COMMITTEE VISIT TO THE NETHERLANDS
Tuesday 5-Thursday 7 February 2002
The Work and Pensions Committee visited the
Netherlands between 5 and 7 February 2002, as part of its inquiry
into ONE Pilots.
During the visit, Members met with a number of officials, social
security experts, politicians and those involved with welfare
to work programmes in both Amsterdam and The Hague.
INCOME (CWI), ZAANDAM
Mr Wim Marsman, Director of the Zaanstreek Centre
for Work and Income, welcomed the Committee to the Centre. Zaandam
was an industrial conurbation and the fourteenth largest city
in the Netherlands, with a slightly higher than average unemployment
figure. A third of the unemployed were drawn from ethnic minority
groups, mainly from the Dutch Antilles, Surinam and Morocco, who
had originally been invited into the country in the 1970s to supplement
the industrial workforce. Many of these "first generation"
immigrants did not speak Dutch, creating difficulties when they
The Centres for Work and Income had arisen from
problems with the previous system of welfare provision, where
social assistance, insurance-based benefits and employment services
had been controlled by different authorities, with little direct
Government control. The CWIs were not as ambitious as the UK Jobcentre
Plus programme, with the Centres only acting as a "gateway"
for services run by other agencies, but they did mean that all
welfare services could be accessed from a single building. The
CWIs were also paid for by the Ministry of Social Affairs allowing
it to exert greater control at a local level; the CWIs were required
to submit monthly performance figures.
The most controversial part of the reform was
the use of private reintegration services, which had been seen
as "throwing the most vulnerable in society to the private
sector". Mr Marsman told the Committee that at present there
were about 1,600 reintegration firms operating in the Netherlands,
making it very difficult to judge quality. The potential danger
was such companies would target those easiest to place, rather
than groups such as disabled.
There was a system of benefit deductions and
withdrawals in place, which could be quite harsh. For example,
a school leaver who refused their first job would suffer a 100
per cent benefit withdrawal. Such sanctions were only really used
as preventive measures, however.
The "Mission Statement" of the CWI
was to: provide a meeting place for employers and job seekers;
help employers find workers; inform workers of their rights and
the available resources; and provide an access point to the benefits
system. There was four-stage process for claiming benefits, used
by the CWI, which Mr Marsman set out:
check identity and address;
ensure that he/she is eligible with
the local authority (eg not living with parents);
take preventative action"Why
can't you get a job now?"; and
check insurance eligibility and whether
sick or unemployed.
2. Work interview:
examine all documents and records;
register client officially as unemployed;
classify them, in terms of their
job-readiness, as "Phase" one to four (see below).
3. Income assessment:
income and capital are thoroughly
4. Employment search:
assist client to find suitable employment
with weekly, monthly and bi-annual meetings, as appropriate; and
offer special programmes for some
groups, eg ethnic minorities receive first call-back within 72
Under the capital rules for benefits, clients
were only eligible if they had less than approximately £3,000
of savings (single person). For the unemployed, their benefit
was based upon their insurance contributions. For disability benefit
they received 70 per cent of their last income. Recently, arrived
immigrants were required to undergo Dutch language and culture
classes as a condition of claiming benefit.
In stage two (above), the clients were categorised
on the basis of a series of standard questions. The phases indicated
different levels of job-readiness:
Phase 1unemployed but job-ready;
Phase 2likely to find employment
within one year;
Phase 3will take longer than
a year, often owing to language problems; or
Phase 4client unsuitable to
enter the labour market at present, eg owing to disability, lack
of qualifications etc.
CWI advisers took responsibility for Phase 1
clients, often taking them immediately to an employment agency
situated within the Centre. One of the advisers informed Members
that she had a caseload of about 20 clients at any one time. Clients
assessed as Phase 4 were the responsibility of the local authority,
who would usually buy in services from private reintegration companies.
The Committee was then given a tour of the public
areas of the Centre, which was open-plan, save for a small screened-off
section at the rear that allowed private discussions with clients.
There was a security guard present, but Mr Marsman stated that
they had experienced few safety problems; no benefit payments
were made on the site. Two temporary employment agencies were
situated in the Centre permanently, with another one having display
boards located near the entrance. Computers providing free access
to the internet for job seekers were available, as were "job
points" equivalent to those found in UK Jobcentres.
