Tánaiste: New JobPath employment programme will help 115,000 jobseekers return to work


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The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has today (Monday, 13th October 2014) announced the preferred tenderers for the provision of JobPath, the Government's new employment programme.

JobPath will assist an estimated 115,000 long-term unemployed jobseekers return to work over its duration and produce significant expenditure savings.

Under JobPath, the two preferred bidders, Turas Nua Ltd and Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd, will provide additional employment services which will augment – not replace – the Department's own employment services.

Between them, the preferred bidders will provide 1,000 additional staff in approximately 100 outlets across the country to assist the long-term unemployed in finding suitable employment and training options.

The two preferred bidders were selected following a public procurement competition conducted in accordance with EU and Irish public procurement rules.

Turas Nua is a new business and is a joint venture between FRS Recruitment (a co-operative recruitment company based in Roscrea) and Working Links (a UK-based well-established provider of employment services to long-term unemployed people). Turas Nua Limited will operate in the southern half of the country including towns and cities such as Cork, Limerick, and Waterford.

Seetec is a private company delivering a wide range of employability and skills programmes across both urban and rural areas of England. Seetec will operate in the northern half of the country including towns and cities such as Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Dundalk.

Both providers will work with a range of local subcontractors, including local training companies and Local Employment Service (LES) providers, in the delivery of JobPath.

The Tánaiste said: "Through the Pathways to Work strategy, very significant progress has been made in reducing unemployment from a crisis peak of 15.1% to 11.1% now. JobPath will help increase the pace of that progress by providing 1,000 additional and specifically-trained staff to work with long-term unemployed jobseekers and help them return to work.

"In designing JobPath, the Department has taken extreme care to ensure that value for money is achieved and that problems experienced with similar programmes elsewhere are avoided. The fees structure will ensure that contractors will not be able to make a profit unless they place jobseekers into sustained employment, which will be rigorously monitored by the Department. In addition, the Department has inbuilt mechanisms to ensure that fees will be reduced if the contractors fail to meet required service quality levels for jobseekers. Importantly, contractors will not be allowed to make decisions on the welfare entitlements of jobseekers. This function will remain with the Department at all times."

Subject to successful finalisation of contracts, it is anticipated that JobPath will commence in the first half of 2015.

JobPath contracts will be for four years with an additional two-year run-out period (to cater for jobseekers who are referred towards the end of the programme). Based on expected performance levels, JobPath will cost an estimated €340 million but will provide gross benefit savings of circa €525 million.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Note for Editors

  • The aim of JobPath is to support people who are long-term unemployed and those most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed to secure and sustain paid employment.
  • JobPath will deliver intensive employment support using proven methodologies to help unemployed people compete in the jobs market and secure employment.
  • The providers expect to employ some 1,000 staff either directly, or indirectly via subcontractors, to deliver JobPath.
  • JobPath providers will fund all start-up and operating costs required to deliver the service.
  • About 100,000 jobseeker clients will be referred to JobPath per annum. Clients will be selected by the Department of Social Protection with no input by the providers. Each client will be referred to JobPath for a period of 12 months.
  • Jobseekers will retain their full social welfare payment while on JobPath.
  • Contractors will be remunerated on a 'payment by results' basis under which they will be paid for each 13 weeks of sustained employment secured for a jobseeker (up to a maximum of 52 weeks).
  • These payments are tiered so as to incentivise providers to provide a consistent level of service to all clients regardless of the nature of their barriers to employment - i.e. clients who are harder to place will attract a higher payment than those clients closer to the labour market.
  • JobPath providers will be bound under contract to achieve specified levels of employment progression performance and customer service quality (known as a "customer service guarantee"). Failure to achieve these service quality and performance targets will result in reductions in payments.
  • Fees will also be subject to automatic discounts if employment growth in the economy exceeds forecasts set out in the Government's 2013 Medium Term Economic Statement.
  • JobPath will not replace or substitute for existing capacity – it will complement and augment the Department's existing internal and contracted resources, thereby increasing the Department's capacity to assist long-term unemployed jobseekers. The Department has separately increased the number of its own staff engaged on employment service activities by approximately 300 over the past two years.
  • JobPath will not impact the current contractual arrangements with Local Employment Services and Job Clubs. In fact JobPath will provide these companies with new opportunities to grow their operations as part of the JobPath supply-chain.
  • JobPath providers may also refer jobseekers to training interventions where this assists employment prospects. They will not receive payments for training placements but the client referral period will be extended by the duration of the training placement (up to a maximum of 26 weeks extension).
  • The JobPath contract model was designed over a two-year period taking account of advice from Irish and international experts on contracting of employment services and inputs received following a number of public briefings. The model is significantly different from that used in the UK, in particular through the use of a minimum service guarantee, retention payments, customer satisfaction surveys/audits, price discounts related to general economic developments, shorter referral periods for individual clients (12 months vs 24 months), continued access to training for clients, and a shorter contract referral duration (4 years vs 7 years).

For further information, contact: Veronica Scanlan at 01–7043847 / 087 2549683.

Last modified:13/10/2014