Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Topical Issue Debate

JobPath Implementation

4:15 pm

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I will engage with the Minister on this issue. JobPath will increase the capacity of the Department to provide services to jobseekers most in need of help and it has contracted two companies to deliver the programme's services. Both companies have considerable experience in successfully delivering employment services. There are two contract areas. The roll-out of JobPath is expected to be completed in early July and, at that stage, all departmental offices will refer jobseekers to JobPath. Some 37,000 clients have been referred to the programme on a pilot basis and the experience so far has been positive. For all the positive cases, there are people who fall through the cracks and who are in dire straits. These are the cases to which the Deputy refers. There are success stories and positives, as there are under every scheme, but we must address the people who fall through the cracks because of the terms and conditions of the scheme or because they are not suited to it. I will take that up with the Minister.

Jobseekers retain their social welfare payment while on JobPath. Participation in the programme is mandatory and all decisions about client welfare entitlements are taken by departmental officials. JobPath contracts stipulate a significant number of requirements that both companies have to meet and the contracts have an inbuilt service guarantee, which means that each jobseeker will be guaranteed a baseline level of service, including frequent meetings with case officers and a transparent complaints process, etc. JobPath providers are bound under contract to achieve specified levels of employment, progression performance and customer service quality and failure to achieve these targets will affect their payments. Service quality will be reviewed by independent customer satisfaction research. This will be rolled out fully in July. There has been a pilot programme. I will take up the cases highlighted by the Deputy with the Minister to see what can be done to allow these individuals to opt for other schemes where possible.


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