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Update of the Recommendations of the Report by Eithne Fitzgerald, Bríd Ingoldsby and
  Fiona Daly, Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin: The lessons from policy
      innovation (Dublin Employment Pact, Policy Paper No. 2), Dublin 2000.

                                         NO. 340167
                   Dublin Employment Pact, 7 Nth. Great George’s St., Dublin 1.
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Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin


               Considerable progress                                                    2
               The scale of long-term unemployment in Dublin                            2
               Obstacles to an effective solution                                       3

               A)      The Local Employment Service
                       1. Expanding the scale of the LES                                4
                       2. An integrated service                                         4
                       3. Best practice in working with employers                       4

               B)      Targeting Resources
                       1. Integrated targeting of areas of concentrated deprivation     5

               C)      Training Issues
                       1. Addressing childcare                                          6
                       2. Targeting training services to solve long-term unemployment   6

               D)      The Social Economy
                       1. Focussed work experience programmes                           7
                       2. Separating social projects and labour market progression      7
                       3. Supported employment                                          8

                       E) Accessibility of Information                                  8

       Conclusion                                                                       8

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

Considerable progress
Since the report by Eithne Fitzgerald, Bríd Ingoldsby and Fiona Daly, Solving long-
term unemployment in Dublin: The lessons from policy innovation (Dublin
Employment Pact, Policy Paper No. 2), appeared in April 2000, considerable progress
has been achieved. The clear government commitment to ending long-term
unemployment and a range of national programmes initiated by national partnership
agreements have seen a steady decline in the numbers of long-term unemployed.

However, the basic analysis of that Report remains valid and a solid basis for
perfecting the means of finally tackling the issues identified and ensuring that long-
term unemployment will not return to plague a future generation. In addition, the
method employed in the Report for quantifying the problem has still not been
adequately accepted by public agencies1 and, most absurdly, ILO-based figures
continue to be used to describe the extent of long-term unemployment. Nevertheless,
tacit acceptance of the method pioneered by the Report is now plainly obvious in the
approach being taken to tackle the issue of employability in the labour force2.

The scale of the long-term unemployment
The target group for programmes to counter unemployment in Dublin comprises up to
(30,000) people, a minority of whom are in the active job market. One of the single
largest elements of this consists of older men who dropped out of the system during
the recession of the 1980s and early 1990s, and now classified as „economically
inactive‟ rather than „long-term unemployed‟. The figure suggested above breaks
down as follows3:

       Long-term unemployed:                                          Men             Women             Total
           Long-term unemployed, on job market (ILO)
           Unemployed, not on job market (ILO)
           Lone parents seeking employment
       At risk of long-term unemployment:
           Early school-leavers
           Short-term unemployed at risk of LTU
           On job schemes with poor prospects of progression


    See for example E. Morgenroth, Analysis of the Economic, Employment and Social Profile of the Greater
    Dublin Region, Study on behalf of the DEP, DRA and MERA, Dublin, ESRI, 2001, p. 41.
    See A. Barrett, C. Whelan and J. J. Sexton “Employability” and its Relevance for the Mangement of the Live
    Register, Dublin, ESRI, 2001.
    For the basis of these figures see Fitzgerald, Ingoldsby, Daly, op. cit. p. 26 f.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

Given the abundance of jobs currently available, the focus of policy on
unemployment must be directed to programmes designed to bring the excluded in
from the margins rather than on job creation as such. A key recommendation of this
paper is therefore that action on unemployment be on the scale necessary to address
the outstanding problem.

The obstacles to an effective solution

              Barriers – unemployed                                    Barriers – employers
       Withdrawal from the labour force                      Entry criteria for jobs
       Poor education, literacy and relevant skills          Reluctance to hire „difficult‟ unemployed
       Perceived poverty traps (esp. childcare)              Poor support structures
       Personal and psychological issues                     Little planning ahead for future needs

How best can the barriers between employers, who are currently experiencing labour
shortages, and the unemployed, who can‟t get steady work, be turned into bridges?
To answer this requires addressing the issues for the long-term unemployed,
addressing the issues for employers, and building links between the two sides. This is
primarily the mandate of the Local Employment Service, which was set up to provide
an individually tailored pathway from long-term unemployment into the world of
work. Almost half those who used the LES in 1999 were long-term unemployed,
while one in five were lone parents. The current scale of engagement by the LES,
with 4,400 clients, represents just a fraction of the number of long-term unemployed
in Dublin, however measured. Older men are seen as the hardest group to reach and

