Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (85)

Bríd Smith


85. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to continue contracts with JobPath providers in view of the recent Dáil Éireann motion in relation to the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8008/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Government's position on the recent motion debated in the House on the JobPath service was clearly set out in my contribution at the time.  I note the views of the House on the matter, however, the position of the Government remains unchanged.  My Department has entered into legally binding agreements with the JobPath providers and the Government will honour these contractual commitments.

I will reiterate again that JobPath service performance recorded and published by the Department exceeds contracted target levels, that creditable large scale customer research - also published by the Department - shows very high levels of customer satisfaction and that complaint levels are very low.   

The Department also operates a robust inspection and compliance system and a detailed report from the Comptroller and Auditor General found made no recommendations in regard to how the service is governed. 

The Department will shortly publish the results of an econometric evaluation of the service which will further indicate that the outcomes for participating  jobseekers both in terms of employment and earnings are better than those of non-participants.  Compared to this body of evidence I note the criticisms of the service are based on anecdote or very small scale research which would not be considered as reliable evidence in any serious evaluation of the service.

I previously asked Deputies to forward me examples of cases that they believed substantiated the criticisms of the service.  Since the debate on the private members motion I was provided with just one example of a person who expressed dissatisfaction with the service.  This case is being reviewed but the nature of the complaint does not differ greatly from representations which are occasionally received in respect of other activation services including the Department's own Intreo service.  It is certainly not suggestive of any widespread or systemic issues with the service, over and above that that would be expected in a service that has now served over 200,000 people.

I am therefore satisfied that the proper course of action is to continue with the service in order to support long term unemployed jobseekers.