9 Nov 2021, 14.00

The Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands has today, November 9th, published its final report examining the provision of Public Employment Services throughout the State. 

Public Employment Services are provided by the Department of Social Protection and the Committee’s report focuses on three services currently in operation; JobPath, the Local Employment Service, and Job Clubs.

During its examination of the issue the Committee engaged with a number of individuals and organisations including the Minister for Social Protection, the Department of Social Protection, the Irish Local Development Network, SIPTU, and Forsa.

The Committee also examined the ongoing tender process for the provision of the Regional Employment Service which is due to begin providing services in 2022 with a view of informing the tender process to achieve the most beneficial service for jobseekers in the future.

The Joint Committee has made nine recommendations in the report.

Among the recommendations are:

 - The Committee recommends that the Department of Social Protection reviews JobPath once referrals cease at the end of 2021;

 - The Committee recommends that the Local Employment Service is maintained in its current format and that the Department of Social Protection works to ensure that Local Employment Service contracts meet all legal obligations;

 -  The Committee recommends that the Job Clubs are retained in their current format;

 -  The Committee recommends that the tender process for the operation of the Regional Employment Service is paused until all concerns raised are addressed and the legal advice received by the Department of Social Protection has been published and examined by relevant stakeholders.

Speaking in advance of the publication of the report, Committee Cathaoirleach, Denis Naughten TD said: “The Committee supports the provision of employment services and is of the opinion that they are an important tool to assist those seeking work. The current contracts for existing Public Employment Service provision will expire at the end of 2021 and the Committee thought it timely to examine some of these services and the services expected to replace them.”

“This Committee has previously recommended that Local Employment Services and Job Clubs be retained in their current model due to fears that the person centred approach of these services will be replaced by programmes solely focussed on placing people in jobs rather than including personal development for the jobseeker.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that the focus must be on secure, sustainable jobs. This Committee is committed to ensuring these recommendations are implemented to ensure that employment services are designed to achieve the best possible outcome for jobseekers.”

“The Joint Committee will continue to engage with both the Minister, and the Department of Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD  and it is my intention that we will seek regular updates from the Department on the implementation of the recommendations set out in this report.”

Deputy Naughten said the Committee will will continue to engage with both the Minister for Social Protection and the Department of Social Protection on the issue and seek regular updates on the implementation of the recommendations set out in the report.   The Joint Committee will also welcome and consider further submissions from interested parties following the publication of the report. 

Notes to editor

JobPath provides employment assistance and advice to the long-term unemployed on behalf of my Department. JobPath service providers are paid based on performance and, except for the initial registration fee, payments are made only when a client has achieved sustained employment that is verified by the Department.

All jobseekers on the Live Register must be capable of; available for and actively seeking full time employment, they are also required to engage with the Department’s employment services.

All jobseekers over one year on the Live Register are eligible for selection to one of the contracted public employment services, including the JobPath employment service.

 

Read the report and its recommendations in full on the Oireachtas website. 

 

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