Thomas Pringle TD

Is Fine Gael privatising future employment services in the country?

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For Priority Answer on : 04/04/2019
Question Number(s): 5 Question Reference(s): 15621/19
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Thomas Pringle T.D.
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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the timeframe for the upcoming tendering process for the future provision of employment services nationally; the reason active consideration will not be given to a public procurement process despite the success of local employment services in successfully achieving full-time employment for over 28% of referrals each year and the progression of the remaining caseload to part-time jobs and other pathways to work; the reason successful not-for-profit community holistic models are not being given an equal opportunity to tender for the services despite the problems experienced in countries adopting a privatised model; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

My Department currently uses a number of contracted models to procure public employment services to  supplement the service provided directly by its own Case Officers as part of  Intreo.  Local Employment Services, Job Clubs and the JobPath providers all provide such services under different types of contract.  LES and Job Clubs are on annual contracts, which need to be formally renewed each year.  LES and JobClub providers are paid flat fees which are not related to outcomes achieved.  The JobPath providers are engaged under a payment by results model with a four year referral commitment which concludes at the end of this year, 2019.

The Department is currently considering how the services provided will be maintained after 2019.  In addition, in line with the recommendations of the recently published Indecon Report on LES and JobClubs, it is examining the possibility of a transition to multiannual contracts under open procurement competition for these services, incorporating some element of performance based fees.  In finalising its views and developing proposals for my consideration the Department will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders to the extent that is appropriate under public procurement guidelines.

I wish to assure the Deputy that we will do all we can, within EU procurement rules,  to ensure continuity of service provision.  I am on the record in recognising the valuable work performed by Local Employment Services and Job Clubs.  Therefore while the precise format of any future contracts is not yet decided, there is no intention to exclude those with a strong track record of providing employment services from bidding for a contracted service.  Indeed, it is in everyone’s’ interests – jobseekers, service providers and the State, – to ensure, insofar as it is possible to do so, that experienced service providers with a strong community ethos continue to form a core part of our service infrastructure.

ENDS

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