Written Answers. - NESF Recommendations.

Mary O'Rourke


603 Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the recommendations of the reports from the National Economic and Social Forum which he has implemented. [16988/96]

In the time available the Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible to give a detailed account of the extent to which each and every recommendation in the nine NESF reports published to date has been implemented or addressed. However, I can assure the Deputy that careful consideration is given to all reports produced by the Forum, particularly those which address issues of direct concern to my Department. The analysis and recommendations offered by the Forum obviously have an influence on our on-going strategy in the areas of promoting employment, labour market operation. service sector development etc.

However, there have been a number of significant developments to which I should draw the Deputy's attention. The Forum's report on Ending Long-Term Unemployment, together with the report of the Task Force on Long-Term Unemployment have had a key influence on my Department's recently published strategy paper on the labour market, Growing and Sharing our Employment. In particular, the strategy paper, which has full employment over time as its over-riding goal, adopted and built on the Forum's recommended objectives of employment opportunities for all who want them and the elimination of long-term unemployment. The strategies to improve employment growth and the affirmative action strategy for improved access to jobs set out in the strategy paper are consistent with and reflect the Forum's recommendations.

My Department is currently finalising proposals in the area of work sharing which I will be bringing to Cabinet shortly. These proposals draw from and develop on the work of the Forum in their ninth report on the Jobs Potential of Work Sharing.

I plan to publish a services policy statement shortly which will take into account the NESF recommendations on the development of the services sector. This policy document is currently being finalised within my Department in consultation with the industrial development agencies.

The local employment service, which has its origins in NESF Report No. 4, on Ending Long-term Unemployment, is now under way in fourteen key areas. Consideration is being given to extending the service to other areas on a phased basis.

Finally, the Deputy will of course, be aware that in its first periodic report, No. 8 — May 1995, the Forum assessed the impact of the main recommendations contained in their first five reports and declared,inter alia, that they were pleased with the Government's responses to date to their recommendations.