Transforming European Employment Policy
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Transforming European Employment Policy

Labour Market Transitions and the Promotion of Capability

Edited by Ralf Rogowski, Robert Salais and Noel Whiteside

Since the mid 1990s, the focus of European employment and social policy has shifted from protection to promotion. This book provides a timely analysis of this new form of governance, and the new forms of policy delivery and audit which accompany it.
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Chapter 4: Privatisation of Placement Services in Light of the Transitional Labour Market Approach

Petra Kaps and Holger Schütz


Petra Kaps and Holger Schütz INTRODUCTION Contracting out placement services to private agencies has become widespread in many countries. Examples that have gained both experience as well as created much debate can be found in Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands (see de Koning, 2007). An alternative approach of public– private governance of placement services are vouchers, which has fewer international proponents in job placement policies. In Germany, both approaches were supported by the so-called Hartz reforms in 2003: contracting out to support the public employment service in placement acitivities was intensified and placement vouchers became a large-scale labour market policy instrument. While advocates of privatisation measures of placement services are in favour of either contracting out (Bruttel, 2005) or of a voucher system (Berthold and von Berchem, 2005), it is by no means clear which kind of public–private mixes are in fact best suited for the provision of placement and counselling services (see de Koning, 2007). However, there is growing evidence that the effects of privatisation are far less positive than often claimed. This chapter discusses the prospects and limits of privatisation for labour market policy by drawing on evaluation of experiences with privatisation in four countries: Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it addresses governance issues raised by changing modes of public–private cooperation on placement services and labour market policy. The conceptual framework is provided by the transitional labour markets (TLM) approach. The TLM approach is interested in mitigating old and new...

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