The Future of Public Service Delivery shows reliance and disparity between voluntary and paid sector

by Rose Barrett
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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community Development and TD for Dublin West, Paul Donnelly, commented this morning on a recently released study: ‘The Future of Public Service Delivery,  by the Community and Voluntary Sector’, which has been released by TASC, in conjunction with The Wheel, the representative body for the charity sector.

Deputy Donnelly (below) noted: “The issue of funding and pay parity within the charity and voluntary sector has been ongoing, especially since representatives from Sections 39, 56 and 10 organisations were excluded from the public sector pay talks.

“Charities and volunteers who work in our communities are the backbone of many frontline services including health, homelessness and addictionm, disability, family support, children and the care of older people.

“They deserve the same recognition and pay and conditions as those providing services in the private and state agencies. 

“While Fórsa and SIPTU members have voted in favour of the deal in relation to the pay agreement, this relates only to staff in community sector organisations funded by the Department of Social Protection. We need to protect services provided by the charity and voluntary sector and those who work in them, we also need to make it viable for these services to attract and retain staff in the future. “

The West Dublin TD says he fully supports the calls by TASC and The Wheel in this report to call on the Government to provide pay parity and multi-annual funding for services to ensure their vital work can continue in communities.

Catherine Kenny, CEO of Dublin Simon Community also stated that staff in the community and voluntary sector play an integral role in the provision of essential care to people with disabilities, people in homelessness, people in addiction and older people.

“They spend years training and specialising to deliver services tailored to the unique needs of the people they help. Despite the incredibly vulnerable nature of those in their care, the state does not provide community /voluntary sector staff with the same salaries, benefits, increments or pensions as their public sector counterparts for doing the same work and making the same sacrifices.

“This not only sends the message that these workers are worth less, but that the marginalised people who rely on their help to survive are worth less too.

As Dublin Simon works in the community-based sector, the organisation cannot stand over a situation which has devolved not only to the stage “where inadequate funding is compromising the high quality of care these vulnerable people deserve, but one which is pushing those who have dedicated their lives to providing this care beyond the point where they can manage to meet their own basic needs, as inflation and housing costs continue to spiral.”

Ms Kenny (above) concluded: “Together with my colleagues across the sector, I am sounding the alarm on an issue which began as an injustice but has escalated to a crisis of care. Without the necessary funding to bridge the pay gap, these vital services will continue to lose more staff, experience longer vacancies and struggle to keep their doors open; the doors which provide homes, lifelines and most importantly, hope to our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours. Without these services, those for whom we need to shout the loudest will find themselves with no voice!”

Feature photo depicts a homeless person, homelessness being one of the sectors which the voluntary and community sector mosts contribute to.

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