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Local Worlds of Social Cohesion. <br/>The Local Dimension of Integrated Social and Employment Policies

Final Report Summary - LOCALISE (Local Worlds of Social Cohesion. <br/>The Local Dimension of Integrated Social and Employment Policies)

Executive Summary:
LOCALISE investigated how local governments in six European countries cope with the challenge of coordinating social and employment policies for long-term unemployed citizens. After a detailed analysis of the regulatory framework of social cohesion policies in the six LOCALISE countries (WP2), three cities per country were chosen as research sites based on a multivariate analysis of regional socio-economic contexts and policy effects (WP3). Under WP4, extensive document analyses together with expert interviews in all 18 European city cases were conducted to find out how the coordination of social and employment policies is organized at the local level in practice. Also the question how European policies, resources and ideas inform local approaches to social cohesion were studied under WP5. As a final analytical step, interviews were conducted with street-level bureaucrats and long-term unemployed individuals the most ‘innovative’ local entity per country to find out how integrated social cohesion policies affect the social integration and employment chances of vulnerable citizens.

The main results of LOCALISE are:

1. Despite the low integration of social and employment policies in all countries, our national case studies clearly show an increasing integration of policy fields across Europe. The level of integration is highest in the area of training policies, which has traditional links to employment policy in Germany, France and Sweden. Childcare is also increasingly being recognised as essential for labour market integration, even in countries previously oriented towards the male breadwinner model such as Germany. The integration of health, housing and social assistance policies varies between countries. However, the degree to which social services, such as psycho-social or debt counselling, are integrated with employment policies differs greatly not only between countries, but also within countries. This type of integration seems to be highly dependent on local needs.

2. The extent to which policies are decentralised and the way in which local governments interact with higher levels of policy-making differs between countries, especially because of traditionally different structures of federalism. However, despite such differences, we find that in all countries, social assistance and social service provision are regulated at the local level, while employment policies usually remain in the national realm. One reason for this might be the political importance of unemployment in national political debates. Usually, national governments are accountable for this matter, which may lead them to keep this highly sensitive and strategic policy field under their own control.

3. Due to the increasing relevance of social services for social cohesion policies, a strong integration of different kinds of actors can be observed. There are many new relationships between different public-sector actors, between private and public sector actors, or between public and third-sector actors. However, even where a high level of policy coordination can be achieved among multiple actors, service provision often remains fragmented in practice due to organization-level barriers to service integration such as high caseloads, low service budgets, administrative overload, insufficient caseworker training, or strict profiling procedures and/or target group approaches.

4. In all countries, the conditionality applied towards benefit recipients has increased. Sanctions have been introduced for when clients miss an appointment or refuse to accept a suitable job. Most countries apply different degrees of sanctioning, depending on the severity of the breach. At the same time, the criteria defining a suitable job have been tightened in many countries. Also, more emphasis is being placed on the individual responsibility of unemployed persons to find work and flow off in all countries studied by LOCALISE.
Project Context and Objectives:
PROJECT CONTEXT: The FP7 research project LOCALISE investigated how different institutional and economic contexts shape local social cohesion policies. By social cohesion policies, we mean policies aimed at achieving social inclusion and equal opportunities even for the most disadvantaged groups in society, especially with regard to labour market participation. One characteristic of integrated social cohesion policies is that they rely on three aspects of policy integration, namely multi-dimensional, multi-level and multi-stakeholder integration. Multi-dimensionality implies that social cohesion policies are aimed at bringing together social and employment services more closely. The reason for integrating social policies with employment policies is that labour market participation for disadvantaged groups also depends on the provision of childcare, accessible health care, suitable training, and psycho-social counselling. Because integrated employment and social support thus ideally takes place in close proximity to the beneficiary, the local and individual level plays a crucial role for effective social cohesion policies. At the same time, European policy-making increasingly influences national policy-making, meaning that social cohesion policies thus operate in a multi-level context. Finally, when it comes to tailor-made service provision, different service providers have to be integrated. Public-private partnerships may offer a new way of organizing service provision more efficiently and in a tailor-made fashion, while the inclusion of social partners and civil-society organisations can increase the expert knowledge of policy-makers. To conclude, in a nutshell, the overall research question of LOCALISE can be summarised as follows: How do local public, private and non-governmental organisations deal with the challenge of achieving closer service coordination between different political levels, different types of service organisations, and different – often formerly separated – policy fields (in particular, social, employment and economic policy)?

MAIN OBJECTIVES: The leading research questions of LOCALISE were split up into six empirical work packages in which the following research objectives were pursued:

In WP2, the LOCALISE agenda was to analyse how different countries cope with the challenge of a multi-dimensional, multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach to social cohesion policy. Furthermore, it was aimed to develop a typology of existing varieties of the national governance of integrated social cohesion policies, which was to serve as an analytical frame of reference for subsequent work packages. More particularly, WP2 studied how different organisational arenas (job placement, unemployment benefits, education and training, family and childcare policies, debt counselling ...) different political levels (national, regional, local) and different actors (public, private and third-sector) relevant for integrated social cohesion policies are regulated at the national level, and how new institutional and organisational solutions for coordi¬nation problems inherent in integrated social cohesion policies are developed.

