Tuesday, 9 May 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
29. Mr. D. Wallace asked the Minister for Social Welfare the changes, if any, he envisages in the role of the National Social Service Board in its move from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Welfare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8239/95]
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): I do not envisage that arrangements currently being made to give effect to the transfer of responsibility for the National Social Service  Board to my Department will affect the statutory role of that board which will continue to carry out its functions in accordance with the National Social Service Board Act, 1984.
This House will already be aware of my conviction of the need for all citizens to have access to an independent citizen's information service which would operate separately from statutory or official information providers. The programme A Government of Renewal contains a commitment to overhaul the facilities available for community information, building on the network already in existence in the voluntary and statutory sectors.
It is proposed that these facilities should be examined in consultation with the National Social Service Board which has particular experience and expertise in the field of citizen's information generally. Information on social welfare matters represents by far the single biggest item among the public services dealt with by citizens information centres.
Funds are being provided, £250,000, to assist the board to develop computerbased integrated social services information so as to enhance the value and the accessibility of that information. This information will then be available through citizens' information centres and the Department of Social Welfare information service. In addition, it will be available to the voluntary information providers.
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