Tag Archives: Jobpath

From top: Heather Humphries, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection; A Request For Tenders (RFT) for employment assistance and services

William Reid writes:

The Department of Social Protection in May 2021 published a Request for Tenders (RFT) to deliver an Employment Service. This Request for Tender (RFT) document has gone under the radar within the current coalition and is entirely based on the Jobpath model, which, to date, has not been publicly evaluated. Below are some of the impacts this model will have, which the coalition TDs are heretofore unaware of.

The Department of Social Protection’s recently published requests for tenders for regional employment services in seven counties (4 lots).  It is proposed to roll out the RFT to the rest of the country in September 2021.

The proposed complex, rigid and limited ‘fee-per-jobseeker’ model creates new challenges for the jobseeker and undermines the value of existing quality work.

The model will dismantle the experience, relationships and expertise of not-for-profit companies working with local jobseekers, local Department of Social Protection (DSP) staff and local agencies, including, Education & Training Boards (ETBs), and Employers.

It is not possible to patch this ‘fee-per-jobseeker’ model up for improvement. A revised model should reflect the current best practice of a holistic service for jobseekers, provided with assurances of funding on a not-for-profit basis.

The Jobseeker is the most important person in the development of any service model. The challenges that will face the jobseeker if the current model is adopted cannot be underestimated.

The consequences for the jobseeker under the new model:

– Gaining access to the supports will become a challenge for local jobseekers. This will cause frustration and difficulties for local unemployed people who currently and historically, freely access an employment service. Jobseekers who would like to “walk in” to seek employment will need to navigate through a new red tape system to must request a referral from DSP. And this referral could then be denied due to the complex fee per person system. The new model will only accept Jobseekers who are referred from DSP

– The Department will make the decision on whether to authorise such a referral…… no progression fee will be paid in respect of any other jobseekers not in receipt of a social welfare payment.”

– When a jobseeker in need of assistance is reduced to being “a unit price”, this automatically moves the attention from the person to the income that the person may or may not bring. In contrast, a fair service payment, covering the costs in a not-forprofit model provides equality for all jobseekers and ensures a stable and accessibleservice for all.

– Jobseeker groups who currently access employment services, e.g. women returning to work, those under 18yo, specific cohorts of People with Disabilities, those not on the LR, are excluded from the model.

– This model only values outcomes of full time employment. Although it aims to support people who are “furthest from the labour market” it does not recognise the progression on to TUS, CE, education or a part time job as a positive outcome. Jobseekers may use these opportunities to upskill or gain experience in a new area of employment which would ultimately give them better chances of securing full time employment in the longer term. However, this is not encouraged under the current RTF.

– In the model, there is 12 months where jobseekers will not have the opportunity to access employment services for guidance and support: “..thirty-six (36) months of jobseeker referrals and a twelve (12) month run-off period inwhich no new jobseekers will be referred andServices to the existing jobseeker referrals shall be seen out“.

The consequences for the local Community under the new model:

– Existing strong inter- staff relationships with local DSP/Intreo offices, numerous local agencies, including counselling services, rehabilitation services as well as CE schemes,ETBs and Employers will be wiped out. These relationships facilitate quick responses for jobseekers who can be referred seamlessly to avail of specialist services. There appears to be no value to this work in the current model. In fact, referral systems will become more difficult and complicated for agencies and jobseekers to navigate due to the unnecessary fee per jobseeker model.

The consequences for existing staff in not for profit employment services:

– The expertise and experience these staff have, has been highly commended by jobseekers, agencies, employers and third party quality management assessors as well as independent auditors & government “think tanks”. The trained, skilled and experienced, staff who work in the not-for-profit sector seek to make a positive and progressive impact on the lives of jobseekers and to follow the respect, equality and inclusion. This group of individuals, who work to address each individual jobseeker’s needs, are now presented with insecurity and potential job losses as a consequence of the proposed model. This is a time when employment guidance staff should be recognised and valued for their flexibility and resilience. Staff have worked with huge caseloads during the recession when required (scaled up/down), including maintaining service delivery throughout the current pandemic.

– The proposed model measures and only pays for the elements that the service provider will have no control over e.g. number of referrals.

– Risks outlined in RTF – “The Department does not warrant that it will refer, nor shall there be any obligation for the Department to refer any number of jobseekers in excess of the estimated minimum number of jobseeker referrals to the Service. By submitting a Tender, Tenderers so acknowledge and agree. Tenderers should form their own judgements as to
the likely number and profile of jobseekers to be referred and of the progression to employment rates that may be achieved.”

