More funding, more services, more staff in new improved system for local enterprise supports

Local Enterprise Offices will be up and running in April

6th February 2014

A new improved system of Local Enterprise Offices in each local authority with more funding, more staff and more services will be up and running in April, the Government announced today after a special Cabinet meeting on jobs.

Key features of the new Local Enterprise Office (LEO) system will include:

· Additional funding of €3.5million in 2014

· 170 dedicated staff across the LEOs system, supplemented by a new Graduate Recruitment Programme to take place shortly and supported by a further 40 Local Authority staff

· Additional services including a new Young Entrepreneurship Fund, Microfinance Ireland, Credit Guarantee Scheme, and access to services from Revenue and Dept Social Protection

· System will combine new supports with business services currently delivered by CEBs and those delivered by Local Authorities in a “first-stop shop” located in Local Authority offices , under overall framework set by Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Ireland

· Each LEO, embedded in a local authority, will develop a local plan for boosting enterprise, with targets including new business start-ups, business expansions and jobs created or sustained as well as wider economic impacts such as exports, mentoring, training and enterprise promotion. This represents a fundamental reform of local government so that services are delivered and decisions made closer to the people

· New training programmes for all staff in customer support, and a new customer service charter which will include targets for levels of service delivery

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs also today [Thursday] published the eighth quarterly progress report under the Action Plan for Jobs, showing that 299 out of the 333 actions committed to in the 2013 plan have been delivered. The system of public quarterly progress reports is a crucial part of the Action Plan for Jobs system – the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs holding themselves accountable in public on delivery every quarter ensures that implementation actually happens, in contrast with many high-profile plans under previous Governments.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said:

“Following Ireland’s successful exit from the bailout in December, the Government is determined that 2014 will be ‘the year for jobs’. This means a relentless drive for job creation and the continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work. Brick-by-brick we are rebuilding a competitive, enterprise and export focused economy and reforming local government so that it can become an engine of economic development. Implementation of our plan is key and I’m happy to report that 95% of the actions required under the Action Plan for Jobs during the past two years have been delivered. While positive movements in the Live Register and our international rankings as an economy are welcome, there is no more urgent task than for us as a Government than getting Ireland working and this will be the constant focus of the Year for Jobs.”

The Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD said:

As we have seen in recent weeks, the export led recovery is continuing and we are continuing to attract more inward investment with a series of very welcome job announcements. A key focus of the cabinet discussion, was how we can do more to translate that growth into more jobs in the domestic economy. The critical next step is to see growth in exports translated into more ‘downstream’ jobs, such as in construction and retail. Those sectors are particularly jobs-rich, and fit the existing skills of many people currently without work.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:

“Start-ups and small businesses are crucial to our plans for jobs and growth. 200,000 SMEs in Ireland employ more than 650,000 people in Ireland, and two thirds of all new jobs come from businesses in their first five years of existence. That is why we asked an expert group of entrepreneurs under Sean O’Sullivan to recommend actions in this area. And that is why with Minister Hogan and the Local Government system we are radically overhauling disparate system of supports for small business we inherited to provide a first-stop shop in every county where entrepreneurs and business-people can access all the Government supports they need.

“This is the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs working. Previous Governments published high-profile plans but could not or forgot to implement them. For 24 months we have held ourselves to account in public every quarter – this ensures that the things that need to get done actually get done. The cumulative effects of this are beginning to be seen, with 58,000 extra people at work in the past year. The challenge now is to press ahead with Action Plan for Jobs 2014, build on the progress we have made, and create the jobs we need”.