Minister rejects request for information on fees JobPath being paid by the government after TD questions reason why thousands of job seekers referred back to the service for the second time.

‘Turas Nua and Seetec must be rubbing their hands together and laughing with glee.’

Sligo News File

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has refused to say how much the government is paying JobPath for its services.

Minister Regina Doherty, TD

However, she revealed that thousands who have completed training with the organisation have not been able to find a job.

Replying to a Dail question from Deputy John Brady, Doherty said that 193,000 engaged with JobPath since 2015 but 15,000 have had to be referred to the service for the second time.

JobPath, said Doherty supports the long-term unemployed in securing full-time paid employment with jobseekers being directed to the service using a selection process.

Those who complete a year with JobPath are referred back to an Intreo “case officer.” Intreo is yet another government paid body contracted to work with job seekers and employers. It may reselect JobPath previously trained persons to “go back on JobPath,” where they will be assigned “a personal adviser.” Adviser and jobseeker together will then prepare “a new personal progression”JobPath plan.

“The actions and tasks agreed will be based on their previous engagement, with a particular focus on the identified barriers that prevented them from moving into full-time suitable employment during the first 12-month stint.”

Doherty also confirmed that JobPath providers receive a registration fee each time they register a jobseeker for the service. The balance of their fees is paid subject to their clients achieving sustained full-time employment for at least 13 weeks.

However, the Department does not release details of fees paid to JobPath providers as these are commercially sensitive,” she said, adding “To do so would place the State at a disadvantage both in terms of the contracts currently in place and, in particular, in any procurement that may be undertaken in this area.”

Brady retorted that “Turas Nua and Seetec must be rubbing their hands together and laughing with glee.”

He said: “The Minister implied in her answer that they are getting paid a second time when people sign the personal progression plan. What is the figure for this? How much is being paid out for the 15,000 people referred for a second time?”

John Brady, TD

“What is the difference between the training in the first stint, which has not worked in finding jobs for the 15,000 people, and that in the second?” he asked

“I have spoken to many of those referred for a second time, and they say they are doing the exact same a second time around, namely learning how to write a curriculum vitae and engaging in other meaningless tasks. There are being put in front of a computer and told to find themselves jobs. The service did not work the first time around, and it certainly did not work the second time around.

“Could I have the figures? The argument about commercial sensitivity does not wash. The service is costing us millions of euro. Issues are clearly arising, and I have raised them with the Minister on many occasions.”

Doherty: “The Deputy has an ideological problem with JobPath.”

“The Minister should not muddy the water between community employment and JobPath,” said Brady. “They are very different.”

“Do the State and Department have a responsibility to continue to feed agreed numbers to the two companies until the contracts with them expire? The State is running out of people to feed this monster that it has created. The Department is obliged under contract to continue to feed the two companies. That is why the 15,000 people have been referred for a second time.

“I could show the Minister dozens of cases in which people do not want to be in the service for a second time. They feel their time is being wasted by being referred for a second time. The Minister is saying people want to participate, but that is not true.”

The Central Statistics Office Live Register for October 2018 contained 199,247 people. There were 53,308 people participating in Activation Programmes in September 2018. Activation programmes are designed to support jobseekers back into employment. The number on the Live Register for the West and North West (Border) region in September 2018 was nearly 41,000.