– RFT states the following – “The Services are being procured in the context of Covid-19, which may have a significant impact on the volume of referrals into the service and may create operational risks and constraints for the successful Tenderer.”

– RFT statement – “They will need to demonstrate that they can meet the service requirements and achieve their targeted performance standards under a range of conditions, including possible significant fluctuations in demand, and this risk must be borne in mind in the all-inclusive pricing tendered.”

– Overall, this is a high risk model for a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. This risk is highlighted throughout the RFT – “The Department does not warrant that it will refer, nor shall there be any obligation for the Department to refer any number of jobseekers in excess of the minimum number of jobseeker referrals to the service”

– Trustees of a charity need to ensure that the charity is not exposed to a potential loss, this model certainly poses that financial risk.

– Furthermore, incurring losses would put all of the supports and services of a charity at risk.

– Therefore organisations with charitable status and with experienced staff could not deliver on this proposed RFT as it stands, due to the high financial risk, reduced support for local jobseekers and complex and unnecessary fee per jobseeker method of payment. Thus, this would result in the loss of essential services to vulnerable individuals and jobs within the employment guidance sector.

The RFT, as it stands, does not respect ‘ obligations to employees and employment law.

The RFT is based on a previous flawed and failed model.

William Reid is a non political advocate of equality and inclusion and a compassionate supporter of social justice. He strongly believes, the community & voluntary sector have an important role to play in contributing, influencing and delivering on government policy. Views expressed are his own.




Written questions on July 14 from Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy to Minister Humphries.

Via Oireachtas.ie

Yesterday evening.

Just before 5.30pm…

Auschwitz Memorial tweeted:

“Arbeit macht frei” was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of the Auschwitz camp. Those words became one of the icons of human hatred hate. It’s painful to see this symbol ‘interpreted’ over ‘ Cork Employment Services Office’. Please remove it.

Just before 8pm…

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection tweeted:

Dept Employment Affairs & Social Protection confirms that an extremely
offensive sign was placed on outside of Hanover Street office, in Cork by unknown persons yesterday. It was removed immediately. We very much regret that this happened. We have reported it to gardaí.


Pics: Auschwitz Memorial


This morning, PJ Coogan, of Cork’s 96FM, spoke to the two Polish men, called Chris and Piotr, who alerted the Intreo office about the sticker.

In the interview, Chris explained that he was waiting outside the office on Tuesday when he noticed the sign.

He took a picture but was too busy trying to sort out his affairs within the office that he didn’t alert anyone at the office at that point.

He said it wasn’t until he left, and had more time to think about it, that he realised how “bad” the sign was.

He and Piotr returned to the office on Wednesday and Chris spoke to the centre’s security officer and manager.

Chris said they took the mater very seriously, acted professionally and apologised.

He said within 20 minutes the sticker was taken down.

Listen back in full here

Thanks Fergal Barry




Related: Eamonn Kelly Jobpath Goodbye

From top: Independent TD Paul Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Earlier today.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dail.

Solidarity–People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy recalled the “Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All” campaign previously launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Readers will recall how at the launch of the campaign, Mr Varadkar – then Minister for Social Protection and not leader of Fine Gael – stated a range of anti-fraud and control measures in the Department of Social Protection saved taxpayers more than €500million in 2016.

The campaign was later referred to as a ‘mistake’ by the Secretary General of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection John McKeon.

Mr Murphy also spoke about JobPath.

He said since the ’employment activation programme’ was introduced in July 2015, €84million has been paid to two companies Seetec and Turas Nua.

Following on from this, Mr Varadkar spoke about welfare fraud and criticised the “hard left”, again.

Paul Murphy: “‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ you said, Taoiseach, in a campaign now universally recognised as being based on false figures which your own department questioned. You cynically used public money to enhance your appeal to Fine Gael members.

That campaign may now be largely forgotten but the agenda behind it remains. It was more than just a dog whistle campaign for votes. It was part of an ideological assault on social welfare…”

“140,000 unemployed people have been turned into opportunities for profit for private companies. In the process without significant debate the provision of social welfare has been partially privatised. I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve been through JobPath, they say they’re not given any real training, they’re just supervised while looking for jobs on a computer meaning that it’s pointless travel for many, they describe it as demeaning, as patronising, as infantalising.