3. MEETING WITH
Mr Vink has been involved with social services
in Nijmegem, Cuijk and Roemond since 1982 and was the Director
of Social Services in Helmond (Brabant) for four years. He is
now working as a consultant. Mr van Schep is the Managing Director
of a small company Stimulansz. Both are working with local authorities
to improve the delivery of social assistance, and develop policies
aimed at delivering more work-focused services.
There were two new trends in Dutch welfare policies.
First, the attempt to introduce the market through the commissioning
of private companies to deliver services aimed at integrating
people who are less job-ready into the labour market. Second,
there was a trend to transfer more responsibility to local authorities,
who now had the responsibility for commissioning such services.
Centres for Work and Income (CWIs), introduced from January 2002
and operate by central government, acted as initial gatekeepers
to the system. CWIs referred people identified as being some distance
from the labour market to local authorities.
A key aspect of the new system was the classifying
of benefit claimants by CWIs into four categories depending on
their distance from the labour market. "Phase four"
people were those at the greatest distance from the labour market.
High employment meant that 75-80 per cent of unemployed people
on social assistance were now in the phase four category. Many
had multiple problems. Caseloads were going down, because it was
more work-intensive to engage with people with multiple barriers.
To develop a "work first" approach
required giving individuals a trajectory. This might involve sorting
out debts, childcare arrangements or providing education. The
method of classifying people helped identify where to put resources
poverty alleviation at one extreme or direct into the labour market
at the other.
Mr Vink argued that phasing on its own, however,
was not enough. For example, the category was too broad brush
and needed to be further broken down. Phasing did provide a useful
means of identifying a client's problems, but not necessarily
what the individual could do. A next phase of development might
be mechanisms aimed at exploring with the individual what their
possibilities were, to be able to work with the individual in
a tailored way, so that they would take the next step towards
One problem at present was that case managers,
working with individuals, had a lot of discretion. Some made it
very easy for participants; not much labour-related activity was
demanded. Others pursued a work-focused agenda, more actively.
It was important that an organisation had a good "work-first"
policy as a whole, then the individuals within it could act in
a standardised way when making decisions. One example was work
with drug addicts. One local authority said it was too difficult
to place people with drug problems in work. Another had an active
programme with employers, making deals directly with them to take
people on, whilst providing drug treatment at the same time for
clients. This was also an example of working to overcome employer
prejudice, which could itself be a barrier.
A key issue was dealing with motivation. In
the US (in Wisconsin in particular) work was not a choice; a deal
was a deal. There was both carrot and stick. It was important
to get the person to act like a contract partners, whilst helping
them overcome their impediments.
Mr Dick Vink emphasised the value of an integrated
approach in assisting people to work. This was one reason why
giving local authorities greater responsibility to introduce "work
first" policies was a good idea: they also could attract
local employers, and were in charge of other services such as
housing. They therefore had extra levers which could be used to
effect employment gains.
For the future, Mr Vink identified the need
to tackle financial disincentives to work caused by the fact that
the social assistance levels were similar to minimum wage levels.
Mr van Schep said that he expected further devolvement by local
authoritiesand a further shift of financial responsibility
for work programmes from the state to local government. Costs
had already shifted from a 90:10 split to a 75:25 split. In future,
he saw it shifting even more.
4. MINISTRY OF
Two presentations were introduced by Mr Maarten
Ruys, Director-General of the Centre for Work and Incomes Project.
One on Dutch labour market policies; and one on the changing organisation
structure for delivering benefits and employment services.
(a) Dutch labour reforms
The early 1980s in Holland had been characterised
by large scale unemployment and the demise of traditional heavy
industries. The mid to late 80s had seen a strong recovery, which
had been consolidated in the 1990s. The successes from this era
had been strong employment growthalmost 2 per cent in the
1990sand a high employment rate, with less than 3 per cent
unemployment, compared to a European average of 8 per cent and
an UK figure of 5.5 per cent.
There were some problems, however. Looking at
the population under 65 years of age, 31 per cent of people in
Holland did not work. (This compared to 37 per cent in the UK).
A high number of these were people receiving disability benefits.
There also remained a large labour reserve of less educated, less
skilled, and older workers. There was also concern that the participation
of women in full-time (as opposed to part-time) work was not high
Mr Selous inquired why older workers had dropped
out of the labour force. The answer was both early retirement,
and people retiring with disability pensions. The social partnersemployers
and employee organisationshad had a common interest in
encouraging this development. Wage levels increased with age,
but productivity declined.
Agreement between the social partners in the
1980s had enabled economic recovery and curbed unemployment through
wage moderation, freezing social benefits and the minimum wage,
and lower budget deficits as a result.
