New Modes of Governance in the Dutch Reintegration Market: Analyzing the Process of Contracting Out
ASPEN/ETUI-REHS Conference, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, March 20-21, 2009
32 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2010
Date Written: March 31, 2009
Today many welfare states have undergone a transformation, and the focus of their efforts has shifted towards activating and enabling, where the promotion of labor participation is the principal aim. One of the components of the welfare state that has been subjected to a shift in governance is the provision of activation services, where the use of contracts as a governance tool has gained foothold.
In the Dutch context, the contract has become a primary tool for realizing policy goals and safeguarding public interest, on the Dutch employment reintegration market. Moreover, in the Dutch context the tender documents are the cornerstone of the contractual relation that governs the delivery of employment reintegration services through private actors. One of the challenges the use of the market brings with it, relates to conveying preferences about how and which policy goals should be realized and under which conditions.
The aim of this paper is to examine, in an exploratory fashion, how contractual relations between municipalities and service providers are shaped through the tender documents and contracts. Examining the service policy goals that are being formulated and under which conditions service should be delivered. In addition, we want to see how the operational responsibility is shaped in the contracts. The results show that while municipalities buy a wide variety of services, they opt to buy them in a modular fashion. Furthermore, much of the responsibility and decision-making prerogatives, in relation to service delivery, is kept in the hands of municipal case managers. Finally, in the specifications drawn up for service delivery there remains a strong focus on stipulating process requirements. Something that is reminiscent of more traditional governance arrangements.
Keywords: Contracting-out, welfare to work, employment re-integration, privatisation, welfare reform, Netherlands
JEL Classification: I3, I38, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation