For Oral Answer on : 24/10/2023
Question Number(s): 92 Question Reference(s): 46453/23
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the way her Department supports the National Employability Service; the outcomes of any such supports; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
My Department currently provides employment services for people with disabilities through 23 EmployAbility contracted service providers across the State. The budget allocation for 2023 provides €10.9 million to run the service.
The EmployAbility service is dedicated to improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities or with any long-term medical condition, illness or injury who wish to take up employment. Under the current contracts clients engage with the service for up to 18 months, with support provisions including both support in finding employment, as well as in-employment support once placed into a job. Engagement with the service is voluntary. Annual referrals to the EmployAbility service average at approximately 2,700 to 3,000 per annum.
My Department is currently undertaking a procurement process to update current EmployAbility services in order to comply with legal advice from the Attorney General and Chief State Solicitor’s Office and to meet the Department’s objective of shifting emphasis from financial monitoring of service providers to focusing on service quality for clients.
It is not the intention of this procurement to significantly change the services currently provided to clients, reflecting the overall effectiveness of the current service. The new EmployAbility model, which will facilitate a gradual increase in referral numbers, instead aims to enhance the autonomy of the service providers to enable them to more effectively provide a high-quality supported employment service for people with disabilities.