Research consistently indicates that the provision of personal case-managed employment services to jobseekers is an effective method of supporting jobseekers to secure and sustain employment, while reducing welfare costs and enhancing social value to a society. In October, I announced that my Department agreed an extension with both JobPath contractors, as well as extending the contracts of other contracted employment service providers - the local employment services and job clubs - into 2021. These extensions are required to ensure that our public employment service has the capacity to respond to the labour market fallout arising from the pandemic and can support those jobseekers who need help, support and advice. It is also to be borne in mind that referrals to contracted providers were suspended during the pandemic and this lost time and the delayed referrals now need to be made up.
The extension of the JobPath contracts provides value for money for the taxpayer.
The payment by results element of these contracts ensures that aside from a registration fee, the contractors only receive additional fees when an individual secures sustainable full-time employment lasting at least 13 weeks.
I am confident that delivering 12 months of employment service engagement for an average cost per client of €873 provides value for money and compares favourably with costs of other contracted public employment services. To put this cost into perspective, the JobPath providers must provide an engagement with every client once every 20 working days. Last year's review provided strong evidence of the benefits arising from JobPath, with individuals benefiting by 37% through increased employment outcomes and higher earnings compared with individuals who had not availed of the JobPath service.
People who are referred to one of my Department's contracted public employment services must complete this engagement with that provider for a period of 12 months or until they transition into employment.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
I should mention at this point that I have recently instructed my officials that no person should be referred to JobPath on more than two occasions. Practical steps are under way in my Department at present to implement this instruction.
JobPath is not an obstacle to filling community employment. Since June 2018, persons availing of the JobPath service may also participle on community employment, CE, or Tús schemes. This enables people engaging with JobPath to continue to receive the personalised employment counselling and job search support while availing of a Tús or CE placement, providing valuable occupational activity and work experience.
Jobseekers engaging with JobPath who opt to take up CE or Tús schemes are fully facilitated in respect of the scheduling of all meetings and activities. Community employment participants are not referred to JobPath for the duration of their placement on the scheme once the CE placement date precedes the JobPath referral.