In WP3, LOCALISE sought to contribute to a better understanding of the material bases for the well-being of Europeans by the analysis of regional income and employment inequalities, as well as by multivariate and multilevel analyses of the socio-economic factors shaping regional and national patterns of income inequality in Europe. The research under WP3 was split up into three sub-objectives:
1. Providing an overview of recent patterns and subjective perceptions of income inequality in European regions and countries, thus providing a quantitative basis for debates on the risks for social cohesion;
2. Describing the influence of regional contextual factors on income and employment inequalities;
3. Analysing possible explanatory factors and the subjective perception of social inequalities in Europe (thereby also preparing the analysis of the situation of the most vulnerable target groups in subsequent work packages).
In contrast to most studies, WP3 did not only use regional or national average data but micro-data at the individual level (EU-SILC, LFS).

The goal of WP4 was to conduct a comprehensive international comparison of the organisational challenges associated with the local governance of social cohesion in Europe. Local policies, governance approaches and innovative practices of organising an integrated provision of employment and social services for vulnerable citizens were to be analysed. The key questions informing this work package were: How are social and employment policies linked organisationally at the local level? And which role does multi-level, multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional coordination play in this organisational context? Based on theoretical considerations emanating from the earlier work packages 2 and 3, WP4 aimed to develop a common analytical framework to function as a methodological reference point for empirical research on the local governance of active social cohesion policies in the six LOCALISE countries. The empirical research within WP4 consisted of in-depth case studies of three local entities per country, with the goal of identifying different local practices, dilemmas, conflicts and solutions in the area of social cohesion policies. Overall, the aim of the case studies was to analyse the effects of different organisational configurations on the provision of integrated employment and social services, leading to the identification of best practices at the local level. The case studies were to be based on a document analysis and 10-20 semi-structured interviews in each of the 18 European cities (three per country). As foreseen in the project timeline, WP4 started already in the first project period, in which the majority of the empirical work was accomplished in most consortium countries. The main task related to WP4 in project period 2 was to complete the in-depth comparative analysis within and across the six LOCALISE countries and to develop – closely linked to work package 5 – a typology of local modes of governing integrated social and employment policies in a multi-level systemic environment. This typology was furthermore intended to serve as a heuristic tool for the case selection and conceptual work in work packages 6 and 7.

The main objective of WP5 was to analyse the Europeanisation of inter-organisational, every-day practices in the governance of integrated social cohesion policies at the local level. The core questions to be answered in this work package were: Do EU socio-economic cohesion and employment policy tools, mutual learning processes and resources affect the local governance of social cohesion? If so, how do these programmes and processes contribute to changing the local and regional worlds of social cohesion? Do regions most in need profit, or do we see a ‘Matthew effect’? That is to say: are there any institutional capacities that serve as prerequisites for these policies, programmes and resources (such as the OMC, ESF and PROGRESS) to be successfully used by local actors? For answering these questions, WP5 again relied both on a document analysis and about 10 expert interviews per country. A common methodology developed by the work package leaders was to serve as a common framework for the empirical research. Based on key EU documents, this framework consisted first and foremost of identified EU tools and resources that local actors can potentially mobilise for promoting socio-economic cohesion and effective social policies. In a second step, the role of the EU in inducing procedural shifts, changed policy-making and the participation of new stakeholders in the provision of social and employment services at the local level were to be investigated in two local entities per country (namely, the under and over-performing cities from WP4).

In WP6, LOCALISE planned to identify the consequences of the wide-spread individualisation of policy interventions on the social construction of social citizenship. In trying to activate the most vulnerable and weakest groups of society, individualised social cohesion policies imply an inherent conflict: They create tensions between demands of market conformity and demands of individuality. Additionally, active and integrated social cohesion policies signify a change in the relationship between the state and its citizens, from state paternalism towards subjectification. In WP6, LOCALISE planned to analyse the ‘objective’ spectrum of choice provided by social cohesion policies as well as the construction of subjective social citizenship in personal encounters between vulnerable citizens and welfare caseworkers: To what extent do beneficiaries have the possibility for individual voice, autonomy and self-determination in the delivery of social cohesion policy? How do the beneficiaries and providers of social cohesion services individually perceive beneficiaries’ discretion for individual voice, autonomy and self-determination as citizens? To answer these questions, WP6 planned to build not only on a second round of analysing the interviews conducted under work package 5, but also to hold two focus-group discussions in one local case per country. The selection of this local case was to be carried out on the basis of the WP4 results. Furthermore, the empirical work of LOCALISE in WP6 was to be based on a joint methodological framework. In summary, the aim of WP6 was to (1) identify the consequences of the individualisation of policy interventions on the social construction of social citizenship; (2) outline, compare and assess the construction of self-reliant citizens in six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, UK); and (3) analyse both the ‘objective’ spectrum of choice that social cohesion policies provide and the construction of ‘subjective’ social citizenship.

Finally, the main objective of WP7 was to analyse the impact of integrated social and employment policies on the social inclusion and well-being of the most vulnerable groups in society. The core questions addressed by WP7 were: Do integrated social and employment policies address the specific problems of vulnerable groups? How do local experts perceive and evaluate the implementation of integrated social and employment policies? And how do they evaluate the impact of these policies on vulnerable citizens’ well-being, work prospects and participation in society? On the basis of the interviews conducted at the local level in WP4, coupled with one focus-group session per country (in the most innovative local entity from WP4), WP7 sought to identify on the one hand the groups most affected by risks of social exclusion, and on the other hand the effectiveness of the strategies und instruments chosen for reducing those risks. The empirical work was to be based on a joint methodological framework addressing three main vulnerable groups applicable to all six countries investigated by LOCALISE.
Project Results:
The research results of the six empirical work packages yielded several exploitable foregrounds such as interview transcripts, a document analysis and case studies that provide a valuable basis for scientific and policy-related publications, not only during the project period but also beyond. Below, an overview of the main research results, exploitable foregrounds, and hitherto realized peer-reviewed scientific publications of LOCALISE is given

In WP2, the LOCALISE agenda was to analyse how different countries cope with the challenge of a multi-dimensional, multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach to social cohesion. Consequently, the most relevant task of WP2 was to explain different national reform paths in the six LOCALISE countries that display different and distinct patterns of coordination, cooperation and partnerships in the field of integrated employment and social policies at the local level. Beyond this, WP2 aimed at delivering an analytical framework for the institutional context of local policies in governing integrated social cohesion policies. As the most significant result of WP2, “activation friendly-integration” in all six countries can be highlighted, which implies that different problems faced by vulnerable groups is systematically linked and coordinated at the national level in order to allow for holistic problem responses and the organisational integration of multiple policy-fields, actors and levels relevant for social cohesion policies. Furthermore, WP2 found that multi-dimensional service integration in the studied countries was shaped primarily by dominant national target group definitions aimed at tackling specific employment-related issue (a case in point is Sweden, where an effort is made to reintegrate people on sick leave into the labour market, thereby reinforcing the link between the employment and health policy fields). Interestingly, decentralisation often seems not to reach its objectives although decentralisation processes are visible in all LOCALISE countries. One reason for this may be that decentralisation processes often occur at the margins of the employment field. Also, an unclear division of responsibilities in decentralized policy contexts often contributes to difficulties in achieving integrated service provision at the implementation level. In sum, important changes have occurred regarding instruments and goals but institutions have not managed to implement very effective changes.
The role of horizontal coordination has increased as a means towards achieving integrated social and employment service provision – for instance via policy networks or the creation of one stop shops, i.e. joint ventures between several public service-providing organizations. Also the marketization of public services is a strategy that is used in several LOCALISE countries, but most especially in the UK. In order to provide more details on national approaches to the policy and governance of social cohesion in Europe, each country team prepared a national report on national worlds of integrated social and employment policies. Also, the work package leader (CED, Bordeaux) wrote a comparative report that was delivered to the European Commission and that is publicly available on the LOCALISE website (

The main objective of WP3 was to contribute to a better understanding of the material bases for the well-being of Europeans through the analysis of regional income and employment inequalities as well as through multivariate and multilevel analyses of the socio-economic factors shaping regional and national patterns of income inequality in Europe. To comply with this objective, CETRO – supported by the other partners – prepared an analysis of regional patterns and perceptions of social inequality in Europe, which was based on EU-SILC data for the period 2005-2010. The aim was to identify best-performing, under-performing and average regions in terms of social cohesion and labour market performance. Classifying countries and regions according to varieties of social cohesion and labour market performance was also the first Milestone of the LOCALISE project, serving as a pivotal heuristic for the project partners in selecting the local entities to be studied in WP4. As a second contribution, WP3 analysed regional social inequalities from a dynamic perspective via a multi-level analysis of longitudinal data (such as EU-SILC and LFS). As the main result of WP3, it can be highlighted that the level of disposable income in the enlarged EU is strongly influenced by the following national and subnational factors:

a. In particular a high level of employment and higher shares of employment in industry and in business-related and financial services have a positive impact on disposable income levels. A high proportion of industrial workers is particularly important for egalitarian income structures.
b. The welfare state, the qualification level of the population, the proportion of industrial employees and to a certain extent also trade unions, i.e. the traditional institutions of an industrial society, play an essential role in the equalization of income structures.
c. The global processes of economic integration, which are particularly intense in Europe, influence the level, but not the equality of distribution of disposable income. In particular, the increasing cross-border mobility of people and foreign direct investments are associated with higher incomes.

A paper on ‘Regional patterns and perceptions of social inequalities in Europe’ has been produced on the basis of these findings. The paper is available publicly on the LOCALISE website (

WP4 had the objective to investigate the organizational dimension of integrated local social and employment policies – the core interest of the LOCALISE project. The main result from WP4 is that local worlds of active social cohesion vary not only between, but also within countries in Europe. National employment systems strongly – but not fully – shape the governance of social cohesion at the local level. In particular, our analysis reveals that local welfare organisations responsible for the labour market integration of vulnerable unemployed choose two main ways of integrating employment services such as placement support, job counselling, or vocational training with social services like childcare, housing support, drug counselling or debt counselling: (a) service integration (implying holistic service provision via single organisations or systematic inner-organisational referral procedures), and (b) stakeholder integration (implying inter-organisational collaboration among public, private and third-sector actors). As expected, service integration is particularly high at the local level in Germany because integrated service provision is written into the organisational design of the German Jobcenters. However and more surprisingly, service integration is also high in Sweden due to local-level service coordination between the Public Employment Service and municipalities within so-called coordination unions. Not only managers, but even front-line workers are involved in the inter-organisational coordination of employment and social services in Swedish cities, leading to a high level of service integration in spite of the formal separation between the PES and municipal service provision. On the opposite, especially in Italy but also in France and to some degree in Poland, local organisations dealing with vulnerable unemployed overcome the ‘missing link’ between social and employment services in the respective national administrative frameworks via close cooperation with other actors at the local level, such as religious charity organisations or trade unions (so-called stakeholder integration). Finally, in the UK but also in one Polish municipality, we observed a fragmentation of the local provision of social and employment services. However, it should be borne in mind that no sufficient data are available on the extent to which private Work Programme providers link social and employment services in daily practice in the UK, due to the UK government’s black-box approach that leaves the work practices of Work Programme providers largely unmonitored.

