‘Local Employment Services tender puts profit over people’

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the Government to remove the profit-focused approach set out in a tender for the expansion of Local Employment Services (LES).

The request for tender is open to applications for the rollout of a new model of contracted public employment service in four areas. This is the first of two tenders. The terms included in the tender have caused significant concern about the quality and future of Local Employment Services.

Deputy Kerrane said: “Having been kept in the dark about the changes to Local Employment Services for so long, we are finally seeing a Request For Tender, which encourages a ruthless shift to ‘services’ that focuses on profit over people.

“There had been much concern that the tender would threaten the community-based and not-for-profit ethos of existing services, which have been very successful and are well-regarded. The reality is much, much worse and is a serious cause for concern. The ‘payment by results’ model put forward in the tender tells us that the government are looking to implement employment services that focus on quantity over quality.

“This is not the person-centred approach so successfully fostered by the Local Employment Services, and will only result in a focus on profit-driven results, which leaves those who need these services behind. What we are seeing proposed is ‘JobPath 2.0’,” she said.