Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Project: Tackling disadvantage at a time of limited resources


A LEED policy innovation project for 2013-2014

Following-up on 2011-2012 OECD LEED analysis on
 Tackling long-term unemployment amongst vulnerable groups

In collaboration with the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee (ELSAC)

RationaleMethods / Participation / Outputs / Contact


This project will investigate and identify state-of-the-art approaches to tackling disadvantage through ‌multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance approaches which recognise the short- and longer-term drivers of disadvantage, and which innovatively use financial resources in a time of austerity.



The 2011-12 project on tackling long-term unemployment amongst vulnerable groups highlighted the immediate barriers many long-term unemployed confronted, including: low skills / skills not in demand, a lack of work experience, low motivation, lack of employer understanding and discrimination.


It is worth noting that in the current crisis, the long-term unemployed are not all low-skilled or otherwise vulnerable, and emphasising that long-term unemployment produces its own disadvantage (e.g. lack of recent work experience). Such barriers are important, and need to be addressed; however, there are other, long-term barriers which should not be overlooked.


These include: low aspirations, weak financial resources (and its consequences), isolation and pockets of deprivation, absence of positive social networks, poor access to services, including transport, as well as health issues.


The LEED Programme will build on this research, and the work undertaken by the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee (ELSAC), to focus on how locally co-ordinated approaches can be put in place to tackle the multiple barriers which create long-term unemployment, in order to both maximise the returns from current expenditure and save future resources.



This project will operate through fieldwork and thematic seminars. Whilst the fieldwork will assess the breadth of local policies put in place to tackle labour market disadvantage; the thematic seminars will explore in more detail best practice in governance, and in tackling the needs of specific at-risk groups.


The project will seek to collect data on variation in the labour market disadvantage of certain groups within OECD countries at the level of local economies. The role of evidence-based policy in tackling disadvantage (including how evaluation findings are communicated between national and local offices) will also be assessed.


Fieldwork in selected areas will focus on how local policies are addressing longer term unemployment, both current disadvantage and the root causes of exclusion. It will address the following issues:


Local policy framework for tackling disadvantage: ensuring that policy addresses the assessed needs of disadvantaged groups and that there are no gaps in policy and service provision is crucial to the most efficacious use of resources.


Local governance and financial framework for tackling disadvantage: the appropriate governance framework can play an important role in maximising the impact of the knowledge and resources available to address disadvantage.


Evidence-based approaches: evaluating policy outcomes and assessing their efficacy in tackling disadvantage is of the utmost importance at a time of limited resources. 



Countries can participate in this activity by requesting a field examination of their policies and practices in a given area, encouraging local actors to participate in the work, providing a voluntary or in-kind contribution, hosting a thematic expert seminar and/or participating in a seminar.


Countries could also participate through the provision of background information on innovative measures for tackling disadvantage (group or area-based).



Following the thematic seminars, and drawing on the collaboration with ELSAC, a report aimed at practitioners will be prepared which will examine the key issues that countries are confronting in tackling disadvantage and innovative policy measures to address disadvantage.

For each fieldwork examination a report including some key findings priorities will be prepared.



For further information about the project please contact the OECD Secretariat.


NOTE: Policy innovation projects address important issues in the implementation of the LEED mandate. In 2013-14, building more and better quality jobs requires us to provide ways to make our training and education systems more flexible and agile locally; make skills systems greener to facilitate the seizing of green growth opportunities; build evidence at the level of local labour markets; tackle disadvantage in a context of resource rarefaction locally; adapt local economic strategies to an ageing labour market; nurture more inclusive entrepreneurship; and accelerate local growth.


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