The aim of WP5 was to investigate the role of European policies in local social cohesion approaches, thereby amending the national, regional and local-level studies on the governance of integrated social and employment policies in a multi-level context conducted under WP2, 3, and 4. The main results from WP5 show that EU financial resources are by far perceived as the most crucial EU resources at the local level. In particular, the structural funds and more specifically the ESF hold the most significant share among the locally-used EU financial resources. EU financial resources are the main vehicle for disseminating the EU’s policy perspective and spread EU policy ideas. Furthermore, local actors not only have an incentive to adopt EU policy ideas and discourses in order to gain access to EU funds, but also “absorb” these ideas by participating in EU projects, developing new working methods, managerial styles, policy approaches, etc. Nevertheless, with no exception in any of the local cases analysed, the respondents emphasized the extent to which the effects of these projects are often impermanent and temporary rather than structural, and participating in them often results in a large (and unpaid) work and responsibility overload for public bureaucrats. In fact, EU procedures and monitoring mechanisms are almost unanimously considered as being too rigid and were described as cogent, burdensome, prosaic, pedestrian, ridiculous, disproportionate, etc. Therefore, excessive bureaucratization and “burdens of formality” contribute to making Europe a distant, abstract, and far-away, if not “inaccessible”, entity in the perception of local policy-makers. EU political resources, and consequently legitimizing usages, did not come out as relevant at the local level, with the only exceptions of the Italian and the Polish cases. In particular, in Poland, financial and cognitive resources are often played as political resources to increase the role and significance of the regional political level against the sub-regional and municipal level in inter-institutional multi-level games; accordingly, blame avoidance mechanisms are employed in legitimizing usages of EU policies to augment the inter-institutional weight of the regional level vis-à-vis others. Likewise, in Italy, blame avoidance mechanisms and discursive references to the EU and the Italian government as constraints on financial room for manoeuver at the local level are often encountered. Hence, one can infer that European resources and their corresponding usages (especially other than strategic) are strongly linked to politics. In a nutshell, WP5 found that policy development is likely to cover a much broader spectrum of EU resources and usages than policy implementation and service delivery at the local level. As a result, due to the centralization of policy formulation in the area of social cohesion, national and to some extent regional actors mobilize more European resources (and with more intensity) than sub-national actors. Hence, the overwhelming importance of financial EU resources and the strategic usage thereof detected at the local level should not come as a surprise.

In WP6, the aim of LOCALISE was to identify the consequences of the individualisation of policy interventions in the area of social cohesion policy on the social construction of social citizenship. Thus, WP6 investigated to what extent beneficiaries/clients have possibilities for individual voice, autonomy and self-determination in the local delivery of social cohesion policies. WP6 also looked into the ‘objective’ spectrum of choice that social cohesion policies provide, and the construction of ‘subjective’ social citizenship, i.e. how individual beneficiaries perceive their discretion for individual voice, autonomy and self-determination as citizens. Finally, WP6 investigated the extent to which interventions are truly individualised (in contrast to standardised) and tailored to individuals’ needs or interests.
The main results of WP6 show that under the contemporary labour market policy paradigm, individuals are placed at the centre of attention as concerns activation. However, the ideal of individualisation plays out differently in the policy and practice of nation-states and regions: A first aspect explored concerns the individualisation of policy interventions, according to which services are expected to be adjusted to individual circumstances in order to increase their effectiveness. On this point, WP6 found that interventions that are focused on activating the individual during the unemployment spell have been made more pronounced. Furthermore, there is a trend towards the dualization of policy interventions, where ‘normal jobseekers’ get more standardised interventions than those belonging to specific target groups, who can more easily access tailor-made measures (especially in Sweden, Germany, Italy, Poland). The organisational dimension plays a significant role in how the individualisation of services plays out in practice. High caseloads and resource constraints constitute organizational barriers to individual interventions in all local cases studied, but most so in the Polish and Italian cases. Moreover, the cases studied reveal the strengthening of a ‘work-first’ approach, implemented through interventions with a focus on job-search, job-matching and referrals and putting great emphasis on the motivation and job-search behaviour of the individual jobseeker. Here, early profiling, counselling and the creation of individual action plans play an important role. This is typically followed by enhanced monitoring, seeking information on the job-search activities and unemployment status of the individual. A second aspect of individualisation concerns the definition of reciprocal responsibilities in service delivery. It is assumed that agreeing on a ‘contract’ increases the chances of the beneficiary taking an active role in the process of welfare production. In this logic, the individual jobseeker and beneficiary is treated as an active agent and individual with clear responsibilities concerning labour employment and self-reliance. The reciprocity involved thus shifts the weight of activation onto the individual, who is expected to show the necessary actions for enhancing employability. The degree to which this takes place, as well as the way in which it is articulated, varies between countries and regional cases. A third aspect of individualisation studied in WP6 is the increased emphasis on individual agency and individual responsibility. In this definition, individualisation means that new forms of control are imposed on the individual via new governance arrangements as instruments for public authorities to steer, control or discipline individuals. Individualisation thus has implications for the division of risks and responsibilities between the state, enterprises, families and individuals, and thus for the meaning of social citizenship. A fourth dimension of individualisation concerns the relation between legibility and eligibility. At a general level, our research reveals a close link between eligibility and legibility. Individualisation resides on making the unemployed ‘legible’, i.e. ‘readable’ and ‘visible’ along relevant bureaucratic dimensions. Legibility procedures play a significant role in the allocation of benefits and services. They assist in enforcing eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits and services, and thus guide access to active labour market measures. Whilst the stricter enforcement of eligibility criteria may motivate and mobilise some beneficiaries, heavy administrative requirements for reporting, attendance, or participation as a condition for benefit receipt may also deter some claims and increase exit rates from benefit. In a nutshell, the results of WP6 suggest that social citizenship as it is articulated in the contemporary European labour market is being remodelled in terms of its socio-cultural dimensions.

