Submissions and Policy Recommendations 2016

Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme

Publication Date: November 2016

CIB welcomes the opportunity to make a submission with MABS to the Review of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme. The Board funds and supports MABS and has been given responsibility for Abhaile, part of the new Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service delivered by MABS. The submission draws on this experience of providing a dedicated mortgage arears advice service, which explores MTR Scheme as an possible option with clients facing repossession. The need to review the qualifying conditions for the scheme, and particularly the eligibility criteria for social housing generally and to streamline and simplify the MTR process are noted in the recommendations.

Mortgage to Rent Submission.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Rental Sector Strategy

Publication Date: November 2016

CIB supported services deal with a significant range of housing related queries overall, including queries in relation to the private rented sector. There were almost 60,000 housing queries to CISs last year across areas of social housing provision and renting a home in the private sector. Combined with Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment queries, housing related enquiries overall reached almost 88,000 in 2015. There are a growing number of people who seek help and support from CISs to maintain their tenancies in the face of rising rents. The submission highlights the need to address core issues relating to the rented sector that have emerged in recent years relating to the general shortage of private rental accommodation in some urban areas, related spiralling market-driven rents and the difficulties faced by low and average income households in accessing and maintaining housing tenure in the sector which for many is the only option available.

Rental Sector Strategy.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Make Work Pay - Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities

Publication Date: September 2016

The submission looked at what works best for people with disabilities when considering a return to, or taking up work, in terms of financial supports including the barriers to taking up work, the experiences of people with disabilities who are in work and the role of Intreo in supporting the needs of people with disabilities. It addressed the broad range of factors that need to be taken into account in making work pay relating to the diversity of people with disabilities, access to transport, personal assistant services, the experience of transitioning from school to work and the cost of disability.

Make Work Pay - Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy

Publication Date: September 2016

CIB has made a submission to the third phase consultation on the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2016 - 2020. This phase of the consultation set out to establish a number of key specific actions in respect of the broader objectives put forward in Phase Two of the Strategy. Five aspects of inclusion are identified in the submission, - meaningful participation, financial inclusion, cultural identity and ethnic recognition, housing and accommodation and employment. This submission noted the need for specific measures such as the proactive involvement of Travellers and Roma with local development and social inclusion programmes, the provision of a particular model of Loan Guarantee Schemes for those on low incomes, the collection of data by public services around ethnicity, the implementation of local authority caravan rental schemes nationwide and, the exploration of social enterprise models of job creation.

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Open Government Initiative

Publication Date: September 2016

The submission identified a number of key elements of Open Government including access to information, Inter-agency collaboration and building on the role of the community and voluntary sector as a bridge between the citizen and the State and suggested that the Second Action Plan should prioritise a number of specific initiatives including the implementation of the Decision-making (Capacity) Act 2015, the broadening of the ‘citizens convention’ approach to a regional level, and the reduction in the need for individual citizens and intermediaries to have to use FOI legislation to access policy-making processes and related administrative information.

Open Government Initiative.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Pre-budget Submission 2017

Publication Date: September 2016

The CIB Pre-Budget Submission 2017 ("Turning the Corner") is based on the day-to-day feedback from the Board's delivery partners – the Citizens Information Services (CISs), the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS), the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the National Advocacy Service (NAS). In focussing on the people who use these services at key life stages, the Submission sets out the policy issues that impact on families and children, people of working age, people with disabilities or illnesses (and their carers), older people, people seeking housing supports and people with unsustainable debt. The document lays out the key priority areas for action, as illustrated by the issues that are evidenced in the data from services throughout the country and goes on to make recommendations for action.

The submission notes that whilst the Irish economy makes a recovery, it is likely that the pressures being exerted by the ongoing difficulties with the housing market, and the complex interaction between the tax and social welfare system will continue to impact on the many people who seek information and advice at key transition times in their lives.

