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VDAB as a labour market conductor

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
To realize its labour market objectives, the Flemish public employment service VDAB has in recent years increasingly taken up the role of labour market conductor, besides its initial role as central service provider. This was the result of a deliberate choice for more collaboration with partners in order to smooth the functioning of the transitional labour market. / / This vision was first outlined in the VONK note (VDAB op nieuwe koers), a strategic vision on the Flemish PES, which recognized that service delivery has to be organized across different actors in order to meet the need of citizens and companies more flexibly and accurately. / / The conductor role touches upon different dimensions: / In a first sense, the conductor role implies that the PES will assist individuals in the management of their careers over the life course and facilitate a transitional-friendly functioning of the labour market. In the case of VDAB this implies that the PES is not only solely responsible for transitions from unemployment to work, but also other transitions such as education and training related transitions or work- work transitions. / / In a second sense, conducting refers to a new position and role of the PES vis a vis other actors (public, private and non-profit). It implies the role to facilitate and stimulate connections between stakeholders and service providers to ensure that the various actors within a complex labour market setting are working to achieve the same common objectives. / / The VDAB has chosen to become a preferred point of contact, which may serve as a gateway to other actors in the labour market. The VDAB has increasingly invested in building partnerships with other labour market actors and managing contracting-out practices instead of keeping services in-house (tendering). Although the VDAB still offers its core services, it also provides the tools and common platforms to improve efficiency and transparency in the labour market field (e-portfolio?s, e-guidance, e-learning), guarantees quality assurance of the services offered by other labour market actors, and collects labour market intelligence to improve its services and partnerships in the future*. / / The cooperation of public and private commercial and non- commercial agents is intended to achieve a higher quality of services overall, bring about improvements in expertise and client approach and improve the links with other policy areas (education, welfare). / / * Data mining offers the opportunity to exploit the collected information in such a way that it can significantly enhance the efficiency of matching. First, It allows us to accurately arrange jobseekers according to their employment opportunities and orientate them by means of profile comparison with peer groups. In the same way, employers can be informed when appropriate profiles manifest themselves on the labour market, even if a job offer has not yet been registered. Second, also working people with career-related questions can be better assisted to reflect upon concerns that emerged from similar previous career-related questions. Finally, combining the available data with those of service providers in the field of education, welfare, social integration, public transport, could lead to more successful reintegration programs, more relevant career choices and more efficient and transparent matching processes. /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
This ?conductor? vision on the role of the Flemish Public Employment Service was first formally included in the management contract (2011-2015).
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: regional
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Achieve maximal organizational responsiveness and efficiency in the labour market by making use of expertise of different stakeholders in the field (private employment agencies, welfare organisations, educational institutions and vocational education and training providers) and guaranteeing an optimal, ?transition-friendly? functioning of the labour market.
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • others (new public governance (collaborative governance))
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • governance
  • services
Intended target group
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (VDAB (Flemish public Employment Service))
  • municipal government
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial) (vocational education and training providers, etc.)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (local welfare organisations, educational institutions, etc.)
  • regional government (Flemish Government )
Clarification of the role of various actors
The VDAB is an external autonomous agency under public law with a separate legal entity. The institutions? goals and targets are negotiated with the Flemish government and written down in five year term management contracts. Although the conducting function of PES is not yet enshrined in national legislation, it is included in the new management contract (2011-2015).
Intended output
  • governance
Intended and unintended outcomes
Flemish labour market has increasingly evolved towards a networked governance structure with many partnerships, collaborations and/or outsourcing relations.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
The new collaborative governance model, which aims to facilitate transitions of jobseekers and workers, may have a positive impact on the future resilience of the Flemish labour market. The new model implies a more active role for the Flemish PES, in which it is no longer a reactive service provider, but a pro-active service seeker. We can assume that better cooperation between different stakeholders on the field may increase efficiency of matching and improve the quality of services offered and eventually make workers more resilient overall.
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