Meeting the numbers: Performance politics and welfare-to-work at the street-level

The latest paper from the Governing Activation in Ireland project is now out in the Irish Journal of Sociology. The paper draws on survey research and in-depth interviews with frontline employment services staff to explore the performance management of service delivery – how it is experienced by frontline workers, and its effects on the approaches that workers take with jobseekers. You can read the paper here.

New report: lived experiences of employment services

A new research report on Lived Experiences of employment services for people who are long-term unemployed has been published. The report presents the findings of the latest wave of GAII research, which involved interviewing 35 former and current clients of JobPath and Local Employment Services about their experiences of activation and employment services. The report is available, open access, here.

Geary Institute Seminar on frontline impacts of marketisation

On Tuesday 14 September, GAII’s Michael McGann gave a public seminar to UCD’s Geary Institute for Public Policy about his research on quasi-marketisation and the street-level delivery of activation. The seminar draws together insights from the Australian experience of quasi-marketisation, as well as the latest research from the GAII project, and can be viewed on YouTube at:

Enabling role of employment guidance: a ‘work-first’ to ‘life-first’ typology

Nuala Whelan, Mary P. Murphy and Michael McGann have published a joint article from the APA PES and GAII on ‘The enabling role of employment guidance in contemporary public employment services: A work-first to life-first typology.’ The open access article is published in a special issue of the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling on ‘Decent work, inclusion and sustainability’ and can be downloaded here.

Special Issue: Ireland’s Turn Towards Activation – Ten year’s on

Michael McGann and Mary P. Murphy have co-edited a special issue of Administration, the journal of Ireland’s Institute for Public Administration, on ‘Ireland’s turn towards activation – ten year’s on’. It is the first journal issue dedicated to analysing activation and welfare refrom in Ireland. In addition to a co-authored introduction and seperate articles by Michael McGann and Mary P. Murphy, it includes contributions from by Fiona Dukelow (UCC), Philip Finn (Maynooth), Helen Johnston and Anne-Marie McGauran (National Economic and Social Council), and Nuala Whelan (Maynooth). The issue is being launched at the 2021 Leaving No One Behind Conference. It will be available from late May via Sciendo. Click here for futher details.

Workfare redux? Pandemic unemployment, labour activation and the lessons of post-crisis welfare reform in Ireland

Michael McGann, Mary P. Murphy and Nuala Whelan have published a new paper on the Covid unemployment crisis. The paper is published in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, and will appear in a forthcoming special issue on social policy resonses to Covid-19. The paper considers the implication of the current pandemic unemployment crisis for the future trajectory of welfare reform and activation in Ireland, reflecting on how the country reformed its social policies and public employment services in response to the last great recession. It develops upon the authors earlier work in The High Road Back to Work report. The paper is available, open access, from here.

Webinar on Digitalisation in Public Employment and Guidance Sdrvices

On Friday 18 September 2020, the GAII and ACA PES projects organised a webinar on the role of apps and algorithms in welfare delivery. The purpose of the conference was to understand how apps, algorithms and big data are being deployed in activation and employment guidance services and to unpack the associated challenges and opportunities for enhancing welfare delivery through digitalisation.

The seminar included a panel of presentations on international policy developments and trends, from leading international experts including Ludo Struyven, Jo Ingold, Ray Griffin and Simone Casey. This was followed later in the day by a session exporing practitioner and user experiences in using digital tools and online platforms in employment and guidance services.

Further details and video recordings of both panel presentations are availble by clicking this link.

The ‘High Road’ Back to Work: Developing a Public Employment Eco System for a Post-Covid Recovery

The Covid-related unemployment crisis has been sharp and fast, resulting in unprecedented levels of job-loss in Ireland and elsewhere. Responding to the needs of the labour force and re-igniting the economy will require a careful strategy. This zoom seminar by Dr Mary P. Murphy, Dr Nuala Whelan, and Dr Michael McGann, with disucssion from Prof Rory O’Donnell, retired Director of the National Economic and Social Council, explores the impact of the crisis on the labour force and presents research conducted at Maynooth University on how the public, private and not-for-profit sectors can be part of a post Covid ‘Back to Work’ strategy. The report, launched at the seminar, focuses on re-imagining a post-Covid Public Employment Eco System, who needs to be included in this strategy, and how it could be implemented in terms of institutions, governance, digitalisation and income supports. A video of the seminar is available via You Tube and the full report and powerpoint slides are available from Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute.

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