Dole services duplicated due to sectarian divide
SECTARIAN divisions in Londonderry have resulted in the duplication of the state’s support services for the unemployed in the city.
In Londonderry and Belfast the Department of Employment and Learning’s (DEL) Employment Service has been rolled out in both Protestant and Catholic communities due to divisions.
Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry said the doubling-up only occurs in the two cities. He made the revelation in response to a query tabled by UUP MLA Michael Copeland.
He asked the Minister “for an estimate of the annual additional cost to his Department of providing its services in our divided society.”
Dr Farry said the structure of DEL’s services had been affected by the Troubles.
“The services my Department delivers and secures on behalf of the population have been and continue to be affected by the legacy of conflict and the consequences of division in Northern Ireland society.
“Arguably this impact is felt most keenly in the demand for services and is indirectly related to previous and continuing lost economic opportunities. The study undertaken indicates that there is less evidence of duplication costs, given the physical location of services,” he said.
Of three business cases surveyed by his officials evidence of duplication was found in its Employment Service, the Fair Employment Tribunal and Higher Education.
“Employment Service: With the exception of Derry and Belfast, there is little evidence of duplication of services resulting from divisions and segregation. Employment services are generally available on a cross-community basis,” Dr Farry stated.
“Fair Employment Tribunal: Duplication of activity and management has been largely eradicated in recent years. In the longer term, the question remains as to whether it is appropriate to maintain Industrial Tribunal and Fair Employment Tribunal structures which are technically separate.
“Initial findings suggest that any savings arising from a merger are likely to be small, however, given that duplication has been eliminated to a large extent,” he added.
“Higher Education: In the higher education sector, particularly with regard to initial teacher training, additional costs are incurred in maintaining existing arrangements.
“These would be avoided by a more integrated approach to teacher training. I am currently engaged with the first element of a two-stage study examining the future of the teacher training infrastructure in Northern Ireland,” he concluded.
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Weather for Londonderry
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 30 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North