JobPath Programme: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy John Brady on Tuesday, 5 February 2019:
That Dáil Éireann:
notes that:
— JobPath was set up by Fine Gael and the Labour Party in July 2015, with the aim of assisting the long-term unemployed to secure and sustain employment;
— contracts to deliver JobPath on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection were signed with two private companies – Turas Nua and Seetec;
— between July 2015 and January 2019 some 205,000 people have engaged with either Turas Nua or Seetec following referral by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection;
— as of January 2019, over 21,000 people had been referred to JobPath for a second time having previously completed the scheme in full;
— as of November 2018, Turas Nua and Seetec had received €149 million of taxpayers’ money between them;
— as of November 2018, out of the 190,000 people referred to JobPath at that stage, just nine per cent (i.e. 17,100 people) had secured employment which had been sustained for at least one year, at a cost of €3,718 per person;
— where an individual is referred to JobPath for a second time, Turas Nua and Seetec received double payments; and
— JobPath has engaged with 24,185 people (as of October 2018) who are working part-time and also with people who have been referred to another job activation scheme;
further notes that:
— the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has hailed JobPath as the most successful job activation scheme in the history of the State, however, the employment outcomes for JobPath do not reflect this claim;
— other job activation schemes are suffering as a result of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s preference to refer people to JobPath over all other community-based schemes;
— referrals to the Local Employment Service are down across the State and thousands of vacancies in Community Employment schemes, which provide vital benefits to local communities, cannot be filled; and
— research recently presented to the Oireachtas Committee for Employment Affairs and Social Protection from Waterford Institute of Technology concluded that ‘they (participants) felt actively and capriciously patronised, cajoled, threatened, manipulated and bullied’; and
calls on the Government and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to:
— immediately cease all referrals to the JobPath service and end the mandatory nature of the scheme;
— end the contract with the JobPath providers as soon as possible without any extension;
— properly resource and expand existing job activation schemes which are community-based, including:
— the Local Employment Service;
— Adult Guidance Services;
— Community Employment;
— Rural Social Scheme;
— Tús; and
— Job Clubs;
— invest in the Back to Education Allowance scheme, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, and any other available training and education schemes;
— end the use of ‘payment by results’ models in job activation schemes;
— examine the significant international research on the consequences of sanctioning, including the short-term impacts, such as poverty, and the long-term impacts on health and well-being; and
— focus on an ‘individual first’ approach rather than the ‘work first’ approach pursued by JobPath, acknowledging that one size does not fit all and some jobseekers would benefit more from upskilling through apprenticeships, education, training and work experience rather than an ‘any job will do’ attitude.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after “That Dáil Éireann:” and substitute the following:
“recognises:
— the significant progress made by this Government in reducing unemployment from a peak of almost 16 per cent in 2012 to 5.3 per cent in December 2018;
— the achievements of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in moving from a passive income provider of social welfare supports for working age people to an organisation that is focused on helping and supporting unemployed people find work;
— that the use of contracted service providers such as Local Employment Services (LES), Job Club providers and JobPath alongside its own Intreo service has enabled the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to reduce the ratio of jobseekers to case officers from over 2,000:1 to international best practice ratios (120:1);
— that the JobPath service providers are focused on delivering an intensive activation service tailored to the needs of long-term unemployed jobseekers;
— that JobPath service providers are required under contract to offer jobseekers a customer service guarantee covering matters such as the allocation of a dedicated case officer, frequency of engagement with case officers, access to training in curriculum
vitae, interview and other skills, a transparent complaints process, and post employment support for a period of at least 3 months and up to 12 months following commencement of employment;
— that at the end of January 2019, 206,000 clients had commenced on JobPath and that total costs of the service at the end of January 2019 is €160 million, which represents a service delivery cost of less than €790 per person and is the lowest cost per capita of any of the State’s activation services;
— that JobPath providers receive a small registration fee in respect of any customer referred and cannot recoup their costs overall without individuals gaining and sustaining employment;
— the very low level of complaints received in respect of JobPath, with 836 complaints recorded (i.e. 0.41 per cent) of those who have engaged;
— that Jobseekers’ satisfaction with the service offered by JobPath providers, as measured in independent customer satisfaction surveys, is high, with over 6,000 customers taking part in these surveys over the past three years and with an overall satisfaction score of 4.15 out of 5;
— that employment outcomes for persons engaging with the JobPath service are ahead of target, at 25 per cent against a target of 14 per cent and as of the end of January 2019, 41,000 individuals have found full-time jobs while engaged with the JobPath service, with a further 5,000 finding part-time jobs;
— that funding and staffing levels for LES have been maintained and that the availability of JobPath has enabled the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to reduce the caseloads carried by Intreo offices and the LES so that they are in a position to provide a more intensive individual service to jobseekers;
— that immediate cancellation or suspension of the service would result in a significant 356 diminution in case officer services to unemployed jobseekers, the loss of up to 600 jobs among JobPath staff and, in the absence of due cause warranting such a
cancellation prior to 2021, could create a significant financial exposure for the State;
— that the most decisive factor in individuals improving their economic circumstances and being lifted out of poverty, is to secure employment, thereby reducing their dependency on welfare;
— that the assistance provided by activation services such as JobPath and LES is essential to assisting jobseekers make the transition into employment;
— the Government’s continued commitment to invest in education, training and employment support programmes to support people transition from welfare to employment; and
— the value of employment support services such as Tús, Rural Social Scheme and Community Employment as an important assistance to individuals and local communities, but acknowledges that these schemes, on their own do not reduce an individual’s dependency on welfare but rather supports their transition to full-time employment; and welcomes the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s commitment to continue to deliver activation services to the long-term unemployed and to explore the delivery of supports and services to other cohorts through Intreo and the continued use of contracted providers."
-(Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to amendment No. 1 to the motion re the JobPath Programme. On Tuesday, 5 February 2019, on the question, "That amendment No. 1 to the motion be agreed to," a division was claimed. In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment again put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 42; Níl, 81; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies John Brady and Denise Mitchell.
Amendment declared lost.
Motion put and agreed to.