“And what hangs over all of their interactions with private companies is the threat of having their social welfare cut by more than €40, leaving people to try to survive on €150, or less, a week.

Since JobPath has been introduced, the number of people who have had these so-called penalty rates applied has increased from 5,000 in 2015 to 16,000 last year. That is in one year alone. Some 6,500 JobPath participants have had their dole cut.

“On the other hand, €84 million of public money has been paid to just two companies, SeeTec and Turas Nua. They get money each time someone signs a personal progression plan and they get paid job sustainment fees.

Both SeeTec and Working Links, which is one of two companies behind Turas Nua, have been accused of fraud in the operation of similar schemes in Britain. Last October in the Dáil, Deputy Catherine Murphy raised a very serious case of fraud by SeeTec in Ireland.

All of that has been justified up until now on the false basis that the system works and gets people into employment. That has now been completely exposed by the Government’s own figures which came out three weeks ago. Only 18% of those who engage in JobPath end up in full-time employment.

“Some €84 million has been given to these private companies to get people jobs which they would have got themselves. Will the Taoiseach now read the writing on the wall for JobPath? Will he agree that the scheme needs to be scrapped and that instead of handing money over to private companies, he should invest in proper education and training and in real jobs for unemployed people?”

Leo Varadkar: “Welfare fraud is very real. And it is a real problem in this country and in every western society. Even if we take the lowest estimate of the scale of welfare fraud in this country, it is about €40 million a year. That is a lot of money in my view. Let us not forget that people who engage in welfare fraud are not the poor and vulnerable. They are people who are pretending to be poor and vulnerable. They are people who are working and claiming.

“They are people who are working, not paying their taxes on that work, and also claiming welfare at the same time. I do not believe that is defensible or acceptable. There are people who are pretending to have a disability they do not have or pretending to care for someone for whom they are not caring.

People are claiming to be somebody they are not to claim pensions for people who are long dead. It really disappoints me to hear left-wing politicians in this country constantly defending fraudsters as though they are entitled to the benefits that they are stealing. They are not — to prevent and crack down on welfare fraud in any way we can.

One only needs to look at the court reports every other day to see the detail of some of those cases and what people have been doing to defraud our system. The reason we cracked down on welfare fraud is not ideological. The reason is that fraud is wrong, whether it is tax fraud or welfare fraud, and we act against it.

“In doing so, we ensure that the welfare budget is protected for those who are entitled to it, including our pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, the unemployed, lone parents, blind people, widows and others. As a result we have been able to increase in two budgets in a row the State pension, payments to carers, payments to people with disabilities and payments to people who are unemployed. It is Government policy to crack down on welfare fraud in order to protect the welfare budget for those who need and deserve it, particularly pensioners, the disabled, carers and people who are unemployed.

I am very disappointed to hear politicians on the left continuously equivocating on this issue and not condemning welfare fraud. I note that the Deputy did not do so on this occasion. Tackling unemployment is one of the areas in which everyone acknowledges we have seen a real turnaround in recent years.

“Unemployment peaked at 15% and is now down at approximately 6%. Long-term unemployment is down to 3%. That is not just because of a recovering economy. Unlike many recoveries, we saw unemployment fall rapidly once our recovery started. That is not the norm in recoveries. There is usually a lag. The reason unemployment fell very rapidly in Ireland once the recovery started is the kind of active policies in which the Government engaged both on the enterprise and welfare sides.

Had we listened to the Deputy and had we pursued the policies which he advocated, which have been attempted in Greece, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and other countries, not only would we have mass unemployment, but we would have a mass refugee exodus from this country similar to the current exodus from Venezuela to Colombia.”

Murphy: “It is like Deputy Enda Kenny is back. The Taoiseach managed not to answer the question at all. Instead he attacked something which I did not say and then went on an ideological attack about Venezuela. I think he might have even referenced Colombia and Greece.

Varadkar: “Colombia is where the refugees are.”

Murphy:Let us go back to the question. The question is on the Government’s JobPath scheme, which has failed in its stated aim of getting jobs for people. That is what the facts now demonstrate. Only 18% of participants get jobs, which is no higher than the rate for people who do not have access to JobPath. These companies have been accused of fraud in Britain. What is the Taoiseach doing to make sure that they are not engaged in fraud here? To deal with the curveball which the Taoiseach has thrown, which is that he will stand over and double down on his rhetoric about welfare fraud, the Taoiseach gave the figure of €40 million two minutes ago, but his advertising campaign said €500 million. Which is it? Who is engaged in fraud here?

