Varadkar discusses future plans for Citizens Information Board following new appointments.

citizens information

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is meeting the CEO and Chair of the Citizens Information Board (CIB) today after appointing a number of new members to its board.

The Minister is discussing services overseen and provided by the CIB such as financial support for people relying on welfare and low incomes, and money and budgeting advice more generally including those experiencing mortgage difficulties or other financial problems.

This is the Minister’s first formal meeting with CEO Angela Black and Chair Ita Mangan. It follows his appointment of seven new members to the board:

• Joanne McCarthy, Head of Policy and Research, Disability Federation of Ireland.
• Cearbhall O’Meadhra, Chairman of CASC (Community Administration Support Centre) Bray.
• John Saunders, Director (CEO) of Shine, Supporting People Affected by Mental Ill Health and Chair of the Mental Health Commission.
• Niall Mulligan, Executive Director, HIV Ireland (formerly Dublin AIDS Alliance).
• Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
• Ian Power, Executive Director, (Ireland’s Youth Information Website) and Independent Non-Exec Director, National College of Art & Design.
• Mary Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, Caranua.

Speaking today, Minister Varadkar said: “This Government wants to ensure that our recovering economy works for everyone. We aim to achieve that by promoting an enterprise economy, making work pay, investing in public services, ensuring opportunity and a fair go for everyone.

“The Citizens Information service assists people with everyday queries about their rights and entitlements. As the country moves out of the economic crisis and back into recovery, it continues to be a vital lifeline to low income families or those on welfare, offering advice on money and household budgets, and where to seek assistance. It also plays a very important role for others having difficulties with mortgage repayments or other types of financial problems.

“I’m also delighted to welcome the new members to the Citizens Information Board, each of whom is highly qualified and will be a valuable addition to the Board.”

Further information

The Citizens Information Board is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy services to citizens on a wide range of public and social services. Its remit includes a focus on vulnerable groups, in particular people with disabilities.

State funding of €50 million has been made available to the Citizens Information Board for 2016. From this allocation €20.6 million is made available to MABS, €14.8 million to Citizens Information Services (CIS’s) and the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) and €3.9 million to advocacy services.

In recent days, the Minister made 7 new appointments to the Board on Wednesday 15 June 2016, in accordance with the arrangements for appointment to State Boards, which included a selection process conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body which supports the provision of information, advice (including money advice and budgeting) and advocacy services on a wide range of public and social services. It provides some services directly to the public through the website and a number of microsites and has a prominent link on the homepage. It also produces a range of publications and periodicals. It provides core developmental supports and directly funds and supports an extensive range of services through its delivery partners:

• 42 Citizens Information Services (CISs)
• The Citizens Information Phone Service
• 53 Money Advice and Budgeting Services
• The MABS helpline
• The National Advocacy Service (NAS) for People with Disabilities
• The Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS)

Governed by the Comhairle Act 2000, the Citizens Information Act 2007, the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008, and the Social welfare and Pensions Act 2011, the Board comes under the remit of the Department of Social Protection. The Citizens Information Board’s mandate, as defined by the Acts, is:

• to ensure that individuals have access to accurate, comprehensive and clear information relating to social services
• to assist and support individuals, in particular those with disabilities, in identifying and understanding their needs and options
• to promote greater accessibility, coordination and public awareness of social services
• to support, promote and develop the provision of information on the effectiveness of current social policy and services and to highlight issues which are of concern to users of those services
• to support the provision of, or directly provide, advocacy services for people with a disability.
• to support the provision of advice on personal debt and money management through the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Date: 20. 6. 2016