Almost all the individuals or families being targeted by the LES receive a weekly
payment from the state. This point of contact can be used in a systematic and positive
way to let people know that positive options and help are available. This can be
complemented by community based contacts to spread the word. Where people
appreciate the quality of the service they get, good word of mouth is one of the most
effective methods of encouraging others to avail of it. 4

        Ballyfermot LES report that half of their clients come by word of mouth.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin


A) The Local Employment Service

1.     Expanding the scale of the LES
       Programmes to address long-term unemployment must operate on a sufficient
       scale to reach everyone who is long-term unemployed or at high risk of long-
       term unemployment. The Local Employment Service should act as the main
       bridge between the world of unemployment and the world of work. This means
       that sufficient resources must be allocated to the Local Employment Service to
       enable this to happen. The focus of these resources must enable optimum
       development of the service as an effective network, and also concentrate on the
       needs of a high-supports strategy.

2      An integrated service
       The delivery of a comprehensive employment service at local level must be
       based on extensive and active co-operation between the LES, FÁS, the DSCFA
       as well as Health Board and other relevant agencies, and the efficiency of this
       integrated effort should be monitored within the RAPID programme as this
       Integrated and intensive support for individuals and families who are
       profoundly excluded, and those at high risk, is currently being developed by the
       LES in association with relevant agencies such as NALA and the Drugs Task
       Forces. Shortage of provision in these services is a major barrier to
       implementing a comprehensive service (e.g. inadequate numbers of
       rehabilitation places for drug addicts).
       Relationships between Partnerships, the LES and the statutory authorities should
       provide for structured and agreed co-operation from head office level down to
       the ground level. Arrangements are currently usually ad hoc, based on personal
       contacts, and have to be renegotiated at every change of circumstance. Within
       organisations, time spent at integrating effort with other agencies should form
       part of standard measured tasks.

3      Best practice in working with employers

       In working closely with employers, the following principles should apply as
       elements of best practice:
           The establishment of a Human Resource Forum bringing together
            personnel/HR managers of major firms.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

           Building employer-to-employer networks for the dissemination of good
            practice and experience.
           Providing support and information programmes for employers who take on
            long-term unemployed staff, with ongoing support when workers are in
           Ensuring that business is represented at the right level on Area Partnerships
            and LES, e.g. current senior managers, personnel managers, people involved
            in recruitment.
           Improving outreach to businesses, with Employer Liaison Officers
            contacting local employers, large and small.
           Asking employers what they want and getting them to identify the skills that
            they are short of. Encourage them to be open to mature or “different”
           Informing potential local employers of the programmes and initiatives which
            are run in the Partnership area, and advising them on the process involved in
            supplying the labour they require. This is because the various initiatives
            differ, both in duration and in terms of the level of job-readiness of the target
            group. In order for their requirements to be matched, employers need to plan
            ahead and be able to forecast their labour needs.
           Develop a clear, accurate, up-to-date information pack for employers to
            enable them to work out the financial value to employees of what they are

B) Targeting Resources

1.     Targeting areas of concentrated deprivation
       The policy of targeting resources to areas of concentrated deprivation agreed in
       the PPF is now being realised in the RAPID programme. It is essential that
       interventions affecting labour market services under this programme be
       thoroughly integrated to ensure maximum effect. The high-supports response
       being proposed by FAS must be developed and implemented in a closely
       integrated manner with all relevant agencies and particularly in close and mutual
       cooperation with the LES. In addition, the local area focus of regional and
       national bodies must be strengthened and in particular should include early
       identification of families and children at risk and intensive support for such
       children to encourage them to complete their education.

       This entire approach has been a priority of the Dublin Employment Pact since its
       inception (see the DEP policy papers Social Investment for Disadvantaged
       Areas of Dublin, 1999, and Squaring the circle: An analysis of programmes to
       prevent early school-leaving, 2000). In addition the Pact is currently sponsoring
       two pilot projects (in Ballymun and Finglas) which are seeking to establish
       models for an effectively integrated local labour market service.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

C) Training Issues

1.     Addressing childcare issues
       The provision of childcare services is now generally recognised as a key to
       breaking down social exclusion and disadvantage, not least in relation to
       accessing the labour market. While this issue is now being addressed nationally
       and locally, it is essential in relation to training that the following principles

           Childcare initiatives should have trained core staff, to give continuity of care
            and of service.
           Flexible working/training hours are necessary to suit parents with childcare
           The potential of term-time jobs/training needs to be examined to fit in with
            the school year.
           Job-sharing and care-sharing arrangements should be expanded.