In the 1990s labour market reforms had been
designed to give greater flexibility. Measures included reforms
on working hours; allowing greater use of fixed term contracts
(subject to protection of these workers); ensuring a better work/life
balance through improved childcare provision; the redesign of
early retirement schemes to make them "pre-pension schemes;"
and tax breaks to employers to take on certain workers. Other
changes included the introduction of subsidised labour programmes
aimed at disabled people, the long-term unemployed, and people
hard to place in the labour market.
By 2000 it was clear that the labour market
had changed. There was a shift from demand to supply, leading
to a tight labour market. Yet there was little outflow from subsidised
into real jobs, despite this. There was also an awareness that
policy implementation was not a big success, and that local authorities
wanted more freedom to initiate policies rather than simply implement
central government initiatives. Changes were necessary and a number
of starting points had been developed:
work had to paythere is a
considerable work disincentive problem in the Netherlands caused
by the fact that levels of social benefits are linked to the minimum
wage level. Yet wage subsidy through tax breaks would be very
there were obligations as well as
rights when claiming benefitsthe Government had introduced
various "sticks" as well as "carrots" to enforce
benefit recipients' obligations to seek work. But the municipalities
die not always enforce the sanctions regime;
outcomes not process measures were
what matteredthe Government wanted more focus on results;
reintegration into employmentthis
had to be goal of welfare policies. Municipalities (responsible
for paying social assistance) and the insurance boards (responsible
for paying social insurance benefits) were supposed to do this.
The problem was that people rarely moved off the various schemes
into jobs. The exit rates from subsidised jobs into work was less
than 10 per cent. The task had now been given to the private sector.
Mr Dismore asked how the success of the private
sector was judged and value for money measured. The answer was
that it was very early days. Local authorities were entering into
contracts which aimed to reward by results. But it was not yet
clear how effectively the contracts had been framed to achieve
the goals of reintegration, and how to prevent "cream skimming"where
companies concentrated their efforts on the most job ready. The
introduction of the market was a new development. For two to three
years it would be an imperfect market. It was not yet clear how
much it cost to get someone into the labour market from a certain
distance. They were not regulating the market too much during
the early days, although they were trying to ensure that there
Most of the reintegration agencies, which has
been established to work in the new market, were not-for-profit
organisations. There were some private recruitment agencies and
also some local authority related companies. Were there really
profits in this kind of work? The answer appeared to be "yes",
although local authorities had the safety valve that they could
still run programmes where they found it impossible to get private
Members also raised the issue of reintegration
into the labour market of people in receipt of disability benefits.
Officials admitted that strategies to get this group back into
work were not well developed. This was partly because it was "very
complicated". The flow of workers on to long-term disability
benefits were no longer older manual workers, but younger workers,
many women, and those with mental health problemsaccounting
for around 30 per cent of the new intake. There was also little
political will to tackle the problem; there had been a big political
crisis in the early 90s over the last attempt at reform. Finally,
the present system created substantial financial disincentives
to people to return to work. Over half of workers could get up
to 100 per cent of their salary when off sick.
(a) Structural change in the delivery systems
In the mid-1990s it was recognised that there
was a problem with large numbers of people being paid benefit
but with no incentive to go back to work. There was a lack of
independent supervision of a benefit system run largely by the
social partners. In 1995, a parliamentary inquiry called for a
policy of "work above income", with more "activating"
programmes for the unemployed and greater use of regional bodies
to deliver such programmes. They also recommended that the influence
of social partners on individual decisions should be minimised
and that there should be independent supervision of implementation.
In 1998, a new programme was implemented, designed
both to create a more "active" work-related system,
and to give a greater separation to public and private areas of
responsibility. This latter aspect did not work; commercial insurance
companies were keen to get their hands on the five organisations
running insurance-based benefits, not least because of the opportunities
they offered for cross-selling. There was a realisation that,
in terms of driving the "work first" policy agenda forward,
giving the insurance boards over to the private sector would not
work. Therefore in 2000, the five insurance boards were merged
into one organisation, the UWV, which had the task of claims assessment,
levying contributions and handling the administration of claims.
Under the new system, both the UWV and local
authorities were responsible for job reintegration activities
for the benefit recipients they each deal with. This responsibility
has to be contracted out to the private sector. (Although one
private company KLIK, dealing with Phase 4 people, is a previous
state organisation, whose shares are owned 100 per cent by the
Since 1 January 2002, there has been a more
direct relationship between government and the public partners.