The main objective of WP7 was to analyse the impact of integrated social and employment policies on the social inclusion and well-being of the most vulnerable groups in society. The main results of WP7 show that in most LOCALISE countries, the institutions dealing with long-term unemployed represent highly bureaucratised environments in which case managers are not only obliged to follow detailed regulations, but also are constantly evaluated in their work via a system of performance indicators. In order to perform their tasks, frontline staff must make an effort to “fit” individuals into pre-existent administrative categories in order to legitimise access to special resources or programmes, reserved in some of countries for legally defined vulnerable groups. Moreover, with the multiplication of administrative distinctions between service users, the introduction of computer-based assessment tools, and psychological tests as well as profiling procedures, only well-trained and more experienced caseworkers are able to manoeuver in this complex system. Furthermore, frontline staff’s autonomy in relation to clients is constraint by a limited amount and applicable range of resources. In the case of long-term unemployed, we observe an increasing conditionality of social rights. Hence, in local practice, the coordination of services serves not only the empowerment of citizens, but also or even primarily social control. Long-term unemployed persons often lack information about how the complex system of service provision works and they are dependent in this respect on street-level bureaucrats, for whom it is advantageous to retain control over administrative processes. Reforms aiming at the coordination of services only sometimes and under specific conditions create a more transparent system for users. Many interviewed unemployed were officially assigned to a personal advisor, but in practice s/he was often inaccessible due to difficult working conditions or staff turnover. Therefore, practices often differ from the official notion of case management. However, it should also be stressed that due to only one local case being investigated per country for WP7, the qualitative analysis presented here is of an explorative nature.

Based on these main research results, EXPLOITABLE FOREGROUNDS were prepared that serve as a pool of information for both scientific and policy-oriented publications in the project period and beyond. The exploitable foregrounds emanating from LOCALISE consist of three main categories:

FIRST, a detailed document analysis for each of the six LOCALISE countries providing further insights into the local organization of integrated social cohesion policies across Europe;

SECOND, several case studies conducted for the different work packages:
a. one national case study per country on the national governance of integrated social cohesion policy (WP2),
b. three local case studies per country on the local governance of social cohesion policies (WP4),
c. three local case studies per country on the usages of Europe (WP5),
d. one case study per country on the individualization of interventions (WP6), and
e. one local case study per country on the impact of an integrated approach to social cohesion (WP7);

THIRD, 475 anonymized transcripts of interviews in native languages with policy-makers, public officials, private stakeholders and third-sector actors in the area of local social cohesion policies. The transcripts have been shared among all consortium members. Rules for the ethical use of the anonymized interview transcripts have been agreed upon by all consortium members.

The exploitable foreground of the FP7 project LOCALISE has been processed not only for project deliverables, but also for a number of scientific publications (alongside two European Policy Briefs). We expect to continue to exploit the LOCALISE material for scientific and social policy-oriented publications for the duration of the next 2-5 years.

At present, the following five PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS have already appeared in scientific journals:

(1) “European worlds of inclusive activation: The organisational challenges of coordinated service provision” by Martin Heidenreich & Patrizia Aurich-Beerheide. International Journal of Social Welfare (Article first published online on 27 July 2014; D.O.I.: 10.1111/ijsw.12098)

ABSTRACT: For activation policies to succeed, the provision of social services in addition to labour-market services is essential, as social services are a prerequisite for integrating groups with complex social problems into the labour market. Activation policies based on social services can be termed inclusive. They require not only a sufficient financial basis, but also governance structures that deal with the organisational challenges associated with coordinated service provision, including fragmented competences and conflicts between different political arenas and territorial levels. This article analyses the capacity of five countries − Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK − to provide coordinated labour-market and social services from a multidimensional, multilevel and multi-stakeholder perspective. The findings show that coordinated service provision requires profound changes to national and local governance structures. Future research should take into account the organisational challenges of integrating social and employment services.
Key Practitioner Message: The coordinated provision of employment and social services is an important precondition for integrating long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged groups into the labour market.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in the International Journal of Social welfare (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