Pre-budget Submission 2017.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Social Protection Statement of Strategy 2016-2019

Publication Date: August 2016

Citizens Information Board supported delivery services act as intermediaries and brokers of information about public services to ensure that citizens are helped and supported to access supports and services. CIB, as a public body under the aegis of the Department, aims to complement the role of the Department as well as other public services by enabling people to access the benefits and services to which they are entitled. In a submission to the DSP on their statement of strategy for 2016 – 2019, CIB identified a number of areas that it felt the DSP’s strategy should focus on including ensuring that the benefits people are entitled to are available in a timely, appropriate and consistent way and reviewing the redistribution role of social transfers in order to reduce inequality for lower income and jobless households.

Social Protection Statement of Strategy 2016-2019.pdf pdf document icon .docxWord document icon

Draft information management standards for national health and social care data collections (HIQA)

Publication Date: August 2016

The Citizens Information Board responded to the recent HIQA consultation on management standards for Health and Social Care Data Collections. The HIQA draft standards provide a framework of best practice to enable national health and social care data collections collect quality data and work towards advancing improvements in health and social care information. The Standards cover a wide range of governance, organisational and administrative matters. CIB in its response to the consultation identified the challenge of implementing the standards across the board, because of the range of data management organisations involved, the different styles of reporting already in existence and the need to focus on the comparative potential of the various datasets and related data gaps.

Draft information management standards for national health and social care data collections (HIQA).pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

National Medical Card Unit Strategic Plan 2016-2018

Publication Date: April 2016

The five strategic priorities outlined in the draft National Medical Card Unit Strategic Plan -- health and wellbeing, access to health services, transparency and accountability, quality of service, and user experience were welcomed in the CIB response to this consultation. The submission draws on the experiences of the nationwide network of Citizens Information Services (CISs) and the national Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) in dealing with medical card eligibility queries from the public – these services handled over 53,000 such queries in 2015. Issues highlighted include the need to improve the user-friendly aspects of the application process, rationalisation in relation to application forms and a single, integrated process for people to apply for a Medical Card, a GP Visit Card, the Long-Term Illness Scheme, and the Drugs Payment Scheme. Other matters raised related to how the ongoing work on developing assessment tools for discretionary medical cards will feed into the NMCU Strategic Plan.

National Medical Card Unit Strategic Plan 2016-2018.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Individual Health Identifier - Privacy Impact Assessment

Publication Date: April 2016

As follow-up to the enactment of the Health Identifiers Act 2014, the HSE initiated a consultation to establish whether sufficient safeguards will be put in place to protect patients’ privacy and personal information. The Act allows for the creation and operation of a unique/individual health identifier for any person using a health or social service and it sets out what information will be captured to identify any person that is using a health or social care service in Ireland. The HSE states that the Individual Health Identifier is “a unique, non-transferable number that is assigned to all individuals using health and social care services in Ireland, which will last for their lifetime. Its purpose is to accurately identify the individual, enabling health and social care to be delivered to the right patient, in the right place and at the right time”. CIB has made a submission which focuses on the need for greater clarity about access by health and social care providers to IHI information and how this should be used and the extent to which the application of a ‘unique health identifier’ will affect in particular people with an intellectual disability, given CIB’s role in supporting the National Advocacy Service.

Individual Health Identifier - Privacy Impact Assessment.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2016 – 2010: Phase 2

Publication Date: March 2016

CIB responded to the second phase consultation on the Draft Objectives. The submission addresses the wide range of objectives included in the Strategy including measures relating to delivery of Traveller accommodation - underpinned by a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure full expenditure of funds allocated to Local Authorities for Traveller specific accommodation; reducing health inequality; improving access to mainstream financial services - such as savings and affordable credit options; and addressing incidences of discrimination through targeted interventions for Traveller and Roma communities.

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2016 – 2010: Phase 2.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Consultation on the National Minimum Wage

Publication Date: March 2016

This CIB submission to the Low Pay Commission on the review of the rate of the National Minimum Wage focuses on low income work-households, and ‘making work pay’. Ongoing consideration of NMW levels needs to factor in the respective contributions of the tax and social welfare systems and related in-work supports, (e.g., FIS) and consider how best to achieve the optimum balance between wages and these supports in combating poverty and dealing with welfare traps.