Mattie McGrath: “It is the spin machine.”

Murphy: “The Taoiseach is engaged in fraud against unemployed people and is using public money to demonise them in order to drive precarious employment. He is continuing in that same Thatcherite vein here. Will he please answer the question asked in respect of JobPath?”

Varadkar: “I said that even the lowest estimate is €40 million. I note the Deputy has not refuted that.”

Eoin Ó Broin: “What is the actual figure?”

Varadkar:The figure of €500 million was what it said on the tin, that is fraud and control. Fraud and control. They are two different things.”

Pearse Doherty:It was the Department’s Brexit bus.”


Varadkar: “On the whole issue of JobPath, we must look at the counterfactual analysis. People who are long-term unemployed can be referred down a number of different routes. They can have assistance through the Intreo service provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; they can be assisted through JobPath, which is outsourced to two companies; or they can be referred to bodies such as local employment schemes, for example. It is interesting to compare counterfactually how people perform under those different headings. There is a complaints procedure in place. If participants feel that they are not getting a proper service from JobPath, they can make a complaint directly to the company. If they are not satisfied with the response, they can go to the Department and make a complaint through its procedures.”

McGrath: “They would be wasting their time.”

Varadkar: “It is important to note how the companies are paid. They get a registration fee per client referred to them but after that they only get paid if the person gets a full-time job and sustains it. The incentive is there for the companies not just to get people into any old job, but to get them into full-time jobs which they can sustain for more than 13 weeks. The longer the person keeps that job, the more the company gets paid. Its strength is in its results. Unemployment is now falling below 6% and long-term unemployment is now below 3%.

Murphy: “The Government’s own figures dispute that.”

Varadkar:Where would we be today if the policies of the hard left had been followed in this country?”

Murphy: “We would not have vulture funds dealing with public banks.”

Varadkar:There would be mass unemployment and mass emigration.”

Previously: Populist Chancer Cheats Us All

An unemployed man explains to a Department of Social Protection deciding officer why he won’t sign up to privately-owned job schemes.

A surreptitiously-taped encounter apparently recorded at an Intreo job centre.

‘Snugnodge’ writes:

Final meeting with Intreo in job center with department of social protection and their deciding officer who are forcing citizens under duress or threat of zero income to sign contracts with private companies against their will..Make of it what you wish. Got cut off completely for nine weeks after meeting…

There you go now.

Previously: Jobpath Or Else

From top: Mountjoy Prison: Eamonn Kelly

Writer Eamonn Kelly’s investigation of job activation schemes in Ireland prompted him to look at the prospect of another foreign import: prisons for profit.

Eamonn writes:

I remarked in one of the JobPath articles that we here in Ireland enjoyed an advantage in being able to assess the effects of particular trends in Britain, with a two or three-year time lapse before they landed here.

The advantage of foresight we enjoy by looking at developments in social policy in the United States can be counted in the decades.

A story that recently emerged from New Mexico contains a salutary warning for us here in Ireland in our current blind rush into the privatization of public services.

Last week, an article about a US detention services provider called CoreCivic, (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), the second largest private prison operator in the United States, described how the company found itself short of prisoners at one its facilities in Torrance County, New Mexico, after legislative reforms began to dry up the supply of convicts coming on stream.

The company were demanding that the government come up with 300 prisoners within 60 days, or it would close the facility, resulting in 200 job losses.

The company, which has been providing prison services in the area for almost 30 years, and which has been repeatedly sued for various offences, including “sexual harassment, sexual assault, deaths, use of force, physical assaults, medical care injuries and civil rights violations,” is now essentially holding the government to ransom to provide prisoners for its private prison system.

While looking into that story, I came across this article from France, that more than concurs with the thrust of my suspicions concerning the puzzling “criminal” question that was put to Irish Jobseekers in November 2015, as reported in the Irish Sun. (I know, not exactly the paper of “record”).

I hypothesized a scenario that showed there might be a profit motive in casting the unemployed as criminal, which I explored in my article “The Investment Potential of Criminalizing the Poor.

The French article begins:

“More than a third of prisons in France are partly run by private companies. The trend towards privatizing the prison system, which began three decades ago, is gaining in momentum.

A handful of companies are capitalizing on this very lucrative market, providing services that include catering, receiving visitors, building detention facilities and organizing prison labour…”

The French, as the article shows, currently pay almost €6 billion a year to private contractors for such services.

