14 January 2015

Irish "DWP" DO have an idea if Workfare costs jobs or not

I wrote last year about the DWP having no idea if Workfare costs jobs or not and I'm interested to find that their Irish equivalents, the Department of Social Protection were somewhat more responsible. They got Indecon International Economic Consultants to do a report - and published it

The Irish scheme is called JobBridge and typically offers the unemployed a 6-9 months "internship" for which they get €50 on top of their welfare payment each week.

The report actually looked for and documented cases where the scheme could have displaced paid employment. Some snippets from the somewhat dryly named section "6.1.5 Scheme deadweight and displacement" include:
  • 6.4% (of employers) indicated that they would have taken on paid employees in the absence of the scheme
  • It is also notable that the proportion of host organisations who indicated that they would have been highly likely to have offered paid employment to JobBridge interns in the absence of the scheme rises to 10.3% among large organisations employing 250 persons or more
  • Indecon also understands, based on information supplied by the Department of Social Protection, that a total of forty cases of suspected displacement were investigated by the Department since July 2011. Following investigation, it was found that these allegations were substantiated in four distinct cases and action was taken to disqualify these companies from participating in JobBridge.
That last item is particularly impressive - the Department of Social Protection were alive to the risk, investigated, took action and allowed publication.

My original FOI showed that DWP had done nothing like this. It's possible that a second FOI request that's in progress will yield better results. Update 02 February 2015: No, it didn't :-(

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