Dáil Questions: Social Protection

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Dáil Issues, Oral Questions, Social Welfare

To ask the Minister for Social Protection if he has satisfied himself with the operation of the jobpath scheme including the costs involved in the operation of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Clare Daly.

R E P L Y

The JobPath model has a number of key features which enables my Department to monitor the service provider’s performance and ensure contract compliance. 

Every participant is provided with a service guarantee – a baseline level of service covering frequency of engagement, personal progression planning, geographic accessibility and in-employment support.

The service providers are subject to regular audits and inspections.  In addition my Department will commission independent customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that services are being delivered satisfactorily.

The first JobPath performance report, which includes the results of the first customer satisfaction survey, was published earlier this year and is available on the department’s website.

Regular on-site checks and inspections are carried out to ensure that JobPath is delivered in accordance with the contract.  To date, 33 on-site inspections have been carried out at provider service delivery locations around the country, 18 to Turas Nua and 15 to Seetec locations.

The inspections monitor compliance with the service level agreement and the contract generally, including the suitability and standard of accommodation, staffing levels, customer service and customer feedback.  Inspections may be notified or un-notified and will be conducted for the duration of the JobPath contract.

In relation to the cost of the service, the service is being delivered through a payment by results model.  This is an important safeguard in itself, as the payment model is based on sustained employment outcomes benefiting individual Jobseekers.  In addition the model has been designed so that job sustainment fees are only payable were a client of the service ceases to be entitled to claim a jobseekers related payment – during the period of employment.  There is therefore an associated saving with regard to jobseeker related income supports and any employment outcomes fees paid.

Through the service jobseekers have access to a personal adviser (PA) who works with them over two phases.  During the first phase, of 12 months duration, the PA provides practical assistance in searching, preparing for, securing and sustaining employment.  The second phase starts if the jobseeker is successful in finding work.  During this phase the personal; advisor continues to work with the jobseeker for a further period of at least three months, and up to 12 months.  It will take time therefore to accumulate a sufficient number of clients (who have completed their engagement period) for complete and robust outcome data to be available: with this in mind it is intended to commence an econometric evaluation of the service at the end of 2017.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.