Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Questions (50)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

50. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has carried out an audit on the companies that have been running JobPath in advance of their contracts being reviewed for 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50369/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

JobPath is an employment activation service which supports jobseekers to secure and sustain full-time paid employment.  Following the completion of a rigorous public procurement process, two companies were selected to provide the JobPath service - Turas Nua and Seetec.

The terms of the contracts signed with the companies provide for 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.  The contract includes an option to extend the term of referrals for a period no greater than two years.

My Department monitors all aspects of the JobPath providers’ performance.  This includes operating a robust inspection system, to monitor compliance with the service level agreement and the contract, including the suitability and standard of accommodation, staffing levels, Irish language compliance, customer service and customer feedback. 

To ensure that services are being delivered satisfactorily from the customers’ perspective, my Department has commissioned regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys.  The results indicate that the experience of customers has been consistently positive.  The econometric review of JobPath undertaken by my Department in partnership with the OECD, clearly shows that JobPath participants secure more employment and also remain in employment longer than those jobseekers who secured employment without JobPath and their weekly earnings are 17% higher.  The combined effect is to improve outcomes by  37% compared to non-participants.  As the Deputy may be aware, a detailed report from the Comptroller and Auditor General made no recommendations in regard to how the service is governed and found that the JobPath service is delivering in accordance with all aspects of the contract with my Department.  

As the contracts continue to be delivered in a satisfactory manner and in recognition for the need to retain important activation capacity, particularly in the context of Brexit uncertainty, my Department extended phase one of the contracts for a further twelve months until the end of 2020, which will enable referrals to continue throughout next year.