Thursday, 7 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Employment Support Services
My Department is now at an advanced stage in its first phase of a two-phase procurement of new employment services. This procurement process follows extensive consultations by my Department with the existing service providers over the last number of years.
I can assure the Deputy that no new privatisation is being undertaken In relation to employment services. No service previously undertaken by civil or public servants is being shifted to the private sector. Local Employment Services have always been contracted out services and provide employment services for those who are long term unemployed. My Department's Intreo offices will continue to engage with those unemployed for 12 months or less and, under the July Stimulus, and in line with the new Pathways to Work strategy, has been given additional resources to do so.
The Local Employment Service and Job Club contracts are annual contracts for the provision of employment services.
Since their inception and despite many changes to the contracts over the years, the contracts were awarded in a closed procurement manner each year. However, my Department’s legal obligations are that all contracted employment services must be procured in an open and competitive manner. Good governance requirements also require significant changes to be made in how the existing contracts are delivered.
To address these issues my Department has developed the Regional Employment Service model which is being implemented in a two phased procurement process. Phase two of the procurement process will take on board the learnings of the first phase. This is a significant expansion of employment services and once complete will result in State-wide coverage of high-quality regional employment services for those furthest from the labour market for the first time.