← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe
Comprehensive approach unemployed
Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
Stimulated by European agreements and ESF-funds the objective of this innovation was to realize an offer of activation services for nearly all unemployed on benefits or social assistance, to prevent long-term unemployment and to stimulate re-entry into the labour market.
Type of Policy
Duration of the policy
1999-2003, during the first year the policy targeted new unemployed, since 2000 the policy targeted existing benefit claimants
Scope of innovation
- Scope: temporary
- Budgets: originally estimated at 365 million each year, but budget changed over the years due to changing objectives
- Spatial coverage: national, with a focus on large municipalities
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The policy marks an intensification of ALMP in the Netherlands, partially funded by ESF. The first objective in 1999 was to prevent long-term unemployment for new benefit recipients, by offering them re-integration services when they were expected to remain unemployed for more than one year. In 2000 the policy was extended to existing benefit claimants. The primary objective was to increase the chances for re-entry into the labour market, but for long-term unemployed social participation could also be an objective.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
the policy was intended to be structural, to achieve full participation of benefit claimants in activities and services dedicated to find work. The goal of comprehensive coverage was abolished in 2004.
Type of innovation
- retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
- job guidance, coaching and/or counselling (Coaching and/or counselling personal services and programmes for re-integration were expanded, by the PES and later by private re-integration companies)
Intended target group
All unemployed on UE-benefits and social assistance who have been or are expected to remain unemployed for at least one year. For some time unemployed without benefits were targeted as well.
Working age population
- employment situation (unemployed)
- main source of income: social protection (UE-benefits and social assistance)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
- agency or national social insurance body (Implementation for UE-benefit claimants in cooperation with PES)
- central state (regulation)
- municipal government (Implementation for social assistance recipients)
- private for-profit organisations (commercial) (Delivery of actual re-integration services and programs)
- private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (Delivery of actual re-integration services and programs)
- supra/extra national organisations (EU set the guidelines and provided esf-funding)
Clarification of the role of various actors
During the implementation of this policy the whole implementation structure in the Netherlands was re-organised (see: SUWI). The role of PES diminished, whereas the role of private re-integration companies increased. Moreover, responsibilities for social assistance were gradually devolved towards the municipal level. Also, the financing structure was changed, leading to less ear-marked, integrated funds for activation policies (see WWB). In 2001 agreements between the state and the municipalities were made in the so-called Agenda for the Future, which stipulated the number of trajectories to be realized, as well as the number of placements.
- job guidance, coaching and counselling (The number of services/trajectories was increased significantly as a result of this policy)
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
The policy increased chances on employment for the UE-recipients, for social assistance recipients this could not be assessed.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
This policy is not considered to have been successful in terms of employment effects. The focus has been on starting many trajectories/activation plans, but not on the effectiveness or quality of programs. The evaluation states that from the perspective of effectiveness it makes no sense to offer services to everyone: they should be reserved for unemployed for whom they have added value. Also, objectives of promoting social participation and employment were intermingled. Moreover, comprehensive coverage which was the target has not been realized and numerous trajectories were ?empty?, without real content. Symbolically this policy may have been important, because it was the first time activation policy was explicitly directed at all unemployed. In the years following, several policy changes were implemented that followed-up on this idea, although funds to offer services to everyone were no longer available. Also, this policy increased the emphasis on effectiveness in later years.