J. Timo Weishaupt
Social Partners and the Governance of Public Employment Services: Trends and Experiences from Western Europe
Public Employment Services (PESs) are important actors in the fight against unemployment and social exclusion. They differ, however, greatly in their governance forms, also and especially when it comes to the involvement of the social partners, i.e. representatives from employers’ associations and labour unions. This paper offers in-depth insights to the ways in which PESs are governed in four European countries: Austria, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. Special attention is placed on recent changes in governance, the role of the social partners, and the response to the crisis of 2008. The paper shows that Austria has retained a modus operandi of strong social partnership and mutual trust, while the German and especially Danish systems have seen a gradual decline of social partners’ influence on PES governance, partially as governments’ of the political right and left increasingly seek to advance their direct steering capacity. The British case remains driven by a market-oriented, public-private partnership model, without any institutionalised role for the social partners.