Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Welfare Services
413. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is the community welfare officer who decides the location in which any item should be purchased following the assessment of quotations from applicants for funds; if the payment for any such items goes from the applicant or from the officer; if there is a recommendation and requirement that such items should be purchased locally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27962/21]
Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, my Department may make an Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.
ENPs for goods and services should be based on the most reasonable price at which the article or service can be obtained by the customer. In order to establish this, three quotations should be supplied from customers applying for ENPs, where this is possible.
Payment of an ENP is made to the customer to meet a particular need but can be nominated to the supplier of goods or services with the permission of the customer. The contractual relationship is, however, between the customer and the supplier, and not the Department. It is not practice for officers administering the scheme to direct customers to specific suppliers.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.