(2) “Towards ‘activation-friendly’ integration? Assessing the progress of activation policies in six European countries” by Thierry Berthet & Clara Bourgeois. International Journal of Social Welfare (Article first published online on 31 March 2014, D.O.I.: 10.1111/ijsw.12088)
ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, we have seen the development of a range of active labour market and social policies. In this article, we present an analytical framework (Activation-Friendly Integration, AFI) in order to analyse these policies through the lens of their integration. AFI provides a synthetic analysis of the nature and intensity of the changes brought about by developments in the fields of employment and social cohesion policies. The core components of AFI are territorialisation, cross-sectoriality, conditionality/individualisation and contractualisation/marketisation. These key concepts are discussed on the basis of six national governance schemes implemented over the last decade, with regard to the levels, dimensions and actors involved. This comparison of French, British, Swedish, German, Italian and Polish activation policies points at a problematic misfit when the public is targeted for activation policies and there is a stronger use of tools for profiling and filtering beneficiaries, a greater reliance on contracting processes and a paradigmatic shift in the conception of welfare states' aims, tools and organisations.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in the International Journal of Social welfare (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

(3) “Towards standby-ability: Swedish and Danish activation policies in flux” by Mattias Bengtsson. International Journal of Social Welfare (Article first published online on 16 January 2014, D.O.I.: 10.1111/ijsw.12075)
ABSTRACT: The article analyses Scandinavian activation policies through the study of Swedish and Danish labour market policies since the early 1990s. Active labour market policies have been an important component in the social investment policies of the Scandinavian countries, defined as ‘an active corner’ in Europe. In this study of the trajectories of Swedish and Danish labour market policies during the last two decades, I examined official documents and analysed OECD data on public expenditures on labour market programmes. The analysis shows that institutional change of activation policies has increasingly developed towards an incentive-strengthening, work-first approach. The policy development, specifically in the case of Sweden, is here conceptualised as demands on ‘standby-ability’, a specific policy configuration of stricter work incentives, contractualisation of citizenships rights, less generous unemployment benefits and less costly forms of activation.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in the International Journal of Social welfare (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

(4) “Local worlds of marketization: Employment policies in Germany, Italy and the UK compared” by Katharina Zimmermann, Patrizia Aurich, Paolo Graziano & Vanesa Fuertes . Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 48/Issue 2 (D.O.I.: 10.1111/spol.12053)
ABSTRACT: The majority of the European countries have experienced a turn towards activation policies during the last two decades (Serrano Pascual and Magnusson 2007; van Berkel and Borghi 2008; Bonoli 2010; Aurich 2011; Graziano 2009 and 2012). The interlinked aim to increase employment rates by integrating formerly excluded groups into the labour market requires new forms of governance and new structures of policy implementation. One of these policy changes concerns the marketization of employment and social services (Considine 2001; Newman 2001), an important part of policy delivery in most welfare states although in very different forms and extents. Since the local level plays a crucial role in delivering policies (Künzel 2012; Green and Orton 2012), an important element, and the main focus of the article, is the level of discretion of local actors and their relation to activation interventions.
This article draws on the findings of three qualitative case studies on the organization of activation policies in three most different countries regarding worlds of welfare: Germany, Italy and the UK. It develops a theoretical framework of regulating marketization in regard to activation, and analyses the three empirical cases according to it. The findings show a link between the regulation of market-based interventions (i.e. type of marketization, outsourcing decisions and purchaser-provider split) and the level of discretion for local actors with regard to these measures. Local contexts of policy-making and their suitability and willingness to become marketized will affect the usage of local discretion.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in Social Policy and Administration (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

(5) “Between cooperation and competition: The organisation of employment service delivery in the UK and Germany” by Vanesa Fuertes, Bastian Jantz, Tanja Klenk & Ronald McQuaid. International Journal of Social Welfare (Article first published online on 7 August 2014, D.O.I.: 10.1111/ijsw.12100)

ABSTRACT: The increased emphasis on labour market activation in many European countries has led to new forms of governance in recent decades. Primarily through qualitative data and document analysis, this article compares the restructuring of labour market service delivery in the UK and Germany. The comparison suggests the emergence of complex governance arrangements that seek to balance public regulation and accountability with the creation of room for market competition. As a result, we can observe in both countries a greater use of markets, but also of rules. While in both countries the relationships between different providers of labour market services can best be described as a mixture of cooperation and competition, differences exist in terms of instruments and the comprehensiveness of coordination initiatives. The findings suggest that the distinctions between governance models may be more important in theory than in practice, although the combinations of theoretical forms vary in different circumstances.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in the International Journal of Social welfare (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

In addition to these published articles, two articles based on LOCALISE research have already been accepted for publication by peer-reviewed scientific journals. These are:

(6) “Lost in activation? The governance of activation policies in Europe” by Martin Heidenreich and Paolo Graziano. International Journal of Social Welfare.

ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, activation has become a rather fashionable European trend for policies in the area of welfare and work, facilitating the job inclusion especially of the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged groups. The activation paradigm implies important challenges for related policy fields and the organisational provision of individualised, client-centred training, skills development and counselling services. The main aim of this special issue is to shed new light on the ways through which activation strategies have been translated in policies and new governance arrangements. More specifically, the six papers in this special issue deal with two essential challenges of current activation policies: a) The tightrope walk between cost-effectiveness and comprehensive support; b) the different facets and combinations of systemic coordination, collaboration, marketisation, decentralisation and individualisation.