The Government supervises the work of the UWV, the CWI and the
local authorities. Their performance results go direct to Parliament,
without interference from Ministers, thus holding the Government
Under the current implementation chain, the
CWIs act as the gateway to the system. Their first task is to
find people jobs. They then deal with new claims, before passing
the information on to either the UWV (insurance based benefits)
or the local authority (social assistance). These bodies are responsible
both for benefit payment and reintegration, via the private market.
Current issues arising from the new processes
staff at the CWIs were not used to
collecting benefits information needed for new claims;
whether claimants had absorbed the
new "work first" focus; and
complaints from the social partners
that they had been excluded. As a result, a Council for Work and
Income had been established to give advice on policy relating
to work and income; labour market policy more generally; levels
and distribution of reintegration funds and European Social Fund
money; the promotion of quality and transparency in the reintegration
market. The Council also had a budget of 90 million euros to introduce
innovation and added value.
The consequences for the Ministry were:
the Minister was directly accountable
for benefits delivery;
it acted as a single point for guidance
it had a supervisory role in relation
to the UWV and DWIagreeing budget and performance standards
for quality, quantity and cost. But delivery was left to the organisations
Possible problems ahead:
communication and exchange of information
between the CWIs and both the UWVs and the local authorities,
and the need for better IT systems which can talk to each other;
whether the UWVcreated by
the merger of five organisationswould work;
capacity problems for the CWIsthey
were dealing with more claims than expected;
the role of case officersa
demanding job requiring both benefit and work skills. They were
having recruitment problems; and
the role of sanctions. It was important
that the culture in local authorities changed. There was a job
to be done in supervising local authorities to make sure that
the policy objectives were being met. Activation must be at the
top of the local authority agendathe "frame of reference"
of officers must change.
5. MEETING WITH
Mr Vic Nuy, Chief Operating Officer, and Mr
René Joosten, Regional Manager, gave the Committee a short
presentation about their company and its mode of operation. Maatwerk
provided a range of reintegration services to local authorities.
Its programmes were aimed at groups such as the long-term unemployed
and the disabled. Mr Nuy stressed that Maatwerk offered clients
"action-based, personal guidance" based upon the individual's
barriers to work. Its programme also stressed "work first",
with clients being placed in three different jobs before other
options, such as voluntary work, were explored. One of Maatwerk's
flagship programmes was its "home coach" network; these
advisers visited those clients hardest to place in their homes.
Maatwerk worked in a number of countries, as
well as the Netherlands, including Hungary, France and the USA.
It had carried out a two-year project in Hamburg, Germany, between
1996 and 1998 aimed at funding "permanent and sustainable
employment" for the long-term unemployed, with specific targets
for the number and character of placements that the company had
He estimated that the 644 placements achieved by the scheme during
the two years had saved the municipality approximately 10 million
Deutschmark in costs such as unemployment benefit. At that time,
Maatwerk was also carrying out work in the Glasgow Employment
Zone placing similar clients.
The Chairman asked what Maatwerk had done before
the recent reforms in the Netherlands, which had opened up the
market to private reintegration services. My Nuy replied that
even before the reforms, Maatwerk had had direct contacts with
local authorities placing the long-term unemployed, with whom
traditional labour agencies had been unable to cope.
The Chairman also asked what services Maatwerk
could offer in the UK. The representatives of Maatwerk gave the
example of Glasgow, where the company had a contract with Working
Links to operate in the Employment Zone there. The contract set
out Maatwerk's remuneration based upon the number of clients successfully
placed in "sustainable" jobs. ("Sustainable"
was defined as a placement that lasted at least six months.) The
company had managed to place 94 out of 400 clients during the
past year. Their clients were drawn mainly from groups such as:
those unemployed for more than two or three years, those with
significant health problems, single parents, etc. Sixty five per
cent of those placed had been unemployed for more than five years,
and many were aged over 50. The company had found it "easier"
to show results working with the long-term unemployed, as they
would almost certainly have not returned to work without some
The clients were identified for Maatwerk by
the contract partner as being most in need of help. Individual
files were then studied intensively to identify clients' needs
and those who needed home visits. Experience had shown that 99
per cent of people were "open" to the process; they
often did not believe it would work for them, but were willing
to try. The biggest problem many clients faced was usually their
low self-esteem; Maatwerk had to convince them that there was
a suitable job available somewhere. For others it was identifying
their individual barriers to work (such as lack of training) and
rectifying the situation. The success of Maatwerk was essentially
based on the failure of existing systems to go into individual
cases in sufficient detail. One conversation would not do. A lot
of time was spent establishing what was possible and what was
not for individuals. They would use assessments to help clarify
the range of possibilities for an individual. In their view, 50
per cent of the process of getting people into work was providing
them with the right professional services so to do. Maatwerk started
with the client and their needs, to ensure that they found the
right job for that person.
