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International peer review of labour policy

Owal Group Oy conducted an extensive international peer review for the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, evaluating the service system of labour policy in nine countries and assessing what the Finnish service system could learn from them.

An international peer review was a part of the Labour policy service structure evaluation project coordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The primary objective was to produce ideas in terms of the countries and evaluation themes selected for the Labour policy service structure evaluation. The countries included in the examination were Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The examined countries have different orientations for labour policy due to the historical premises of each country for the construction of a service system. Political decision-making has often played quite a substantial role in the creation of labour political service systems. Different choices are also explained, for instance, by the issues of employment security and unemployment benefit funding as well as the labour market structure, administrative structure, and the regional and social structure.

The central recommendations of the evaluation are strategic by nature and based on the experiences of different countries on the controlled and natural development of the evaluation themes. Dialogue between experts of service structure evaluation, authorities of the reference countries and the peer evaluators was a part of drafting the recommendations.

Strengthening the cooperation between public workforce services as well as between private employment agencies and service producers is recommended in the evaluation: 1) The common ambition and cooperation should be strengthened with public workforce services and with private employment operators and service producers; 2) Profit-based purchasing and different options of profit-based purchasing should be tested and developed in Finland within the limitations of current legislation; 3) Systematic market dialogue should be implemented with private operators to develop the system and find common objectives.

The second recommendation package of the evaluation proposes reforms in the performance management of the labour political service system and measuring practices: 1) Finland should transfer more strongly into the measuring of employment results and the performance contrasting of service units; 2) The importance and trial culture of research and evaluation operations should be strengthened.

The evaluation also highlights individual good policies from which Finland could learn. These include developing electronic services to more effectively guide the service provided for job seekers and the work of the clerks, developing the operational model of national employer customer accounts, strengthening the national utilisation of social media and the ensuring of service development structures for those who have trouble finding employment.

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