Thursday, 22 April 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Local Employment Service
95. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the proposed changes being considered to the current funding model for the tendering process for local employment services nationwide; the timelines in place for these changes; if she has engaged with employee representatives on these proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20918/21]
My Department is currently finalising a request for tender to expand local employment services type provision to some parts of the State where no such provision currently do not exist. This RFT, which is required to comply with EU procurement rules, will have no impact on the contracts of existing providers in other areas and it is expected that the tender will prove attractive to local community-based organisations, including Local Development Companies.
In practice, the current funding approach requires a level of scrutiny of day-to-day expenditure, which places an undue administrative burden on both the employment service provider and my Department. Such an approach diverts valuable resources away from supporting clients and as such does nothing to enhance employment outcomes for the long-term unemployed. Moving to a new multi-annual funding approach, which pays for each jobseeker referred to the service, coupled with a strong emphasis on quality of service provision will provide greater flexibility to providers to support individuals who avail of their service.
My Department is investing more in our communities by expanding employment services across the State and providing more support and assistance to the long term unemployed.
Separately, the current contracts for all contracted public employment service provision expire at the end of 2021 and my Department is developing requests for tender to ensure that sufficient, high quality, employment services are procured in a manner that is compatible with procurement rules.
I and my officials have engaged repeatedly with the relevant stakeholders and will continue to do so insofar as is appropriate under procurement regulations.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.