The country’s 60 social welfare offices will have an average of €100,000 each spent on them as they begin rebranding to reflect their multi-purpose remit and foreign-sounding new name.
The introduction of the ‘Intreo’ brand is estimated by the Department of Social Protection to cost between €6m and €7m and will be completed by Dec 2014.
The first 11 of the 60 social welfare offices country-wide had new signage erected in recent weeks at a cost of €54,615.
A spokesperson for the department said the name ‘Intreo’ was derived from both the abbreviation of the word introduction and treo — the Irish for direction.
“The name is designed to capture the support that the service provides in introducing customers to new opportunities on the pathway to work, new job opportunities, training and education opportunities, and career and personal development opportunities.
“It also captures progression and movement in the right direction through the inclusion of the Irish word treo in the name.
“The name and identity was chosen following a wide-ranging consultation process with focus groups including customer representatives, employers and staff.”
Since January, the department has taken over the employment service formerly offered by Fás with 700 employees transferring to the department.
Former HSE community welfare officers have also transferred to the department.
The spokesperson said: “The Intreo service provides a one-stop shop or single point of contact for all employment and income supports and is designed to provide a more streamlined approach to accessing the services and supports.
“Intreo offers practical, tailored employment services for both jobseekers and employers with the aim of maximising access to, and the availability of opportunities for people on the live register.”
Part of the cost of rebranding includes implementing the new identity in the 60 offices — the office design, signage, the design of customer information materials, and stationery.
The spokesperson compared the €6m to €7m estimated cost with the circa £100m (€115m) spent in Northern Ireland on their job centres and the integration of employment and payment services and costs of circa £2bn which was the comparable cost in Britain.
“It should also be noted that the provision of the integrated service and the transfer of former community welfare officers and Fás staff into new Intreo offices should see cost savings in relation to accommodation costs and leases in other locations,” the spokesperson said.
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