Submission on Statutory Sick Pay Consultation (December 2020)
In a response submitted to the Department of Business consultation on the development of a Statutory Sick Pay scheme in Ireland, the Citizens Information Board highlighted its previous recommendations for a statutory scheme, most recently in the 2021 Pre Budget Submission which was based on the experience of information services in supporting people access income supports while ill and those who lost work or were sick during Covid-19. The consultation was focused on the appropriate minimum rate of payment, the duration the scheme should cover, eligibility requirements, waiting days, supports for employers and reintegration programmes for people recovering from illness. Issues were raised on the extent of SSP coverage, e.g., whether and how agency workers, casual workers, people working from home and self-employed people would be included as well as those on atypical work contracts and the need for an evaluation of the costs that a statutory scheme would place on employers, particularly micro, and small enterprises as well as the level of State supports required to make the statutory scheme operable.
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Strategy (November 2020)
The Submission identified principles which should underpin the Strategy of the reconfigured Department, as it takes on a lead role in cross-Government policy development relating to children and young people, equality, disability and integration which will require the Department to adopt a strong integrative role across a wide range of policy domains. This includes the need to address child and family poverty, to deliver specifically on the European Pillar of Social Rights and also to give a stronger voice in decision-making structures to children and young people, people with disabilities, lone parents with child-care responsibilities and ethnic minorities. CIB has in various submissions over the years regularly highlighted issues in relation to children and young people, people with disabilities, migrants and Travellers and other ethnic minorities.
Social Protection Strategy (October 2020)
The CIB submission to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) on the development of a new Strategy focused not only on income supports, but also on ensuring that the risks of people falling into poverty are minimised. The Submission noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the vital role the State plays in providing basic services for its citizens and the importance of a strong welfare state for everyone in society. The submission made recommendations around the provision of adequate, and well-designed, social welfare interventions and the provision of safety net supports (and exceptional needs payments) for those impacted by a sudden loss of income. The submission also noted that while online and digital services have much merit as an alternative way of accessing information, personal records and making applications for services and benefits, this means of access should not be the only one.
Department of Rural and Community Development Strategy (October 2020)
Given the broad range of existing policy ambitions within this area, such as Action Plan for Rural Development the CIB submission noted that the new strategy needs to consolidate and enhance a number of these approaches and initiatives which have been to the forefront of policy on local development over a number of years. The submission makes particular reference to encouraging local communities to develop integrated ‘bottom-up’ approaches and also building community capacity by encouraging the development of untapped potential within communities. During the pandemic, the public health and economic shocks brought into sharp focus the important role of local communities in their own development. In order to mitigate adverse economic shocks into the future, there will need to be a strong strategic focus on building sustainable communities.
CIB Pre Budget Submission - September 2020
This year's Pre-Budget Submission, Leaving Nobody Behind: Protecting Citizens' Rights and Entitlements Post COVID-19 covers a wide range of issues informed by pre- and post-COVID-19 concerns raised by citizens in their queries to CIB delivery services. Policy issues identified by frontline staff during the course of processing queries and related case work provide an evidence base for the submission, which focuses on critical policy areas around alleviating poverty and helping people return to work. MABS concerns and recommendations relating to debt resolution, combating arrears and financial exclusion, drawing on lessons from the previous financial crisis are also addressed in the submission.
Remote Working (August 2020)
This CIB submission on the issue of guidance for employers and employees on remote working noted that the practices put in place during the pandemic will not be sufficient as home working (either full-time or part-time) becomes the norm for many employees. Given that much of the employment-related queries presented to CISs focus on employment rights and enforcement, the submission also emphasised that employment rights in general for all workers need to keep pace with atypical and different ways of working (including short-term and flexible work contracts) which are likely to be strongly replicated in the context of home working. While guidance for employers and employees on remote working is necessary, it will not deal with the need to ensure that employment protection legislation and related enforcement mechanisms are fully fit for purpose in the largely unexplored area of high numbers of people working from home.
CIB Submission to Oireachtas Committee on COVID-19 Response
Publication date: July 2020
This Submission by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) to the Special Oireachtas Committee on COVID-19 Response describes the range of initiatives taken by the Board and CIB supported services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also identifies COVID-19 related matters that were raised by citizens in their queries to and contact with these services as well as issues relating to health and social care provision post Covid.
A Regulatory Framework for Adult Safeguarding
Publication date: May 2020
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) welcomed the opportunity to respond to this consultation by the Law Reform Commission on its Issues Paper, A Regulatory Framework for Adult Safeguarding. The Issues Paper, sets out the range of concerns that the Commission considered arise in the context of the reform of the statutory framework for the safeguarding of adults. Significant issues relating to adult safeguarding, particularly in residential and congregated settings emerged during the COVID-19 crisis, which underpin the need for a reformed framework.
National Minimum Wage NMW
Publication date: March 2020
This submission, in response to the Low Pay Commission’s consultation has a particular resonance in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, which has seen the State intervene to bolster cliff-edge drops in income from employment for over a million workers. CISs deal with many queries from low income workers who have to supplement low pay with welfare supports. The CIB submission was based on the experience and feedback received from services on issues relating to particular clients who seek assistance with employment-related queries (this figure stood at over 70,000 queries in 2019) and focused on in-work poverty, the living wage and the role of work income in alleviating poverty.
Publication date: March 2020
CIB made a submission to this Citizens Assembly consultation drawing on the feedback received from CIB delivery services on the broad range of issues relating to gender inequality, with a particular focus on work and caring responsibilities.. Feedback from CIB delivery services -- Citizens Information Services (CISs) the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) and MABS points to the significant challenge many parents with children, particularly lone parents, face in taking up employment because of the poor availability and cost of child care. The current situation with the COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp focus the key role that childcare plays in facilitating people to work.
Submission on National Volunteering Strategy
Publication date: January 2020
CIB, having made a response last year to the initial development of the strategy, broadly welcomed the range of proposals as laid out in the Department of Rural and Community Development’s published draft Strategy - including the proposed multi-annual funding approach, public information and awareness programmes and plans for a National Survey on Volunteering. The CIB submission reiterated the need for more of a focus on key areas – the initiation of a Government-wide, integrated response to developing and enhancing volunteering as a core component of active citizenship and the ongoing requirement for a cross-departmental approach to the funding of services and initiatives where there is a strong volunteer component at either management or service delivery level. It also highlighted the need to locate the Volunteering Strategy firmly within the social inclusion context.