Both Working links and Seetec have strong backgrounds in detention services, through contracts with Sodexo Justice Services, which provides prison services around the world, including the 34 French prisons mentioned in the article quoted.

Rehabilitation services was the main business of both companies awarded the JobPath contracts in Ireland, which may explain the tone and attitude of the JobPath service, where unemployed people are treated as “guilty” of being unemployed and in need of rehabilitation, in an atmosphere with more than a whiff of incarceration about it.

With all the signing in and out, the policing of time, the questioning of character and integrity, the deliberate parole officer style relationship, it is as if the main thrust of the JobPath model is in grooming Jobseekers into becoming accustomed to prison-like protocols.

This is not quite the “training” that many people might regard as being conducive to the development of grassroots entrepreneurial zeal.

An entrepreneurial spirit that might, if it were cultivated and invested in, help lift the economy with local enterprise, rather than us always having to depend solely on the Big Apple’s of the world to hire us as poor, hapless economic eejits.

Instead, we fund a system apparently deliberately designed to destroy self-motivation and personal initiative, in order to create people in need of “help” and “rehabilitation”, who can then be serviced by private corporate interests in exchange for public funds collected and set aside by the community for the provision of social protection.

The model is a kind of economic vampirism, and may, for you lit students out there, cast some light on the sudden popularity of vampires in recent decades that, as far as I can tell, appears to have originated in the US.

Could be a decent subject for a thesis: is there a relationship between the trajectory of blue-collar wage cuts and the rise in popularity of vampire fiction?

In New Mexico, a spoksperson for CoreCivic said,

“The city of Estancia and the surrounding community have been a great partner to CoreCivic for the last 27 years . . . a declining detainee population in general has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to maximize utilization of our resources.”

That quote encapsulates an aspect of the approach I remarked upon in Part Four of my JobPath series: the gaining of public approval for the private company’s operations.

Here the community are described as a “great partner” in the system. The other part of the concept, gaining the “agreement” of the subjects to participate in the system, in the case of JobPath this was acquired by coercion, as shown in Part 5 in the series, has long since evolved in the US system into simple management of prison populations, with stringent Federal legislation, such as the three strikes law, providing plenty of raw material to the private prisons system.

Ironically, it was as a result of reforms in the justice system in the Obama era, that the supply of “raw material” to the private prisons began to dry up, leaving the private company in New Mexico having to make “difficult decisions” to ensure its own economic survival.

Difficult decisions like, blackmailing Torrance County to provide them with more prisoners, threatening job losses for failure to comply.

Journalist Steven Rosenfeld writes,

“This is a perfect snapshot of what’s upside-down with privatization: the lack of economic opportunities and politicians who genuflect at providing jobs, regardless of the larger social implications, pushing law enforcement into the dirty business of ramping up arrests and convictions so private firms and shareholders can make more money.”

The town of Estancia, New Mexico, now finds itself in a dilemma. If it does not come up with 300 fresh prisoners for the private company, the company will close the facility as unprofitable.

If this happens, the town will lose 200 jobs and an estimated $700,000 annually in commerce, while the surrounding Torrance County would lose $300,000 dollars in tax revenues, and will also be left with the problem of accommodating the 700 Federal prisoners that the private facility currently caters for.

Torrance County, New Mexico, desperately needs an “investment” of 300 fresh prisoners.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer.

Pic: Rollingnews


From top: Seetac which runs Jobpath; Eamonn Kelly

In the third in a series of articles examining ’employment activation’ schemes for the unemployed in Ireland, Eamonn Kelly looks at the British company behind Jobpath.

Eamon Kelly writes:

When assessing a potential candidate for a job, as any employer will tell you, it is wise to look into their backgrounds to get a measure of the individual.

Since corporate bodies have influenced legislation to be legally regarded as individuals when it comes to being called names and so on, it is only fair that we peek into the backgrounds of Working Links (the British company behind Turas Nua) and Seetec, to see what they were getting up to before the Fine Gael/Labour coalition decided to hire them.

Seetec were the subject of a series of articles in 2014 by Private Eye, among other publications, concerning allegations of fraud, as relayed in an article in the weblog Beastrabban, referencing an article in Private Eye 30th May – 12th June 2014 issue:[1]

“Urgent questions are being asked at the Department for Work and Pensions over a failure to investigate properly allegations of fraud by Seetec, which has various DWP contracts to help jobless people find work.

