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Peer Review in Riga on 'Activation measures in times of crisis: the role of public works'

22/05/2012 Peer Review in Riga on 'Activation measures in times of crisis: the role of public works'

The Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia, in collaboration with the State Employment Service, hosted a Peer Review in Riga that brought together ministry officials and independent experts from twelve countries (Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Romania) as well as representatives from DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission and the World Bank.

The Workplace with Stipend Emergency Public Works Programme (WWS) was a short-term crisis measure, designed swiftly by Latvian Ministry of Welfare and the State Employment Agency (Latvian PES), in close collaboration with municipalities, and with the World Bank. The aim of the measure was two-fold: firstly, to retain long-term unemployed in the labour market, in order to help them maintain their professional skills and lower the risk of inactivity and social exclusion for them during a period of little or no job creation; and secondly, to strengthen the social safety net in order to reduce the impact and the severe social consequences of the economic crisis.

An impact evaluation of the Programme was carried out with the World Bank technical
assistance, and it confirmed effective targeting, high customer satisfaction and satisfactory administration and implementation, although the programme’s scale was small relative to demand. It was found to have a positive effect on work motivation and subjective well-being of the unemployed participants, as well as on maintaining, and in some cases acquiring, work skills.

The WWS Emergency Public Works Programme existed until the end of 2011, when it was
replaced by a modified regular Temporary Public Works Programme.

The main conclusions of the Peer Review can be found on the website of the Mutual Learning Programme.