Moving from Welfare to Work: Low Work Intensity Households and the Quality of Supportive Services
Report by the National Economic and Social Council of Ireland (NESC) – Launch and Seminar.
The report is co-authored by One Family Board Chair, Dr Anne Marie McGauran, and Dr Helen Johnston, both working in the NESC and can be downloaded here.
In Ireland the percentage of people living in households where no-one is working, or have a marginal attachment to the labour force, is higher than in most other EU countries. These households are diverse: unemployed people, lone parents, people with an illness or disability and ethnic minorities. ‘Low work intensity’ households experience much higher poverty rates and have a long-lasting negative impact on the children growing up in them. There are significant costs to the State.
The Report came to three overall conclusions:
1 – There is a need to develop a stronger focus on the household, by continuing to expand activation supports to adult dependents, people with a disability, and carers who wish to enter employment. A seminar speaker, Herwig Immervol, also supported this finding by suggesting that households, rather than individuals, need to be considered, as a whole, in activation measures. (link below)
2 – Stronger links are needed between employment services and employers, and between all services in order to support jobless households. Resources for this co-ordination need to be provided.
3 – Increase intensity of support to ensure effective outcomes particularly for those most distant from the labour market: lone parents, people with illness/disability, and those with literacy difficulties, poor English, no work experience or contacts, a history of addiction or time in prison. Supporting this finding the seminar speaker Deborah Rice also found that well-trained caseworkers who can develop good relations with clients and have some autonomy contribute to positive outcomes (link below).
The report also examined welfare and employment services and found that, though generally supportive, there is a lack of trust between service users and Intreo, where people can feel they have no choice in relation to activation/training options offered.
The programme for the full seminar can be accessed here.