THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection is to begin providing supports to jobseekers today through its new service Intreo.
Born out of FÁS’s recruitment arm, the initiative aims to provide individualised services to the unemployed in order to increase their employability and get them back to work.
Intreo, which will see the transfer of 1,700 staff from the Community Welfare Service and FÁS, was launched officially this morning by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Joan Burton.
“Intreo is an important step in transforming the way income and employment supports are provided,” said Kenny. “It is a key element of the Government’s response to the employment crisis…it links the payment of income supports to the task of supporting people in their pursuit of employment and improving their life chances.”
On engaging with Intreo, clients will enter into a so-called social contract with the Department and are therefore expected to “engage fully with the services offered”.
Other key elements include an integrated ‘one-stop-shop’ reception service to simplify customer access, a single decisions process to reduce bureaucracy and speed up claims processing, an activation process to ensure all jobseekers have early access to employment services and a greater focus on employer engagement.
The service is now available in Sligo, Arklow, Tallaght and Kings Inn/Parnell Street. It is expected to launch in Ballymun, Buncrana, Dundalk, Coolock, Finglas and Killarney by the end of the year, while other areas will see it rolled out by the end of 2014.
Last year, the Government announced the disbandment of FÁS and plans for SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna), which continues many of the functions of the authority’s education and training programmes under the aegis of the Department of Education.