How many places will be provided?

  • The Government has allocated funding to give work to 5,000 people in the community and voluntary sector in the delivery of local services.
  • Tús will be introduced immediately and rolled-out on a phased basis once preliminary preparations have been completed.

What is the aim/objective of Tús?

  • This activation initiative is for those who are unemployed and on the Live Register.  It will support the work readiness of those who participate.
  • The initiative will provide short-term quality and suitable working opportunities for people who are unemployed while at the same time carrying out beneficial work within communities, and
  • It will contribute to the management of the live register and act as a deterrent to those not eligible for welfare benefits

3. How quickly will Tús become available?

  • Our expectation is that the first placements in community organisations will be made in Quarter 1/2011.
  • It is intended that Tús will become fully operational relatively quickly and build to 5,000 placements over the course of 2011.

4. What criteria will apply to get a placement?

  • Participants will be identified by the Department of Social Protection by applying the following conditions:
    • A person must be continuously unemployed for at least 12 months and “signing” on a full-time basis, and
    • Be in receipt of a jobseekers payment from the Department of Social Protection for at least 12 months (including Jobseekers Benefit), and
    • Be in receipt of Job-Seekers Allowance.

5. How much will the Participants be paid?

  • The rate of payment will be calculated at the maximum rate of underlying Social Welfare payment being received by the participant plus a top up of €20 per week.
  • The rates of payment are as follows:
Personal Rate of Jobseekers AllowancesMax rate of €188 per week
Increase for a Qualified AdultMax rate €124.80 per week
Full rate child increase€29.80
Half-rate child increase€14.90
  • An ‘A’ PRSI contribution will be paid in respect of all Participants.

6. How many hours will Participants be required to work?

  • Participants will work 19½ per week for a maximum duration of 12 months.
  • Two persons may share a single full-time position if required and acceptable to the community organisation.
  • Work placement can spread over a full day and include weekend working arrangements.
  • There may be some degrees of flexibility in terms of the schedule of hours.

7. How long can you remain on Tús?

  • Participation is limited to one year from beginning of employment.

8. Who will administer Tús?

  • Overall responsibility for delivery of this initiative will rest with the Department of Social Protection.
  • The 52 Local Development Companies (LEADER/Partnership companies) will have local responsibility for delivering the work opportunities.
  • Údarás na Gaeltacht will deliver Tús in Gaeltacht areas.
  • Delivery will build on existing arrangements in place for the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) which is delivered by 35 Local Development Companies and Údarás since 2004 providing employment for 2,730 people.
  • Community and voluntary organisations will be canvassed by the relevant Local Development Company to provide quality work opportunities in the delivery of services.
  • In addition, a number of national, sporting, cultural and social organisations and those providing caring and disability services will be given the opportunity to participate.

9. How will places be assigned in each County?

  • The 5,000 places will be allocated based on the number of persons recorded as meeting the criteria for Tús in the area of operation of each Local Development Company and Údarás
  • The County level allocations will be made available in the coming days.

10. Will Tús cover Urban and Rural areas?

  • YES, both Urban and Rural areas will be allocated places on the basis outlined above.

11. How will a person be selected for Tús?

  • The Department of Social Protection will contact persons on the Live Register who satisfy the criteria and offer them the opportunity to be considered for local employment as opportunities arise.
  • When those indentified agree to participate, they will be referred to the Local Development Company operating in their area for interview and consideration for employment.
  • Each Local Development Company will maintain a panel from which recruitment will be made.
  • As employment opportunities arise, those on the panel will be matched with the employment and recruited.
  • Prior to being offered employment, it will necessary that a person’s general suitability for the work involved and their experience of similar work is established.  This will be done at local level by the Local Development Company and the community/voluntary organisation.
  • Garda vetting will be required for the majority of placements.

12. What kind of work do you propose carrying out?

  • It will be possible to work in delivering a very broad range of services of benefit to the community and in a variety of community settings under this initiative.
  • Each Local Development Company will play the lead-roll in identifying community organisations and work opportunities.  Work opportunities will be selected that:
    • Do not displace existing commercial activity or duplicate service provision by another agency
    • Is of sufficient quality
    • Makes a meaningful contribution within communities
    • Supports voluntary effort

13. When do you expect Tús to be rolled out?

  • Implementation will begin immediately with the first employment opportunities being offered early in 2011.
  • The number of placements will be notified to each Local Development Company and Údarás na Gaeltacht before the end of 2010.
  • Recruitment of supervisors by Local Development Companies will be authorised in early January.
  • Given their functions in respect of rural, urban and community development, enterprise and employment support, and social inclusion actions, Local Development Companies are well placed to quickly identify community organisations that will be able to provide work opportunities.
  • Full implementation will be achieved towards the end of 2011.
    • The operation of Tús will be reviewed and improved on an ongoing basis.

