The City Strategy aims to improve support to the jobless, in the most disadvantaged communities across the UK, through a bottom-up approach that devolves more decision and funding powers to the local level.
Host Country : United Kingdom
Place and date : 6. - 7.7.2009
Peer countries : Austria - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - France - Greece - Latvia - Lithuania - Norway - Portugal - Serbia
Stakeholders : ESN, Eurocities
The idea is to test how best to combine the work of government agencies, local government agencies, the private sector and voluntary associations in a concerted partnership and to test whether local stakeholders can deliver more by combining their efforts behind shared priorities alongside more freedom to innovate. The aim is to provide the support jobless people need to find and progress in work by ensuring that local employment and skills provision services are tailored to the needs of both local employers and residents. The host country hopes that it will contribute to the UK Government's long-term aims of increasing the number of people in work and tackling child poverty.
Pilot projects have been launched in 15 `Pathfinder' areas (mainly major cities and other urban areas, where employment levels are furthest from the UK's 80% target) and Ministers have agreed to continue the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) support for all Pathfinders until March 2011.
All Pathfinders agreed to set themselves standard targets in terms of reducing the number of people on out-of-work benefits and increasing the local employment rate. Also where areas have a significant ethnic minority population DWP also agreed an additional local target on reducing the numbers of ethnic minorities out of work.
Initial appraisal of the programme, which has been allocated £65m (around EUR 70-75m) in government funding from 2007 to 2009, has found that it acts as a catalyst in enhancing coordination between local activities and national policy, increasing the priority give to reducing unemployment, including increasing local resource both financially and in terms of staff capacity, and making those involved feel more accountable for achieving targets.
Ms Katja Korolkova (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)