Ahead of the launch of a tendering process for delivery of job activation programmes, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection commissioned Indecon to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Local Employment Services. Here, editor Allen Meagher dives in to the results.

National research commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) found that the not-for-profit Local Employment Service (LES) is successful in achieving full-time employment placement for 28.8% of those referred to them annually.

The research was conducted by international economic consulting firm Indecon and was published in February.

It found a very high proportion of LES clients nationally “indicated that their attendance with a Local Employment Service had been beneficial, with 75% stating that their engagement had motivated them to find work or to undertake further education or training”.

Nationally, the service also received significant endorsement from employers, with 89% indicating that the LES had helped them to find suitable candidates for jobs. Also, 83% of employers who engaged with LES and responded to the researchers said it provided an efficient recruitment service for their organisation.

Northside Partnership was particularly pleased because the data “highlighted that the LES operated by Northside Partnership in Coolock and Kilbarrack is one of the most successful in the state, with over 40% of job-seeking participants progressing into employment in 2016”.

“As a non-profit organisation we are immensely proud of this achievement,” said the board of Northside Partnership in a statement.

National network welcomes report

The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) welcomed the findings of the Indecon report.

“Placing almost 30% of referrals into full-time employment is a significant achievement, but it must also be recognised that for many of today’s jobseekers, progression to a part-time job, internship, employment scheme or further training are valid pathways to full-time employment and career development.

“At this time of welcome falls in unemployment, there are still many who need significant support to achieve job-readiness and access the labour market. We work intensively with these people in their local community, helping them to address any barriers to employment including skills needs, mental health issues, self-esteem and personal discipline.

“The cost per full-time employment placement is €2544 and this reduces significantly when part-time positions are taken into account. The savings to the state in welfare payments as well as the transfer to the state in new tax income are considerable,” said the ILDN.

The ILDN represents Ireland’s 49 local development companies, many of which deliver the Local Employment Service on behalf of the DEASP.

The DEASP provides a nationwide Public Employment Service. It is delivered by the Department’s own Intreo service, by community-based, not-for-profit companies operating the Local Employment Service (LES) and Jobs Clubs, and by private contractors through JobPath.

Many of these public employment services (including LES and Jobs Clubs) are currently up for review ahead of renewal at the end of this year. Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD and the DEASP are in the process of designing the tender(s) for these programmes’ maintenance or replacement.

Interested in reading more about the state of Ireland’s community development sector? Check out our latest issue.

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