Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Database of labour market practices

This database gathers practices in the field of employment submitted by European countries for the purposes of mutual learning. These practices have proven to be successful in the country concerned, according to its national administration. The European Commission does not have a position on the policies or measures mentioned in the database.

Norway Visitation process
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Original Title: Visitas
Country: Norway
Responsible body: Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service
Name(s) of other organisations involved (partners / sub-contractors): Norwegian Jobcentres (NAV-offices); Plusconfidence (Consultancy)
Start Year of implementation: 2010
End Year of implementation: Ongoing
EU policy relevance:

The measure is in line with the Europe 2020 strategy and in particular with the flagship initiatives “An agenda for new skills and new jobs”. It aims to supports the creation of ‘learning networks’ and enhance the management of labour and welfare service. Hence this initiative is in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy by supporting the target to achieve a 75% growth rate of employment for men and women.

National labour market context:

In Norway a quarter of the working age population is off work. Consequently, the amount of money spent on disability and sickness benefits in Norway is considerably higher compared to other countries. On average, OECD countries spend approximately 2% of GDP, while in Norway these costs reached 5%. This despite the very low unemployment rate (2.5%) of the country.

To tackle this challenging situation in 2006 a reform was implemented to establish the Norwegian Labour and Service (NAV), which merged the National Employment Services, National Insurance Services and Social Welfare/Social Assistance.

The overall aim of the reform was to ensure streamlined services, improve coordination at the delivery point and minimise transactions between agencies.

Policy area: Active labour market policies, Labour market functioning and segmentation, Labour market participation
Specific policy or labour market problem being addressed:

The main problem being addressed was the explicit need to integrate the different institutions merged as a result of the reform of the welfare system. Successful integration required an appropriate “place” able to bring together people working for different institutions and to share knowledge and information. In this context the visitation process was regarded as a tool to promote mutual learning.

Aims and objectives of the policy or measure:

In the context of the public reform implemented in 2006, the aim of the visitation measure was to create a network able to bring together different initiatives (e.g. leadership initiatives, development initiatives, corporate governance) through a formulated practical and consistent approach.

The visitation process consisted of a “peer to peer” visit from managers to review the organisation state of affairs and governance structures. The objectives of the process were usually tailored to the needs identified in the office.

Main activities / actions underpinning the policy or measure:

The visitation process is as a voluntary support tool. The process started with the request of a “visitation” implemented by a job centre-NAV.

The preparation phase started with a review with the relevant managers/participants. This included discussion and selection of relevant topics, areas for potential improvement and a contextual analysis of the particular NAV office. In addition to the host manager and participating visiting managers (from other NAV offices) each network could appoint a contact person to provide assistance in running the network but without interfering in the work of the local managers.

After the preparation phase, the process kicked off with a network meeting between the host participant and the network participants (networking phase). This initial meeting was followed by a number of meetings between network participants and relevant staff at the host office. This process could also involve the visit of a “mystery guest” to discuss about pre-defined topics. These meetings led to a workshop at the host office to review combined findings and suggest concrete and achievable measures. Moreover the participants prepared a report outlining the visitation process and the suggested measures for improvement. This report was a central part in any improvement and development plans and was also discussed in partnership meetings.

The establishment of this “learning network” allowed follow-up through regular meetings and created a circle of continuous improvement and development.

Geographical scope of policy or measure: National
Target groups: Long-term unemployed (more than 12 months), People not in education, employment or training (NEETs), Older workers and unemployed (aged 50 to 64 years)
Outputs and outcomes of the policy or measure:

The visitation process was perceived both as a tool to strengthening the NAV management in the context of a wider public reform and to achieve NAV goals through the operationalization of its objectives.

The process was implemented in sixteen out of nineteen NAV-counties. These counties used visitations as an instrument for learning and improvement. The results were evaluated through a scoreboard. It was observed that the performance of the participating counties improved significantly. According to the managers this improvement was mainly due to the involvement in the visitation process.

Furthermore, through the network created, it was possible to identify common challenges and provide tools able to address the issues faced by the single offices.

In the local offices the process improved working relationships with the municipal services and the public in general.
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