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Public Employment Services and

Welfare Reform at the Frontline

Ireland’s Public Employment Services (PES) are undergoing major reform. Mandatory job search requirements and other mutual obligations are being extended to more and more people, while the delivery of employment services for the long-term unemployed is being contracted-out. These reforms have been actively promoted by the OECD yet their impact on the labour market reintegration of people facing complex and challenging employment issues is unclear.

Governing activation in Ireland is a two-year research project, led by Dr Michael McGann in collaboration with Dr Mary Murphy from Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute. The project aims to provide a comparative study of Ireland’s mixed economy of activation, and the impact of recent administrative and governance reforms on the frontline delivery of employment services for people who are long-term unemployed or on benefits for an extended period.

With some PES delivered by Intreo, a government-run agency, and others contracted-out to community-run Local Employment Services and Job Clus, and to two Job Path providers under a payment-by-results model, GAII seeks to understand how the services provided by public and contracted agencies differ in practice and what impact commissioning models have on how employment services are delivered. The project focuses especially on PES for people who are long-term unemployed or who have been on income support for an extended time. These are mainly delivered by JobPath and the LES.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 841477.

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