Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (605)

John Brady


605. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans for the future of the local employment service. [25028/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Local Employment Services and Job Clubs contracts are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they are fit-for-purpose in the context of a greatly improved Irish labour market, while providing value for money for taxpayers. Indecon, in its reviews of LES and Job Clubs published in January, recommended that my Department consider the introduction of multiannual contracts and a competitive procurement process for future provision of these services. My Department has also received legal advice to the effect that renewing the LES and Job Clubs contracts annually, without any movement towards competitive procurement is no longer legally sustainable. Accordingly, a new process for procuring contracted public employment services currently provided by the LES and Job Clubs is at present in the early stages of development. My officials are working to design and procure a new model that will balance the need for value for money for taxpayers with the importance of preserving high-quality employment advisory and counselling services. Officials will engage with and consult practitioners and stakeholders to gather their views on an appropriate tender design.

I am on the record in recognising the valuable work performed by Local Employment Services and Job Clubs and it is my view that any future tendering criteria should give due recognition to track records in delivering high quality, locally based services.