Mrs Humble enquired whether those advisers carrying
out home visits ever felt "at risk" from the clients.
Mr Nuy replied that all Maatwerk staff had a week's training and
were, thereafter, supported on the job by coaches. On the first
visit, two advisers were always present.
Mr Dismore asked how Maatwerk had "slimmed
down" the caseload from 600 to 400 in Glasgow. Mr Nuy and
Mr Joosten replied that, they screened the 600 selected by the
contract partner to identify the 400 they would take on. The people
selected had to be in, what the Dutch describe as, the "phase
four" category; it was not possible to simply "skim
off the best". They also weeded out ineligible peoplesome
had only been unemployed for a few months, others were aged over
70, etc. The system of referrals in the UK and the Netherlands
was described as "not perfect", with offices not knowing
about the people they were dealing with in detail.
Once selected, there would then be a "diagnostic
phase", where they worked with individuals intensively to
identify their interests, motivation and skills and reach agreement
about what work is possible. Each person would have around four
to five interviews, lasting between one and three hours. They
then looked for job openings suitable for that person, and continued
to work on a one-to-one basis with the person in the job, to ensure
the placement was a success.
The average cost per client to placement was
around £3,000. Maatwerk was paid by results. They got a basic
feegenerally between a fifth and a quarter of the project
costs. There were then further payments based on placements. It
was the placement bonus which made the work profitable.
In the UK, the company could only work in Employment
Zones, at present. Messrs Joosten and Nuy were critical of the
terms under which the Employment Zone contract worked, where they
were given 17 weeks to work with clients and get them into work.
This did not give an adequate opportunity to the clients to be
successful. If work was seen as an essential part of social integration,
they had to be given more time to work with the clients. Otherwise,
a considerable number of people were simply being written off.
Maatwerk was currently in negotiation to start work in Manchester
with Reed Employment.
Ms Buck asked whether childcare was a significant
issue for the clients. Mr Nuy replied that it was sometimes a
problem but advisers usually found that many women were actually
afraid of returning to work and hid behind the childcare issue.
Maatwerk left other organisations to do work such as setting up
day care centres, and instead concentrated on finding clients
a job that fitted their needs. There was also an issue of the
"poverty trap" for lone parentsno one wanted
less moneybut he believed that the financial motive was
only one of many that inspired such people. They wished to return
to work to set a good example to their children, be part of society,
etc. Sometimes these were more important than any financial return.
Mr Stewart wanted to know how Maatwerk built
up a picture of the local labour market, when it was operating
from the Netherlands. After the first analysis, Mr Nuy replied,
50 per cent of the advisers' time was spent looking at the local
job marketmeeting employers, identifying vacancies, and
noting what employers needed. They also sought out employers they
thought could give their clients jobs. Maatwerk built up a relationship
with employers, not by appealing to the social conscience of employers,
but by promising to get the right personnel. However, he stressed
that Maatwerk essentially operated the other way round to many
other companies: it identified the client's skills and needs,
and then went to the employers. Usually the clients were placed
with smaller companies employing up to 100 employees, who did
not have their own personnel departments and welcomed Maatwerk's
assistance in recruiting and HR work. Voluntary work was sometimes
considered as a precursor to full-time employment, but it was
important that people were learning something while doing it and
entered into full-time work as soon as possible.
Maatwerk attempted to create a "chain",
which was about getting people into jobs. They used the existing
infrastructure in an area in terms of training programmes, etc
but would introduce case managementensuring that the programmes
selected were steps along the way towards a job.
The Chairman concluded the session by asking
the managers what value they felt Maatwerk brought to the system
as a private, rather than public, enterprise. Mr Nuy answered
that although the company had a financial incentive, it was also
motivated by a belief that one could discover new talent in people
and achieve an employment result. The company was working with
clients whom most people had "written off" long before.
He also argued that it brought a results-orientated system: "only
jobs matter", getting people nearer to the employment market
was not important.
6. MEETING WITH
Mr Rens de Groot explained the background to
the development of the CWIs. There used to be three separate "clusters"
of institutions responsible for the different aspects of unemployment
services. The Public Employment Service (PES); the local authorities,
responsible for social assistance benefits; and the Insurance
Boardsfive bodies responsible for employee insurance benefits.
