The Local Employment Services and Job Clubs contracts are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they are fit-for-purpose in the context of the Irish labour market, as well as providing value for money for taxpayers.
Indecon, in its reviews of LES and Job Clubs published last January, recommended that the Department should consider multiannual contracts and a competitive procurement model for future provision of these services. The Department has also received official legal advice that simply renewing the LES and Job Clubs contracts annually, without any effort to procure competitively is no longer sustainable or legally sound.
Accordingly a new process for procuring the public employment services currently provided by the LES and JobClubs is currently in the early stages of development.
My officials are working to design a procurement model that will balance the need for value for money for taxpayers with the importance of preserving high-quality employment advisory and counseling services. Officials will engage with and consult practitioners and stakeholders to gather their views on an appropriate tender design. I am on the record in recognising the valuable work performed by Local Employment Services and Job Clubs and it is my view that the tender criteria should give due recognition to track records in delivering high quality, locally based services.
It is in this context that the process of procuring contracted public employment services for 2020 and beyond is being progressed. While the precise format of any future contracts is still under consideration, there is no intention to exclude those with a strong track record of providing employment services from bidding for any future contracted employment service.