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Employment Support Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (42)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

42. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will take on board concerns expressed by stakeholders in relation to the proposed reform of local employment services and review her plans in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57971/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

My Department is now at an advanced stage in its first phase of procuring new employment services. This phase involves the procurement of regional employment services for seven counties in the Midlands and North-West across four lots. These counties do not have an existing local employment service and represent the first phase of an expansion of similar employment services across. The Phase Two procurement, which will see the Regional Employment Service model rolled out across the State will take on board the learnings of the first phase.

This procurement process follows extensive consultations by my Department with the existing service partners and employee representatives over the last number of years. Officials in my Department visited every Local Employment Service and Job Club in 2019 to hear their views on the design of a new employment service model. Many of the suggestions made then were incorporated into the Regional Employment Service model. In addition, the external consultants engaged by the Department in late 2019 engaged with a cross-section of relevant stakeholders, including academics, before drafting their report. My officials have maintained an ongoing dialogue with the stakeholders and employee representatives. On the 9th November, my officials hosted a webinar for potential tenderers for Phase Two. Approximately 150 participants had an extensive opportunity to engage with the process. Further feedback was requested which will be considered by my Department.

The Regional Employment Service model seeks to procure across the entire State a high-quality employment services targeted at supporting those individuals who are furthest from the labour market. It requires successful tenders to submit bids that focus on the quality of their service offering, the social value of their bid and their ability to access a wide range of supports and services to address the barriers to progression their clients may face.

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