On a political level, there had been a re-appraisal of the role
of the social partners in welfare reform; there was a view that
the wider public interest was ignored. For example, the PES was
part of the Ministry for Social Affairs. It had then been split
off as an Agency, with a tripartite board: civil servants, and
employerand employee-organisations, which operated at central
and regional level. There were lots of arguments between the centre
and the regions, with each loyal to their own board. Employees
and customers were ignored. There were few measures of performance.
The present Government was committed to a policy
of "activation": a "work first" approach towards
people out of work. It also wanted a clear structure of responsibilities
and tasks in the public and private domain; greater efficiency
in administration; and a clear focus on customers, leading to
a reduction in numbers claiming benefits.
The new CWIs were designed to offer a one-stop
shop for work and income. They dealt with the 60 to 70 per cent
of customers who were in the "Phase 1" and "Phase
2" categoryie immediately job-ready. A "chain
of service delivery" then followed. One public organisation
had been created to be responsible for employee insurance benefits
(UWV). The UWV and, in the case of social assistance cases, local
authorities would be responsible for the reintegration of unemployed
job seekers, who were not job-ready. The basic services of the
PES would now be delivered through the CWIs, whilst its other
workreintegration and vocational traininghad been
privatised. A key element of the mission of the CWI was that it
was the customer who was important. Therefore, promoting the chain
of delivery at local level was the crucial thing. The 130 local
CWIs were main deliverers. The regional and central CWI offices
were for professional support and the collection of statistics.
Mr de Groot saw his task as to make the new
CWI organisation professional, both in its management and organisation.
Unlike in the past, CWIs operated in a transparent way. All performance
data were available on an intranet site to which both Ministry
officials had access and people within the CWIs. Thus managers
could check the performance of their office, compared to others.
There had been some initial teething problems
with the Centres:
The new task for CWIs (mostly staffed
by former PES employees) was dealing with the intake of people
with benefit claims. It was this work which was pre-occupying
staff rather than work search. Overcoming this was "just
a matter of staffing and organisation" said Mr de Groot;
There had been pressure, owing to
elections, to get up and running. As a result, the CWIs had opened
before they were fully ready. There were, therefore, recruitment
problems and delaysfar more people were coming into claim
benefit than had been anticipated. They were dealing with this
by hiring more staff, and were learning from experience; and
Their IT was not at the level they
had wanted from the start. They were still building the software
and there was a problem of lack of integration of IT between the
CWIs and the municipalities and UWV. Improved IT would enable
them to do the same work with less staff.
The introduction of competition and market rules
was another key element of the reforms. Mr de Groot was fairly
equivocal about the advantages this would bring. In his view,
the public sector could compete with the private sector in reintegration
work. If it reformed itself and became efficient, it could get
people into jobs more cheaply and do a better job. As an example,
Mr de Groot cited a special reintegration project run by the public
service for immigrants. The target group were 20,000 claimants.
Private employment agencies had taken around a third of the cases.
But they had performed badly in the first year, and the following
year the proportion of cases they had taken had dropped by half.
In contrast, the public sector part of the project had been very
successful. Staff had had to get out from behind their desks and
find their customers, engaging with people in their homes and
addressing the barriers which these particular groups faced. Staff
were enthusiastic. Incentives arose through bench-marking rather
than performance bonuses.
There were, at present, 800 reintegration companies
operating in the Netherlands. This was a new market and a big
shake-out was expected. The worry was that unemployed people would
lose out in the process. There had been a debate about how to
introduce private sector involvement. One model would have been
to attempt to regulate the market by laying down a quality assurance
threshold for managing tenders. However, this had been tried in
relation to the privatisation of sickness prevention services
and it had not worked. This time, it had been left to the market
to organise itself. The private sector had set up an umbrella
organisation which regulated quality assurance.
Consideration was being given to providing individuals
with their own personal reintegration budget. Through a voucher
system, or similar, they would be able to choose their reintegration
There was a role for public/private co-operation.
For example, job advice at the CWIs started off by flagging up
the availability of help from temporary job recruitment agencies.
They worked, not in competition, but in co-operation with such
private recruitment agencies.
48 Towards a work-focussed agenda: lessons from
the "One" Pilots, House of Commons Work and Pensions
Committee Press Notice, 1 July 2001. Back
The Road to Work: Final report of the Maatwerk project in
Hamburg, Maatwerk, February 1991, p 4. Copies of this report
are available from Committee staff. Back