Consultation on the National Minimum Wage.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Women on low pay

Publication Date: March 2016

The underlying reasons for the preponderance of women in low paid employment and on the minimum wage are being considered in this consultation by the Low Pay Commission. The changing labour market which has resulted in a move away from more traditional work patterns has meant that there is a growing number of persons employed for less than a full week. Previous CIB Submissions have referred to the structural complexities of the social protection system and difficulties in responding to new (and often precarious) working situations which require flexible working age supports to incentivise work. This is a matter particularly relevant to women seeking to combine work with child care responsibilities. The question of the preponderance of women on minimum wage needs to be understood in the broader context of the low status and related pay afforded to services-related employment, - catering, retail, contract cleaning, leisure and social care - where women predominate.

Women on low pay.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Long-Term Care

Publication Date: February 2016

This submission to the Sage Forum on Long-Term Care details the challenges faced by older people in getting the supports they need to live at home or to move into supported housing or a nursing home. The submission is informed by feedback for Citizens Information Services (CISs) and by data from Assist Ireland, the CIB website and helpline which provides information on aids and appliances for older people and people with disabilities. In 2015 there were 355,432 unique visitors to this website. CISs dealt with almost 80,000 health service-related queries in 2015. There were also over 50,000 additional queries relating to pensions and social welfare payments for older people and 35,876 relating to carer’s. Around 13% of callers to CISs – over 60,000 people - are over 66 years. Issues raised in the submission include the availability of community care supports and home care packages; transitioning from hospital to home care with community supports, the linkages between hospitals and community health services and waiting times and funding for adaptation grants and aids and appliances.

Long-Term Care.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Commissioning social and community services

Publication Date: February 2016

CIB followed up on a call for submissions from a cross-Departmental group on the use of commissioning as a model of delivering public services. Such a model of funding aims to assess and identify the needs of a population, to pinpoint service priorities and goals, and to fund service providers that can deliver those priorities and goals in line with the identification of evidence-based evaluations. This form of funding contrasts with the traditional 'block-grant' system in Ireland, where the provision of state services to the citizen are secured through the funding of voluntary and community sector agencies, based on what an agency or a provider received historically - rather than because of the needs of the communities or end-users in question. The CIB suggests that the following questions need to be considered in any move to a commissioning model of funding: the extent to which a stronger focus on commissioning will impact on the responsibility of Government to provide health and social services; when are services best provided directly by Government and when should they be contracted out to other providers and what are the implications of a greater move towards the privatisation of health and social services as a result of commissioning?

The CIB submission was based on the consultation paper entitled "Commissioning Human, Social and Community Services" which was published in late 2015 by the four Departments involved - the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs; Environment, Community and Local Government; Health and Public Expenditure and Reform.

Commissioning social and community services.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Study on Zero Hours Contracts

Publication Date: January 2016

This submission is a response to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation consultation on the Study on the Prevalence of Zero Hour Contracts and Low Hour Contracts in the Irish Economy carried out by the University of Limerick. The distinction in the study's findings between the use of zero-hours contracts and the use of 'if and when' work offers is very important in that it may be more difficult for workers in the latter situation to know what their employment rights are and to have these enforced. CISs dealt with over 70,000 employment rights related queries in 2015. Queries on employment rights and conditions suggest that people who seek information and advice in relation to employment protection matters are generally non-unionised employees, people in low-paid jobs, and part-time workers.

Study on Zero Hours Contracts.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Consultation on the appropriateness of the sub-minima wage rates for young people

Publication Date: January 2016

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the sub-minima wage rates for young people. It has been noted that young people were amongst the groups hardest hit by the economic crisis. Difficulties being experienced by a significant section of the younger population relating to the nature and quality of jobs on offer and the type of training/education opportunities available need to be further identified and addressed.

Consultation on the appropriateness of the sub-minima wage rates for young people.pdf pdf document icon .docx Word document icon

Previous submissions