for low income groups along the lines of personal microcredit scheme and ensure that there is an appropriate balance between different banking objectives that is, between the prudential side and that of consumer choice and protection. The submission also notes the value of Credit Unions in the Irish context and states that, as Credit Unions extend their role and move more in line with mainstream banks, care must be taken that they retain a focus on lower income groups.
Primary Care Reimbursement Service Strategic Plan 2019-2021
Publication date: April 2019
HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service - Strategic Plan 2019-2021 (April 2019) The main area of engagement by CIB and its delivery services with the PCRS is through its National Medical Card Unit (NMCU) and CIB has highlighted a wide variety of issues that have been identified by services and clients around medical card application processes and some aspects of eligibility. The Strategy places much emphasis on the online development of its service, especially in relation to the implementation of Slaintecare. While welcoming the benefits of online systems, CIB is of the view that there is a significant need for assisted digital channels and supports for people who do not easily have online access because of affordability issues.
National Volunteering Strategy
Publication date: February 2019
This submission to the Department of Rural and Community Development on a National Volunteering Strategy provides observations on a range of specific questions laid out in the consultation in relation to key areas: the role of volunteering and Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs) and volunteer supporting structures (including central government, local government and business,) in developing volunteering; the actions that should be included in a volunteering strategy to encourage training, development and retention of volunteers and actions to raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering, of volunteering opportunities and of the explicit participation of young people and marginalised groups in volunteering; and the need for the development of a code of conduct for volunteers (and for VIOs).