14. Will it be obligatory to participate if offered an opportunity?

  • Yes, it is obligatory to respond to the offer to participate made by the Department of Social Protection as all recipients of Job Seekers support must engage with the National Employment Action Plan.
  • A person in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance must be genuinely and actively seeking employment to ensure their continuing eligibility for this payment.
  • If a person refuses a work opportunity, without good cause, that person will be referred to the Department of Social Protection for follow up activity.
  • Failure to take up a work opportunity can lead to loss or reduction of social welfare benefits as provided in the Social Welfare Acts.

15. If a person does not accept a position offered by Tús and their social welfare payment is reduced/terminated, what options are open to them?

  • If a person’s social welfare payment is reduced or terminated unreasonably as a result of their refusing a place on Tús, it is open to them to appeal this decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days.
  • The Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2010 provided for sanctions, subject to commencement, in the case of unemployed persons on the Live Register unreasonably refusing to co-operate with the NEAP and/or with appropriate training, education and employment interventions.
  • The legislation is to be commenced imminently and also comprehends training, education and employment offers extended by Facilitators within the Department of Social Protection.

16. What are the benefits?

  • This will provide new short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed.
  • Participants will benefit by being involved in work.
  • Those who participate will improve their work readiness and will be able to apply their skills and learn new ones.
  • Tús will provide a new outlet for the reinvigorated processes being rolled out under the National Employment Action Plan.
  • It will support the control and management actions of the Department of Social Protection by identifying those not genuinely interested in work or those operating in the black economy.
  • It has both an urban and rural focus and is built on the proven architecture of the Rural Social Scheme.

17. Will training be provided?

  • Selection for work will be on the terms of a person’s general suitability for the work involved and their experience of similar work.
  • Job specific training will be provided as required – this will relate to the tasks to be undertaken.

18. What other opportunities will be available to the Participants?

  • Local Development Companies current provide a number of other supports for the unemployed under their rural development, social inclusion, enterprise and employment remits.  These will be made available to the Participants.
  • While on Tús, Participants will be able to consider commercial employment and will be supported to pursue these.

19. How can it be ensured that deadweight and displacement effects are minimised?

  • Local Development Companies have considerable experience in ensuring that commercial activity is not distorted.
  • A project evaluation processes covering both deadweight and displacement are already implemented by Local Development Companies as an integrated part of their work on other Government and EU supported Programmes.
  • · Local Development Companies will ensure that commercial activity is not distorted.  They have considerable experience in implementing processes to prevent displacement and minimise deadweight.
  • The Department will monitor projects supported to ensure compliance on the ground.

20. Will Participants retain their medical cards and other secondary benefits?

  • Entitlement to any of these benefits will be subject to the usual assessment processes operated by the Department of Social Protection.
  • The Health Service Executive determines matters of eligibility in respect of Medical Cards.

21. Can a Participant’s spouse participate on Tús in their place?

  • No, only the person that is deemed eligible can participate.

22. How much will be set aside for Tús?

  • An allocation of €30m will be made for 2011 to enable the phased introduction of Tús.  If Tús proves successful, the annual allocation will increase to €100m providing opportunities for up to 5,000 placements.

23. Will the RSS/CSP and CE Schemes stay the same?

  • This initiative will not impact on the Rural Social Scheme, the Community Employment or the Community Services Programme.
  • Community organisations supported by these programmes will be able to benefit from this new initiative if they have quality work opportunities to provide.

24. How can Community and Voluntary Organisations get involved?

  • Organisations interested in participating in Tús should register their interest with the Local Development Company operating in their area.
  • If an organisation is unsure of what company operates in particular areas, the Community and Enterprise section of the relevant local authority will be able to advise.

25. Will funding be provided to Community and Voluntary Organisations to support services?

  • Minor funding may be made available to local development companies for the provision of materials. However, the emphasis is on ensuring that the maximum number of people are engaged on the programme with the funds available.