Tuesday 19 September 2017

Community supports are vital, so Government's move to regionalise them would be a change for the worse

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Willie O'Dea

The Citizens Information Board, at the behest of the Government, is proposing to abolish all local Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs) centres and Citizens Information Service centres throughout the country and replace them with eight regional boards. The excuse for this radical change is that, at present, there are 93 such local boards and the cost of administration will be drastically reduced. This will release resources which will then be reallocated to improve frontline services.

The Citizens Information Board, at the behest of the Government, is proposing to abolish all local Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs) centres and Citizens Information Service centres throughout the country and replace them with eight regional boards. The excuse for this radical change is that, at present, there are 93 such local boards and the cost of administration will be drastically reduced. This will release resources which will then be reallocated to improve frontline services.

I have both consulted and been consulted by all the relevant parties involved. Volunteers who are essential to the operation of both Mabs and the Citizens Information Service centres are aghast at the proposal. Those who depend on the services are unable to comprehend how such a change was ever envisaged, given that there is widespread satisfaction with how both services are operating.

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