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Local government trials on employment have great potential – careful preparation needed

Jarkko Tonttila Published Date 25.2.2020 10.39 Blog

Jarkko Tonttila, Senior Ministerial AdviserThe Finnish Government is preparing local government trials on boosting employment, where some of the tasks of the Employment and Economic Development Offices will be transferred to local governments. This is one of the Government’s key employment measures that is considered to have great potential in terms of providing even better services to job seekers. In the trial the responsibility for providing services to 189,000 job seekers will be transferred from the Employment and Economic Development Offices to local governments. Because of the large customer volume, the trials must be prepared carefully so that all customer service elements are in place when local governments take the lead.

The purpose of the trials is to improve access to the labour market especially for the long-term unemployed and those in a vulnerable position in the labour market. The idea is that by combining the expertise of the Employment and Economic Development Offices with the municipal education, health and social services the job seekers can be more effectively guided to the services they need, and they are also likely to find jobs more quickly.

The government proposal for an act concerning the trial will be submitted in March. This marks the start of the negotiations with the staff of the Employment and Economic Development Offices.

Public officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment are preparing the legislation and other measures needed for the trials with strong expertise and commitment.

During my career, I have been involved in several projects of this kind. The timetable is always tight and, when getting started, you never know what may lie ahead. This is the case even now. Yet, we have not compromised on our ambitious timetable.

The government proposal for an act concerning the trial will be submitted in March. This marks the start of the negotiations with the staff of the Employment and Economic Development Offices as almost 900 persons will become local government employees for the duration of the trials. Qualified staff is a key condition for success both in the local government trials and in the Employment and Economic Development Offices.

Moving the competences and staff alone is not enough, but new approaches to boost employment will also be tested. During the spring, monitoring and evaluation plans and guidance models will be prepared to make sure that all players have the right kind of incentives to promote a sustainable growth in employment. The work on the trials is being done in cooperation between the State, local governments and relevant stakeholders, both nationally and in the regions where the trials will take place.

The start of the trials will culminate when the customers will be guided to using the new services, which will take place when the regions concerned are ready to receive them. According to feedback received from both regional state administration and local governments, the new customer services should be started in September as there is a lot of preparation to be done. Earlier experiences have shown that summer is not a good time to launch any significant changes in customer services, but in terms of both informing the job seekers and transferring data it is more appropriate to start in the autumn.

Careful preparation of the local government trials on employment will ensure a smooth transition of customers to the new service models.

Jarkko Tonttila, Senior Ministerial Adviser

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