OPEN ACCESS could unfortunately not be realized due to publisher’s licensing agreement, the lack of a suitable open access journal and a lack of available funds for publishing open access in the International Journal of Social welfare (would cost $ 3,000 per article).

(7) “Stakeholder participation and policy integration in local social and employment policies: Germany and Italy compared” by Patrizia Aurich-Beerheide, Serida Catalano, Paolo Graziano & Katharina Zimmermann. Journal of European Social Policy, most likely forthcoming in Vol. 25/Issue 3 (2015).

ABSTRACT: The majority of the European countries experienced a turn towards activation policies during the last decades. The interlinked aim to increase employment rates of groups formerly excluded from the labour market requires a closer link of training, family or social policies with employment policy. As a result of this we can observe modifications also in regards to policy governance, emphasising especially the role of the local level in implementing integrated activation policies. This paper aims at testing the hypothesis whether higher levels of stakeholder participation in the policy process lead to greater policy integration. In an explorative manner, the research hypothesis will be tested with reference to two most different cases of local activation policy. Driving factors for the differential impact of participation on policy integration will be identified through the analysis of two in-depth case-studies. A qualitative neo-institutional process tracing method is used in order to conduct our analysis.

OPEN ACCESS could be realized: The publisher agreed that the article can be published on the public website of the University of Oldenburg, Department of Social Sciences, as well as on the personal staff webpages of the authors.

Potential Impact:
The LOCALISE research has been geared not only towards the scientific community, but also and especially towards the policy-makers and administrators responsible for designing local social cohesion policies. The key message to policy-makers emanating from LOCALISE is that the coherent and effective coordination of employment and social services at the local level is a NECESSARY condition for the social inclusion of vulnerable citizens. However, although some national employment systems in Europe already foresee such a link, this does not necessarily guarantee good implementation at the local level. The following key obstacles to effective local service coordination were identified by LOCALISE:

1. A lack of resources and/or opportunities to pool resources among organisations (due to heterogeneous targets and/or fragmented organisational landscapes),
2. No clear network leadership, no clear procedural rules,
3. No joint inter-organisational objectives (e.g. employability vs. broader social inclusion/‘life first’),
4. A lacking autonomy of local public actors in service design.

Network builders among local organisations providing social and employment services should therefore take into account:

a. The heterogeneous problems disadvantaged persons are facing, such as low qualifications, debt, mental or physical illness, substance abuse, etc.
b. Local peculiarities both in terms of target groups and service-providing actors,
c. A comprehensive overview of all local organisations, networks, and stakeholders providing individualised services, with the goal of achieving coherent coordination among them,
d. Awareness that not only clear responsibilities, but also sufficient resources and discretion in resource-pooling, data-sharing and the usage of instruments is necessary for achieving commitment among partners and a high-quality and efficient co-production of targeted measures.

These basic principles should be supported by policy initiatives and policy-makers at all political-administrative levels.

At the LOCAL level, public officials can initiate platforms for the start-up, expansion, or consolidation of inter-organisational networks in order to better coordinate social and employment services. Here, it is of crucial relevance to take into account local specificities in terms of disadvantaged groups, labour markets, and demographic patterns. Furthermore, local peculiarities should be recognised regarding the involvement of different stakeholders and organisations. If related networks or informal coordination structures already exist, it is of crucial relevance to build forth on such structures and integrate them into new strategies and plans. A clear responsibility for meetings schedules, communication etc. is essential and should be ensured by the local authorities.

At the REGIONAL level, networks among employers, trade unions and other stakeholders should be reinforced and closely linked to the above-mentioned local platforms. Again, public officials should act as stable brokers for triggering sustainable and effective coordination.

At the NATIONAL level, administrative frameworks must be streamlined towards linking social and employment services more closely. This requires not only a legal basis for service integration, but also targeted resources, data-systems etc. Furthermore, it is crucial to achieve inter-ministerial coordination between various policy fields affecting employment issues such as family policy, education policy, or social policy. Also systematic consultations with civil society organisations and NGOs during the policy-making process are important.

Finally, at the EUROPEAN level, policy-makers should ensure that EU policy initiatives and ESF funds trigger sustainable service integration down to the local level. This might be achieved by establishing local multi-stakeholder observatories that serve not only as policy development platforms, but also as communication channels between policy practitioners and the EU.

In order to disseminate the main findings of LOCALISE to a wider audience of academics, policy-makers, practitioners and the general public, the following dissemination activities and materials were undertaken/prepared by the LOCALISE members:

The partners have been very active in presenting the research conducted in the framework of LOCALISE at international conferences as well as several international PhD events (see the Core of the Periodic Report on Project Period 2 for a comprehensive list of conference presentations). In addition, several LOCALISE-based research papers have been accepted for conferences taking place after the end of the project, such as the 12th ESPAnet conference in Oslo (September 2014).

