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Employment Support Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (306)

Carol Nolan

Question:

306. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will reverse the decision not to extend the contract of a club (details supplied); the reason for this decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53830/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The current contract term for Birr Job Club is from 1 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2021 at which time it shall expire. My Department has met with Birr Job Club to inform them that this contract will not be renewed beyond the end of this year, as employment services will be delivered by the new Regional Employment Service in Offaly in 2022.

My Department is now at an advanced stage in its first phase of a two-phase procurement of the rollout of a consistent and high quality range of employment services across the entire State. The expansion of changes to employment services being implemented through a two-phase procurement process has been well signposted for some years and involves implementing recommendations from the 2018 Indecon Reviews of Job Clubs and Local Employment Services, which recommended that the Department amalgamate these employment services and procure them in an open and competitive manner.

Phase one of the procurement process sees the rollout of the new Regional Employment Service which amalgamates these services in seven counties including Offaly and is the start of extending them across the State. My Department has undertaken extensive consultation with existing service providers in this regard, including prior to the Request for Tenders being published in May of this year.

Phase two of this process, to commence shortly, will see the Regional Employment Service model rolled out across the State. The possibility of retaining the current model used in both Local Employment Services and Job Clubs, which was developed a generation ago, with standalone annual contracts under a closed procurement process, was not an option.

As the new Regional Employment Service will be in operation in Offaly in January 2022 , the Department will not be offering a new contract or an extension to the current contract to the Birr Job Club as employment services will, in 2022, be provided by the Regional Employment Service across the entire county.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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