“Officials assured two whistle-blowers last autumn that the department would investigate claims that Seetec had been artificially inflating the number of jobs it was finding for its disabled clients through the Work Choice Scheme – and pocketing the profits…”

The same blog source references a previous Private Eye issue which reported that Seetec were “the worst-performing of the eight Work Choice contractors” operating in Britain at the time.

A story from May 2014 in the magazine Disabled News carries a report of two whistle-blowers who alleged that Seetec were

“artificially inflating the number of jobs it said it was finding for disabled people”, had offered “clients as free labour to charities and other host organisations” and had logged “placements as ‘job outcomes’, claiming payments from the government.”.

The story goes on to say that the DWP (Department of Works and Pensions), when informed of these allegations via the Disabled News Service, launched an investigation, but did not interview the whistle-blowers, and eventually found that no fraud had taken place. The article says that the DWP were now facing accusations of a cover up.

In 2012, Wales Online reported that “A Company which holds a multi-million-pound contract with the UK Government to find jobs for unemployed people in Wales has been accused of engaging in systemic fraud by its own former chief auditor…Working Links (WL) maintained it had a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, and that all irregularities had been investigated and resolved….”

The report goes on to describe some of the evidence given to a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee by Mr Eddie Hutchinson, former head of internal audit at Working Links, the British parent company of Turas Nua.

“In June 2008 Mr Hutchinson wrote a briefing note for the company’s executive team which quantified the losses from 15 separate frauds and irregularities over the previous 15 months at around £250,000.

Mr Hutchinson is reported to have told investigating MPs:

“The common theme in relation to the DWP contracts was that all of these frauds involved the falsification of job outcome evidence to illegally claim monies from the DWP, together with the false claiming of bonus payments by staff through the company’s incentive bonus system. In my professional opinion, this type of fraudulent behaviour perpetrated by WL staff was extensive, it related to cultures that existed within a number of offices, and was also systemic throughout many areas of WL’s operations on DWP and other funding agency contracts.”

A fresh scandal followed these and related fraud revelations in the Workfare Programme when the DWP exonerated all the companies accused of fraud, including Seetec and Working Links, in what was widely regarded as a political move.

In 2012 the Guardian reported that whistle-blowers had been gagged by Tory MP’s, with the Tories claiming that all cases of fraud had occurred under the Labour Government.

Wales Online closes its report on the fraud allegations with this:

“A DWP spokesman said: ‘These allegations all relate to programmes run by the previous government. We have changed the way we run new welfare-to-work programmes to safeguard taxpayers’ money. We only pay by results and under the Work Programme, claims are verified against benefit and employment records to make sure fraudulent claims are not processed.’

Getting back to the initial idea of checking the background of prospective employees. If I can find this fairly damning material on the two companies in question, how come our government couldn’t?

We can only assume either that our Government did background checks and felt that these two dubious candidates were fine; or that they didn’t bother doing background checks, and just flung public monies out blindly, as part of a wild gesture to make it appear like they were actually taking some action on the employment creation front.

If the latter is the case, then it amounts to negligence on the part of our public representatives. A negligence which is pretty unforgivable, given that the representatives involved were charged with the task of the provision of social protection. This stands in stark contrast to their actions which seem more akin to throwing the poor to the wolves.

And if our elected representatives had dug even a little deeper, they might have found this report in the Guardian, concerning a study conducted by the British National Auditor’s Office which appears to show that employment activation, as practised by the Workfare model, isn’t working.

“An analysis by the Guardian shows that none of the 18 contractors to the flagship Work Programme have reached their target of keeping at least 5.5% of jobless people referred to a scheme job for half a year in the year until July 2012. This is despite the government having spent £435m on the scheme so far. Providers are paid for taking on a jobless person, finding them a job and then ensuring they keep it.”

Scottish MP Mhairi Black concurs with the view that there appears to be a conflict between the stated aims of the concept of employment activation, and the concept’s actual political goals.

In a Youtube video from earlier this year (2017) she claims that the benefits sanctions system in Britain costs more to administer than it actually saves, has the opposite effect of its own stated purpose, ie to create employment, and instead drives people into destitution.

She concludes that the real drive behind the system is an ideological demonisation of the poor.

A proposition that immediately brings to mind the various defamatory and insinuating comments made by our own Leo Varadkar against the poor in recent months.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer.

Previously: JobPath And Class Discrimination

Previously: Jobpath And The Reality Of Employment Activation