Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Citizens Information Services

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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601. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for the Citizens Information offices in the Cork east constituency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32523/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body with responsibility for the Citizens Information Service (CIS).  CIB provides funding to eight CIS companies that operate a national network of Citizens Information Centres. 

Each CIS is a limited company overseen by a board of directors and makes decisions independently on the delivery of services in their regions.

South Munster Citizens Information Services are responsible for the delivery of services across County Cork and Kerry and have advised my Department that phone and email services are currently available in offices in the Cork East constituency.  Appointments are also offered as required, and drop-in services are currently available in a number of offices throughout the region.

South Munster is currently recruiting and training volunteers to provide cover to support the delivery of drop-in and in-person services across the region.

Each CIS company is responsible for all matters and decisions relating to its staff and operations, including how it delivers its services to citizens.

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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602. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans with respect to volunteers working in Citizens Information offices (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32524/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is a statutory independent body as set out in the Comhairle Act 2010, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection. CIB provides funding to 22 companies in order to deliver services on its behalf. This includes eight CIS companies that operate a national network of Citizens Information Centres, including South Munster CIS, which encompasses Cobh. These eight companies are fully responsible for the delivery of services and all related operational matters including office opening hours in their respective regions.

CIB and the CIS have set up a Volunteer Strategy Working Group, which is currently working on proposals regarding the future role of volunteers in the Citizens Information Services. The group will report to the CIS Employer Forum, and recommendations from the group will inform CIB and CIS of the most suitable way to re-engage volunteers to support the services and deliver information, advice, and advocacy to the public.

South Munster CIS is in the process of inviting expressions of interest from the public, for volunteers to support companies in the delivery of services. This process will determine the future role of volunteers in the CICs including Cobh CIC.

The future of the role of volunteers in the CICs including Cobh CIC is not a Ministerial decision but entirely an operational matter for CIB and its regional companies.

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