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Implementation structure work and income (SUWI)

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This act implemented a new distribution of responsibilities of institutional actors with regards to implementation of social security, social assistance and active labour market policies. Its main objective was to increase labour participation and to decrease dependency on social security by increasing the efficacy of implementing organizations. Key characteristics were the formation of one agency for administration of unemployment and disability insurance (UWV), formation of public centres of work and income for gate-keeping (CWI) and basic labour market services, privatization of re-integration services, stimulation of inter-agency co-operation and abolishment of the role of employers and employees in the boards of the public institutions.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Since 2002, the act has seen several major revisions since its initial enactment
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
This complex act primarily aimed to increase labour participation (?work above income? was the motto) and more effective and client-oriented functioning of social security organisations by: / / - changing responsibilities for and re-organizing of the main public organizations in the field of social security / - introducing privatized and marketized re-integration services / - stimulating inter-agency co-operation (?chain co-operation?) / - regulating client-participation / - stimulating regional co-operation with regards to active labour market policies / / The main strategy was a change in governance of social security and to increase the focus of implementing organizations on labour market participation and prevention of the use of social security . It was based on earlier parliamentary research and debate that concluded that malfunctioning of the old implementation structure and perverse incentives for stake holders constrained the implementation of active labour market policies. The influence of employers and employees was greatly reduced to an advisory role, whereas before they were a member of the board of the public social security agencies and the PES. The new public organizations UWV (ue-benefits and disability benefits) and CWI (centre for work and income, gate-keeping and basic labour market services) became responsible for judging eligibility claims for social security, benefit administration and distribution of funds for re-integration. CWI and UWV became so-called independent public agencies (ZBO), which were not hierarchically governed by the ministry. They merged in 2009. The implementation of re-integration was privatized for unemployment and disability benefits as well as for social assistance, although in 2005 using private companies became optional for municipalities (see also WWB, reform of social assistance). The SUWI moreover regulated client-participation and stimulated regional cooperation with regards to labour market policy. / / The act has been changed several times since its enactment and its main evaluation in 2006. In 2005 the obligation to outsource re-integration services was removed for municipalities. In 2009 CWI merged with UWV. In 2009 and 2011 the act set new legislation with regards to regional co-operation on labour market policies for municipalities and UWV and the integration of services of UWV and municipalities for unemployed and employers in so-called work-plazas (?werkpleinen?), one-stop shops for re-integration. In 2012 UWV lost its funds for re-integration of UE-recipients and had to organize its services mainly through the internet. /
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
structural institutional reform
Type of innovation
  • new form of partnership or cooperation
  • new form of policy implementation/delivery
New outputs
  • governance (See the general description for the various governance changes that took place)
Intended target group
Primary target group were the public institutions responsible for social security and, social assistance. Indirectly all people using social security arrangements were the target group.
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (responsible for judging claims and contracting market parties for re-integration)
  • beneficiaries/users (Responsible for advise and control of the public organizations)
  • central state (Regulation)
  • municipal government (Responsible for social assistance and co-operation with CWI for activation of new social assistance recipients with good chances to find work and organization of ?gate keeping? )
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial) (Responsible for delivery of re-integration services)
Clarification of the role of various actors
The act aims at setting clear responsibilities for public and private actors involved in delivery of social security and re-integration.
Intended output
  • governance (See earlier description for new governance choices that have been implemented)
  • job guidance, coaching and counselling (The focus on and the use of re-integration services has increased)
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
Until 2005 prevention of entry into benefits (gate-keeping) has improved and outflow to work has improved compared to the period before suwi. However, the targets that had been set were not met and it is hard to attribute results to SUWI given various other reforms in social security in the same period
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
It is hard to assess the exact impact of the SUWI-reform in terms of resilience. The reform has contributed to the activation-turn in Dutch social security policies and focused implementing agencies on prevention and re-integration. The old incentives to remove unemployed from the labour market by providing easy access to social security have largely disappeared. Until 2006 some improvement in labour market outcomes has been observed, after 2006 no separate data on the impact of SUWI are available. Moreover, the act has changed several times and since the crisis funds for re-integration have been reduced drastically. The evaluation makes it plausible that SUWI has contributed to prevention of entry into social security and social assistance, in combination with changes in the respective social security laws. Re-integration results of unemployed back into the labour market as a result of the SUWI-reform are disputed. Integration of services and a regional approach have still not been completely realised anno 2013 and many technical problems with regards to co-operation have remained. Studies into the net-effects of private re-integration services have shown small increases in chances to find work, but the expected gains in terms of effectiveness have not been realized. Organizing and controlling the private re-integration market has proven to be complicated.
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