Public governance


Raising the bar: Designing and implementing innovative contracted-out employment services in OECD countries

Two out of five OECD countries contract out some of the job brokerage and counselling functions of publicly financed employment services using outcome-based payment models. This paper examines several important aspects related to the design and implementation of such outsourcing. First, innovative payment models can improve incentives for external providers to offer training and more effective services for hard-to-place clients. Second, providing forward guidance to providers and accounting for contingencies can mitigate their risks, e.g. of being underpaid relative to expenses incurred, thus lowering service costs. Third, letting individuals choose a provider can result in services that are better tailored and foster ongoing competition between providers. Finally, automating data exchange can, somewhat paradoxically, improve data privacy and data protection while enabling new payment models. These and related findings are discussed with country examples based on desk research and interviews with stakeholders in several OECD countries. The paper builds on work conducted in the project “Reforming the Swedish Public Employment Service”, which was carried out with funding from the European Union via the Technical Support Instrument and was implemented by the OECD in cooperation with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support.

Available from November 22, 2023

In series:OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papersview more titles