Thursday, 6 July 2023
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
167. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to provide an update on the tender for EmployAbility which was due to be published in April 2023; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33195/23]
My Department currently provides employment services for people with disabilities through 23 EmployAbility contracted service providers across the State. My officials are undertaking a procurement process to update current EmployAbility services in order to comply with legal advice from the Attorney General and Chief State Solicitor’s Office and to meet the Department’s objective of shifting emphasis from financial monitoring of service providers to focusing on service quality for clients.
It is not the intention of this procurement to significantly change the services currently provided to clients. The proposed new EmployAbility contract model aims to enhance the autonomy of the service providers, giving them more control over financial and staffing decisions to enable them to provide a high-quality employment service for people with disabilities.
Stakeholder engagement is a key aspect of this procurement and my officials have met with each EmployAbility service provider individually in recent months to discuss the planned procurement process. This engagement will continue until the publication of the request for tender. In addition, on 25th May I met with the Chairs of all EmployAbility companies in order to hear their views on the forthcoming process.
My Department is currently at an advanced stage in drafting a request for tender (RFT) to update the EmployAbility service, the draft RFT is being updated to reflect the feedback I received at the online engagement with EmployAbility chairs and from other stakeholders.
It is in everyone’s interests that my Department continues to provide a quality employment service for people with disabilities and my officials will continue to work with all stakeholders on the best way to achieve this while ensuring contracts are legally compliant.