Most LOCALISE-based conference papers have been or are planned to be published in high-quality scientific journals. Due to the tight timeline of the project, which meant that empirical research and data analysis were ongoing almost until the end of the project, LOCALISE has only recently started to publish its empirical findings. By now, five journal articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, two papers are already accepted but not yet published (see the Core of the Periodic Report on Project Period 2 for a comprehensive list of scientific publications). More articles are currently under review or in the process of being submitted to journals. LOCALISE expects a high publication output for 2015, since all partners are very committed to disseminating the project’s findings to the scientific community.

The LOCALISE consortium is currently working intensively on a manuscript for an edited volume on ‘Integrating Social and Employment Policies in Europe: Active Inclusion and Challenges for Local Welfare Governance’ (to be published with Edward Elgar). Next to a conceptual and empirical introduction, the book will consist of six detailed country chapters and four comparative chapters on the European, national, local and individual level of integrated social and employment policies. The book is due to be published in 2015.

Three PhD theses are going to be finalized in 2014 and 2015 on the basis of LOCALISE-foreground: Clara Bourgeois (CED), “Challenges of cross-sectorial employment policies: The implementation of labour market integration programs for migrants”; Vanesa Fuertes (ENU), “The urban and national governance of active labour market policies in the UK”; and Katharina Zimmermann (CETRO), “Europeanisation by structural funding? The impact of financial incentives on local social and employment policies in Europe”.

A summer school for PhD candidates was organized jointly with three other FP7 projects (COPE, FLOWS, WILCO) in Barcelona on 10-12 June 2013. The summer school provided an excellent opportunity for both project-affiliated and external PhD students to discuss their work with senior researchers. The Doctoral School of Social Science, Aalborg University (project coordinator of FLOWS) bore the overall responsibility for the event.

On 30-31 August 2012, LOCALISE organized a “Conference on Integrated Employment and Activation Policies in a Multilevel Welfare System” in Milan. The conference was based on 15 contributions from international researchers all over Europe. Of 15 papers, 6 were selected for a special issue to be published in the International Journal of Social Welfare.

Three LOCALISE PhD-students (Clara Bourgeois, Vanesa Fuertes and Katharina Zimmermann) organised a LOCALISE early-stage researchers conference on “Delivering Integrated Employment Policies – Cross-Sectorial Policies in Practice” in Bordeaux, France on 12-13 May 2014.

LOCALISE initiated a joint scientific conference with five other FP7 projects (COPE, FLOWS, ImPRovE, INSPIRES, WILCO) on the topic “Towards Inclusive Employment and Welfare Systems: Challenges for a Social Europe”. The conference is organised by CETRO and will take place in Berlin on 9-10 October 2014 ( A central aim of the conference is to strengthen cooperation among various FP7 projects and to disseminate the projects’ findings to the wider scientific community.

CETRO organised a joint FP7 policy & research conference on the topic of “Building inclusive welfare systems: A dialogue between research and practice”. The conference took place in Brussels on 5 June 2014, involving presentations from LOCALISE, COPE, FLOWS and WILCO). A broad audience of policy officials, NGO workers and academics attended this successful event.

A LOCALISE Midterm Workshop was held at the Committee of Regions in Brussels on 28 February and 1 March 2013. The Midterm Workshop consisted of two parts: a scientific workshop dedicated to a project-internal exchange between the six country teams and the Scientific Advisory Committee of LOCALISE; and a policy workshop focusing on the implications of the preliminary LOCALISE research result for policy development, in which the interested public, policy-makers and stakeholders could participate.

All partners hosted two meetings with their National Stakeholder Committees consisting of relevant organizations in the field of employment and social policy (for example representatives from ministries, public employment services, welfare associations, trade unions, and others). The meetings were organized not only to disseminate the research findings of LOCALISE, but also to ensure a research approach that adequately reflects the reality of the chosen policy fields.

The country teams involved in LOCALISE launched a series of Local Authority Meetings in which the research results were presented to the local stakeholders interviewed for the various work packages (either one combined or three separate local authority meeting[s] per country). The local authority meetings have been a great success and were highly valued by the participants from different policy areas connected to an integrated provision of employment and social services at the local level – the key research interest of LOCALISE. Also for us researchers, it has been highly beneficial to discuss our findings with practical experts as well as to explore potential areas of future research that are important not only from an academic perspective, but also from the perspective of professionals in the field. In France, the local authority meeting has been replaced by a practitioner-oriented report to be published in the series “Cahiers du Centre Emile Durkheim” in order to reach a larger audience of public officials.

CETRO published two European policy briefs on “The Local Dimension of Integrated Social and Employment Policies: Policy Implications for Organising Social Cohesion Policies in European Welfare States” and “How the Governance of Employment Systems Affects Social Cohesion: Lessons and Local Best Practices from Six European Countries”. The Policy Briefs are available on the website of the European Commission as well as on the LOCALISE website (

In total, four editions of the newsletter appeared during the project period. The newsletter was e-mailed to a broad range of stakeholders, interview partners, scientists and other interested persons. The newsletter has also been published on the project website.

Flyers and posters in English and other languages were prepared and continually updated to inform our interview partners and the interested public on the project. Press releases have also been launched, as well as news releases on university websites.

CETRO has maintained the project website ( where project reports, conference activities, meetings, relevant sources, and information on the project, the country teams and other information can be found.

CETRO has maintained the Facebook page of LOCALISE to reach a broader audience (

List of Websites:

Contact details:

For full contact details, please be referred to the attached pdf file