The purpose of the article is to analyse the interconnections between formal policy reforms and operational policies, specifically between new governance and employment policy. The main question is what happens to public employment policies when they are contracted out to non‐public (for‐profit and not‐for‐profit) agencies?
The case is the contracting out of the public employment services in Australia, Holland, and Denmark. The data consists of in‐depth interviews with key respondents in the three countries, observations at service delivery agencies, and desk studies of existing research.
The new quasi‐market models seem to have difficulties in living up to the preconditions for a well‐functioning market, as well as political expectations. Contracted out employment systems do not seem to create higher efficiency, innovation, quality, and less bureaucracy than previous public bureaucracies. But a quasi‐market model, on the other hand, does seems to create a new type of employment policy, and new conditions for steering and governing the labour market and employment policy. This implies that choosing a quasi‐market model involves much more than a discussion about “technicalities” like (cost) efficiency and productivity. Some of the most important – but often neglected and depoliticised – policy changes seem to emerge from changes of the institutional set‐up rather than changes of specific laws and ministerial orders.
The article is innovative in trying to identify relationships between management structure and policy content. Often these changes are analysed in separate disciplines, and isolated from each other. In this article we provide an integrated and multidisciplinary approach.
Bredgaard, T. and Larsen, F. (2007), "Implementing public employment policy: what happens when non‐public agencies take over?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 27 No. 7/8, pp. 287-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330710773863Download as .RIS
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