Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Questions (520)

John Brady


520. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the plans in place for the JobPath scheme post 2019 in view of the fact that the report into the ongoing review of contracted public employment services to be carried out by external consultants will not be completed until early 2020; the position in this regard for referrals to JobPath post 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38478/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

JobPath is a service which supports people who are long-term unemployed to secure and sustain full time paid employment. Two companies, Seetec and Turas Nua, have been contracted by my Department to deliver the service.

The JobPath employment service commenced in 2015 and, under the terms of the contracts signed with the providers was to run for at least six years comprising two consecutive phases: phase one entailed four years’ of client referrals, while phase two entailed a ‘run off’ period during which time no additional clients were to be referred. Therefore client referrals were due to cease on 31st December 2019. The contract included an option to extend the term of referrals for a period no greater than two years.

This extension is important as it will ensure that the Government retains the necessary labour activation capacity to deal with any labour market uncertainty that arises as a result of Brexit.

In addition, it provides my Department with the opportunity review all contracted public employment services and to design and develop a comprehensive model that will incorporate various models of response and be fit for purpose for the Irish labour market from 2021 onwards.

As per the econometric review, JobPath has been and continues to be a successful service in providing a comprehensive and value for money activation service for the long-term unemployed. On this basis, my Department triggered the extension provisions of the existing contracts with the JobPath providers and secured agreement on the extension of these contracts on existing terms and conditions for a further twelve months.

This is not a renewal of the JobPath contracts but the execution of the extension clauses of the existing contracts.

In order to assist my Department in designing and developing an appropriate contracted public employment service model, external consultants are to be engaged and this procurement process is currently underway.