2.     Targeting training services to solve long-term unemployment
       The following are essential elements in training services geared to ending long-
       term unemployment and preventing future long-term unemployment:

           A Core Skills approach must be integrated in all training programmes, to
            develop personal and other basic skills in tandem with vocational skills.
            Such core skills include communication, working with people, time
            management, dealing with stress, and functional literacy and numeracy.

           Training with a purpose is essential, and must include relevant pre-training
            and conclude with certification. Training should identify future skills needs
            with employers and include special programmes which lead clearly to jobs.
            Strategies should include targeting jobs with relatively short training
            requirements to attract older men, and such programmes should be included
            in the preparation of Local Labour Clauses in major redevelopments – e.g.
            Ballymun and Docklands.

           Training should be as flexible and family-friendly as possible. In particular
            it should be available at family-friendly hours, provide crèche facilities as
            standard, ensure that transport to training centres is available, provide
            targeted courses where training needs have been identified, provide adequate
            pre-training courses to prepare people for mainstream training, be as locally-
            based as possible, include back-up supports in mainstream training for high-
            needs trainees and provide training/education on a part-time basis to upskill
            early school-leavers who have moved into unskilled jobs.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

           Certain financial incentives for training should be provided, in particular
            through ending the practice of payment in arrears at the start of training,
            updating transport and meal allowances, providing financial assistance
            towards the cost of childcare and possibly providing bonuses for good
            attendance and completion of courses.

           There must be substantial movement from ad hoc to planned funding for
            the many local interventions which have proved successful. In particular,
            there is a need to end the dependence of initiatives to continue on an ability
            to put together diverse funding packages, rather than on an assessment of
            whether or not the programme was worthwhile.

           The great success of many local initiatives in Dublin has not always led to
            the mainstreaming of best practice by the main statutory organisations.
            Small-scale projects too often remain just that – small-scale. Scaling up
            successful initiatives would enable them to reach out to the totality of the
            long-term unemployed who can benefit, instead of the smaller number being
            reached at present. The scale of activity should match the scale of the need
            and a systematic process to bring the learning from pilot projects into
            mainstream practice is required. A template for this purpose should be
            developed on the basis of experience.

D) The Social Economy

1.     Focused work experience programmes
       The need for more focused work experience programmes remains. Work
       experience programmes should concentrate on developing competence in
       reliability, timekeeping and good work habits and should include systematic
       links to the open job market. The LES guidance service should actively engage
       with participants on work experience programmes, and work with them to
       monitor progress and the achievement of personal targets.

2.     Separating social projects and labour market progression
       The further development of the national Social Economy Programme and other
       social economy initiatives must take account of the need to separate the goal of
       funding for social projects from the goal of a progression path into open
       employment, with separate programmes for each. Social economy/social
       service aims should be separated from CE/WTJI as a progression measure.
       Where key social services are being delivered on the basis of Community
       Employment or Whole-time Job Initiative, these should be designated as long-
       term social economy jobs, based on the priority of the service provided, and the
       priority for jobs in social projects should be given to unemployed people in the
       communities they serve.

Solving long-term unemployment in Dublin

3.     Supported employment programmes
       A supported employment programme must continue to be provided in the form
       of longer-term jobs for those LES clients with special needs who are unlikely to
       obtain or keep steady employment in the open job market.

E) Accessibility of Information
       A comprehensive, accurate information service to the unemployed, employers
       and the staff of the labour market services needs to be developed to enable job
       offers to be assessed compared to social welfare income as well as to establish
       the in-work benefits available. In this context, the DEP is sponsoring a
       feasibility study into the development of an interactive program which would
       work out the combined package of in-work benefits/net pay/secondary benefits
       for any given set of circumstances. Such a service is required and must be made
       widely available to advice services, welfare rights workers, LES and FÁS staff,
       employer networks and open-access computers in community-based locations
       such as information centres and public libraries.

The economic resources now available mean that ending long-term unemployment
and the threat of it recurring in the future can be realistically achieved. But reducing
unemployment is not achieved by economic growth alone. Rather it requires
integrated and intelligent social programmes which address fundamental causes and
remove obstacles. National programmes have been moving towards this approach in
recent years and the energy and multiplicity of local projects effectively addressing
unemployment in different ways show that the ideas are there too. What is now
required is to put these effective interventions into action on the required scale.


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