The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) have called for meaningful Government engagement with stakeholders before replacing the employment service delivered by Local Employment Services (LES) & Jobs Clubs. The ILDN who represent Local Employment Service providers have reiterated their calls for the rollout of the LES model nationally as SIPTU & FÓRSA members working in Jobs Clubs and LESs embark on a National Day of Protest


Outlining ILDN concerns, Martina Earley, Chair of an ILDN special committee on the future of Local Employment Services said; “The Government have confirmed that Job Clubs and Local Employment Services will expire at the end of 2021.  This is of course a cause of great anxiety for the staff who provide these valuable services as reflected by today’s National Day of Protest. The timing of this Government decision could not be worse as Communities face into a post pandemic unemployment crisis.  This move will deprive those unemployed due to COVID, the long-term unemployed, carers, women and other cohorts removed from the jobs market of access to a walk-in, person centred, community-based employment services and all the supports that such services provides. Instead, jobseekers will be faced with a centralised profit-driven, results-based process which will not be accessible to all jobseekers.”


Commenting on the success of existing Local Employment Services, Earley continued; “Community-based Local Employment Services have supported those without work in a comprehensive, person-centred way for the past 25 years.  Research commissioned by the Department of Social Protection and carried out independently by Indecon indicated that attendance with a Local Employment Service had been beneficial to those who used the service.  Local Employment Services have also been endorsed by employers who engage with the service.”


Concluding, Martina Earley commented; “ILDN have proposed the extension of the current LES model across its 49 members in order to provide a nationwide service. Such a model would give an efficient accessible service to jobseekers as well as transparency and value for money for the taxpayer.”