Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has warned the Minister and the Department for Social Protection to avoid changing the payment model for EmployAbility under the upcoming tender.
Teachta Kerrane made the call ahead of a forthcoming tender process, which is due to be published in April. The process will see EmployAbility service contracts put out to tender, in a similar way to the tendering of Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs services over the past two years.
EmployAbility services provide sustainable employment opportunities for people with a long term illness, injury or disability and support them into that employment.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“We know that Minister Humphreys intends to put EmployAbility out to tender, but the details of the tender process and any proposed changes to the current service are not yet known.
“It is crucial that the Department learn lessons from the previous tender process, which saw community based, not-for-profit employment services dismantled and the commodification of people seeking employment through the implementation of a profit-focused model.
“Sinn Féin stood against the privatisation of those employment services, and we continue to oppose a payment by results model for job activation and employment supports.
“In particular, EmployAbility services support people with longer-term illness, injury and disabilities, and it is simply not appropriate to implement a model which seeks to place them in any job role, which payment by results is all about.
“These are some of our most vulnerable citizens.
“The community-based, wrap-around services that EmployAbility provides across the State offer must be protected as part of the forthcoming tender process.
“The Minister and her Department must also ensure there is intensive engagement on any suggested changes, and that the tender when published reflects those engagements.”