Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 92 - Community employment drug rehabilitation projects [30818/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 92 - Community employment drug rehabilitation projects [30818/14]. (15 Jul 2014)

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Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that any future changes made to funding channels for the NICDATF and other community employment projects will be negotiated with staff prior to the change as the company needs to be aware of changes coming down the line, as opposed to a decision being pre-made without the projects being informed; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that NICDATF has a responsibility to report back to national and local structures but cannot do this if it is not informed of changes made; if she will confirm that NICDATF will be informed of any issues or changes made by all parties; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30818/14] 

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Department of Social Protection acts as a channel of funding (CoF) for a range of Drugs Task Force projects, as approved by the Drugs Programme Unit of the Department of Health. Under the conditions of the CoF function, it is a requirement of the Department of Health that the payments are made in line with this Department’s financial governance procedures. This includes funding, contracting and financial reporting procedures.

In January 2014, a revised system for payments was introduced by this Department, in line with standard DSP payment procedures. A three month advance is now paid to projects on receipt of the signed Memorandum of Agreement. This is designed to ease cash flow problems that can arise at the beginning of the financial year. It is also consistent with other programmes funded through the Department and ensures a regular cash flow to projects. To date, a number of meetings have taken place with the NICDATF (North Inner City Drugs and Alcohol Task Force) and their projects to clarify any issues arising from the revised payment system. There is now agreement in relation to this matter.

Overall, the Deputy should note that the Department is committed to supporting the drugs response nationally and Departmental officials communicate with projects on an ongoing basis and link with Task Forces to advance project activities at a local level. The Department will continue to engage directly with projects on these matters and in accordance with the conditions of funding as laid down by the Department of Health.

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