Wednesday 26 July 2017

Private contractors will be hired to help jobless

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

PRIVATE contractors will be hired to help get the long-term unemployed back to work in a radical shake-up of jobseeker services.

The new private operators will be up and running by October, according to the leaked European Commission 'Winter Review'. Services will be targeted at the people who have been out of work longest, with one-on-one support on how best to access jobs or training.

The plans are well advanced, with contracts for the work expected to be ready by the end of March.

They will be awarded based on a tender process, which should be as competitive as possible, the review said.

Payment will be based on results and providers that are not up to scratch should be sacked, the report said.

The initiative comes with unemployment at 14.6pc and officials from the commission warning that the Government is not doing enough to get people back to work. "Active engagement of the unemployed has improved but remains insufficient," the review said.

That's despite the fact that Joan Burton's Department of Social Protection only launched its new Intreo service replacing FAS last October. The new agency is getting some help to people currently losing their jobs but there is a huge backlog that cannot be tackled with the current resources, according to the latest report.

The long-term unemployed "risk complete marginalisation" if action is not taken quickly, it said.

That's where new, low-cost private companies will come in, the commission said.

The review also admits that labour reforms under the EU/IMF bailout failed to deliver jobs.

Ultimately, higher growth is needed to get people working, the report said.

Maeve dineen, Business - Page 39

Irish Independent

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