97. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to ensure the compliance of public bodies with obligations under the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015 to 2024; the sanctions available to address non-compliant and non-reporting bodies; the number of complaints made in relation to failure to comply with the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15721/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): As the Deputy will be aware, the Comprehensive Employment Strategy 2015 – 2024 is a ten-year cross-government approach that brings together actions by different departments and state agencies in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on employment of people with disabilities.
The primary purpose of the Strategy is to ensure that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to, work are supported and enabled to do so. In tandem with that, it seeks to ensure there will be joined-up services and supports at local level to support individuals on their journey into and in employment. The Strategy's six strategic priorities are:
1. Build skills, capacity and independence;
2. Provide bridges and supports into work;
3. Make work pay (the Make Work Pay Report was launched in April 2016 with many of its recommendations already being implemented);
4. Promote job retention and re-entry to work;
5. Provide coordinated and seamless support; and
6. Engage employers.
Implementation of the Strategy is monitored by a working group under the direction of an independent chairperson (Mr Fergus Finlay). This group is tasked with monitoring the progress of the six strategic priorities of the strategy, and with the assistance of representatives and stakeholders from the disability sector, ensures that each Government Department is fulfilling its obligations and meeting its targets.
I can also advise that my officials, in cooperation with the National Disability Authority, and in consultation with the Strategy implementation group, are finalising a second three year action plan under the Strategy to ensure that the progress of implementation continues.