Date of Screening: 30/03/2022
Screening Outcome - Full EQIA recommended: No
As the Department’s main employment programme to assist people into work, Steps 2 Success (S2S) ended on 31 March 2021, no alternative provision exists on a similar scale to help support people into employment and in the absence of support it is likely that a significant number of people may become benefit dependant. Work and Wellbeing Division in its previous structure within DfC developed a blueprint to deliver a new employment offer in Northern Ireland called Employability NI (ENI). One of the key components of the new offer is Labour Market Partnerships (LMPs), which aims to improve employability outcomes and labour market conditions by working through coordinated, collaborative, multi-agency partnerships, achieving regional objectives whilst being flexible to meet the needs presented by localised conditions.
S2S was designed to provide support for eligible benefit recipients to find and sustain employment by delivering a personalised service to meet individual needs. The programme was mandatory under the Jobseekers Allowance Regulations 2014, for Jobs Seekers Allowance claimants who were unemployed and in receipt of benefits for a specific period of time. As this Programme has now closed it is anticipated that approximately £7.1m of funding per annum previously utilised through S2S, can now be utilised to support delivery of the LMP initiative, however whilst LMP is part of a suite of provision designed to replace S2S it should be noted that there is no mandatory element in LMP or proposed in any part of ENI.