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Private companies getting €3,718 for every jobseeker that makes it through the State's Jobpath scheme

How much the companies got paid per person has been shrouded in secrecy since the roll out of the programme.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

PRIVATE COMPANIES ARE entitled to €3,718 for every jobseeker that gains sustained employment for one year through the JobPath scheme.  

JobPath is an employment activation service provided to people who have been on the live register for more than 12 months and are trying to secure and sustain full-time paid employment or self-employment.

Department officials told the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee today that the two private companies employed by the State, Turas Nua and Seetec, have received €75.7 million and €73.3 million respectively.

The committee was also told that about 190,000 people have gone through the scheme. 

How much the companies got paid per person has been shrouded in secrecy since the roll out of the programme. The reason cited for this was that the information was commercially sensitive due to the public procurement process.

However, the PAC was told yesterday that both companies had agreed to share the figures and place them on the public record. 

Concerns over repeat fees

Concerns have been raised about the repeat fees being paid to the companies operating  JobPath, with TheJournal.ie reporting in September that 11,000 people have been referred to the scheme for a second time having already completed the programme in full. 

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane asked for the breakdown of how much the company is awarded, depending on how successful the person is in employment.

Initial registration fees for each of the 190,000 people who have so far engaged with the JobPath scheme amounts to €311 per person. 

The companies then receive job-sustainment fees which are paid four times:

  • After 13 weeks of sustained employment, the company gets €613.
  • After 26 weeks of sustained employment, it gets another €737.
  • After the person is in employment 39 weeks, the company gets €892.
  • And after 52 weeks of employment the company gets €1,165. 

If a person makes there way through the programme to 52 weeks in work, Turas Nua or Seetec, then would receive €3,718. 

A statement from the Department of Social Protection states that JobPath is an activation service, not a placement service and the costs per participant are in the region €781.

“The performance-related fee structure set out above is based on a payment-by-results model whereby the contractors have met all initial start-up costs with a relatively small fee per person who receives the service and more substantial fees when a result is achieved,” it added. 

Staying in employment

Of the 190,000 engaged so far – 17% sourced employment which was sustained for 13 weeks, 14% for 26 weeks, 12% for 39 weeks and 9% for 52 weeks.

The Controller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy, told the committee yesterday that only 7% were still in employment after 12 months

The C&AG said that 16,000 people had dropped out of the programme, but that 16,000 were still in the process of it, with a further 69,000 in agreed Personal Progression Plans (PPP). These plans are signed up to by the jobseeker when enrolled in the scheme.

Civil servants told the committee that the scheme was value for money, as it was delivering on targets set by the Department of Social Protection. 

Raising concerns about repeat payments being made to the companies for the same person partaking in the programme for a second time, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs and Social Protection John Brady said essentially the private companies are receiving two payments of €311 for every one of the 11,000 people referred twice.

“The bottom line is JobPath has failed, it has provided 9% of those who have engaged with the scheme with a job that has been sustained for one year at an enormous cost to the taxpayer,” he said. 

He said the Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has described this scheme as the most successful job activation scheme in the history of the State.

“I think the taxpayers of Ireland who are actually paying for it would have a different view,” he added. 

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