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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

"Tendering" (a free market for guidance of the unemployed)

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
The Flemish public employment service (VDAB) outsources certain services through the procurement of services via ?tenders?. The VDAB sees this contracting out as an instrument for flexibly responding to temporary, regional and sectoral labour market needs in order to achieve a higher quality of services overall and bring about improvements in expertise and client approach. / / The VDAB carefully considers which services she provides in-house and which services are best provided by third partners. Tenders are often supplementary to the own services the VDAB provides as a public service. The idea is to contract out additional activities to the market, often with additional government funding. Both profit, non-profit as well as public organisations can compete for these tenders. Tenders are often assigned on a central regional level, however, local offices can make requests for local tenders, targeted to specific groups or a specific need. / / Some recent important calls for tenders include the ESF call for tenders (May 2007), the Youth Employment Plan call for tenders (March 2008) and the IBO call for tenders. /
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public-private partnership
Duration of the policy
The first call for tenders was published in 2005. The policy is still ongoing and expanding in Flanders.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: regional/local
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
- Make use of the complementary expertise of partners / - Allows the public employment service to be flexible when responding to temporary, regional and sectoral labour market needs. /
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • others (new collaborative governance )
Type of innovation
  • new form of partnership or cooperation
New outputs
  • governance
Intended target group
The scope for calls for tenders has been gradually extended. While, the first call for tenders only related to the curative target audience (very specific target groups, hard to reach by PES), more recent calls for tenders (Youth Employment Plan, ESF) also included the preventative category in the target audience.
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (VDAB)
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO)
Clarification of the role of various actors
In Flanders the public employment service VDAB prepares, publishes and follows up on the calls for tenders. Within the VDAB the role of contracting authority has been assigned to a separate directorate, which is distinct from operations. The contracting-out process itself is managed by a tender team which falls under the VDAB central directorate. / / During the implementation, VDAB monitors the projects both quantitatively and qualitatively. This allows the projects to be adjusted if necessary. / / It is worth noting that commercial partners were initially significantly underrepresented in the group of service providers that were adjudicated contracts. The shift to also include the preventive category, alongside the curative category, has increased the representation of commercial partners in the tendering processes. / /
Intended output
  • governance
  • services
Intended and unintended outcomes
outcome quantification (proportion of target group): / / Up to this point the market developed in Flanders is estimated to consist of (maximum) 52 organisations. However, this is only a fraction of the total number of potential service providers in this public market. The total market is estimated at 583 organisations. / / Outflow results are positive: (2012: 1st -3rd quarter) / Central cities call for tenders: / Goal: 55% / Result: 51.53% / / Youth Employment Plan: / Goal: 63% / Result: 71.67% /
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