Chapter 7: Evidence of good practice |
EU measures to share good practice
137. This Chapter considers the extent to which
stakeholders at all levels are engaged in sharing and learning
from good practice and to what extent, if any, this improved the
effectiveness of measures to address youth unemployment.
138. The EU institutions have long-established
methods of sharing good practice amongst Member States, such as,
the Open Method of Coordination (OMC),
mutual learning programmes and other policies.
On the specific issue of youth unemployment, witnesses drew our
attention to the European Commission's published compilations
of good practice
and a number of events that the European Commission has organised
in recent years to facilitate the two-way "transfer of learning"
that takes place between Member States and other stakeholders.
Commissioner Andor said that the European Commission itself tries
to learn from practice elsewhere and that it works with the ILO
to develop the EU's policies in this way.
The European Commission's Recommendation for the creation of an
EU-wide Youth Guarantee (see Chapter 3, Box 4) is itself based
on successful practice from Nordic Member States.
139. The UK Government said that they looked
to countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Austria
for ideas, but they emphasised the importance of looking for good
practice internationally, whether it came from within or outside
the EU. They said they found the OECD's work more useful and market-oriented
as compared to that of the EU and preferable to "an attempt
to co-ordinate policy from Brussels".
Birmingham City Council said, "there are an awful lot of
things that you can learn from other places" and that this
learning could take place at the level of local bodies, within
regions and territories, as well as between Member States.
EFFECTIVENESS OF GOOD PRACTICE MEASURES
140. Much of the evidence we received said that
one of the best ways in which the EU institutions could help reduce
youth unemployment was by encouraging and facilitating the identification
and exchange of good practice. As a fundamental principle, the
Gilfillan Partnership said that learning about what has gone before
was an essential prerequisite if the mistakes of history were
not to be repeated. It said that getting this right could save
millions in spending and improve services exponentially.
141. Heart of the South West LEP, said that more
could be done to make it easier for LEPs and other stakeholders,
who may have limited capacity and resources, to search by topic
as well as type of economy for examples of good practice.
At the same time, however, Professor Sloman highlighted the
subsequent risk of creating too many schemes and events to share
good practice, which could lead to "initiative fatigue"
amongst stakeholders such as employers.
142. Dr Copeland concluded that the overall
effect of the EU's use of financial support, exchange of good
practice, peer reviews, monitoring and evaluation reports, and
in some cases, legislation, had been to build pressure on Member
States to take youth matters into account when developing national
laws and policies.
However, he also warned that the sharing of good practice did
not manifest itself within six or 12 months and that it could
take years before the implementation of good practice yielded
said that, because of the competitive nature of bidding for youth
project funding, service providers might be disinclined to share
examples of their successful practice for fear of losing out on
143. Despite the generalised support for the
sharing of good practice amongst witnesses and the examples cited
of mechanisms to encourage this to happen, we were not provided
with compelling, specific examples of exactly where practice from
one context has been successfully transferred to another. Indeed,
in the context of the UK Government and other stakeholders failing
to learn from the success of other chambers of commerce elsewhere
in Europe, Lord Heseltine said that "the problems are well
known and long-standing and have too often been not quite ignored
but never properly addressed".
Pervenche Berès MEP said that the whole idea that exchange
of good practice leads to good governance was being challenged
by the current high levels of youth unemployment in the EU.
144. There are many examples of good practice
available at local, national and EU levels. We acknowledge the
efforts that the European Commission has made in facilitating
the sharing of these examples through publications and through
the organisation of meetings and conferences for relevant stakeholders
to compare experiences.
145. Implementing good practice successfully
is a challenge because of the different social and economic factors
at play in different regions. We believe there is scope for the
European Commission and Member States to use EU funds to conduct
more detailed analysis about how good practice can be used to
improve the performance of measures that seek to address youth
Role of social partners
146. Many witnesses referred to the importance
of a social dialogue, that is to say, a good working relationship
between social partners (trade unions and employers' organisations)
and government as an important ingredient to reduce youth unemployment.
Commissioner Andor said that the European Commission had a responsibility
to promote social dialogue for the sake of economic performance
and social cooperation, but it could not force a specific format
of industrial relations or social dialogue on Member States.
147. The ETUC spoke strongly in favour of involving
social partners in the policy-making process and said that "the
best way to tailor a European initiative is through social dialogue".
It highlighted that, together with Business Europe, the European
Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAMPE) and
the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises Providing Public
Services (CEEP), it was a partner in supporting the Framework
of Actions on Youth Employment.
The Centre for European Studies attributed Germany's relative
economic success to reforms enacted by the Schroeder government
in 2003-04 which involved working with social partners to enact
corporate downsizing and restructuring and wage reticence on the
part of the unions.
148. The TUC, UNISON and the British Chambers
of Commerce said that social partnership was less well developed
in the UK than in mainland Europe.
However, they expressed a willingness to work together on issues
such as career advice in schools and improving the representation
of young people in their organisations.
149. British Chambers of Commerce said that there
were varying degrees of engagement from businesses and employers
in tackling the issue of youth unemployment. It said that some
employers and businesses were probably too busy running their
operations and did not have the time to think about how they could
contribute to reducing unemployment. 
Adam Swash, Experian, said that only somewhere between five and
10 per cent of small businesses had a rapid growth rate, so it
would be unrealistic to expect small businesses to hire enough
young people to reduce substantially the numbers of young unemployed.
Albeit from the perspective of larger businesses, WORKing for
YOUth and Barclays provided examples of employer engagement in
tackling youth unemployment by engaging in the education and skills
agenda, as well as in hiring and training young people.
150. We welcome the increased cooperation
between employers and trade unions at UK and EU level to reduce
youth unemployment. We recommend that the UK Government learn
from the good practice in other Member States, where social partners
(trade unions and employers' organisations) work more closely
with the government and with each other.
250 The open method of coordination (OMC) provides
Member States with an intergovernmental framework to evaluate
each other, with the Commission's role being limited to surveillance.
The European Parliament and the Court of Justice play virtually
no part in the OMC process. The OMC takes place in areas which
fall within the competence of the Member States, such as employment;
social protection; social inclusion; education; and youth and
Q 26; Q 190; Phil Bennion MEP; Q 125; Q 182 Back
Q 115; Q 125. Publications cited by Ms Hadjivassiliou included:
DG Employment, European Commission,'The European Social Fund:
Giving Young People a Better Start in Life', December 2011;
DG Employment, European Commission, 'Apprenticeship and Traineeship
Schemes in EU27: Key Success Factors-A Guidebook for Policy
Planners and Practitioners', December 2013; Peer review Executive
Summary: 'Youth Unemployment: how to prevent and tackle it?',
November 2013. Back
Q 115 Back
Q 194 Back
Q 234 Back
Q 46 Back
The Gilfillan Partnership Back
Heart of the South West Back
Q 27; the Gilfillan Partnership Back
Dr Paul Copeland (2013), EU Youth Policy: Incremental Integration
via Soft Law and Open Methods of Coordination. Back
Q 27 Back
Q 58 Back
Q 264 Back
Q 148 Back
'Social partners' is a term generally used in Europe to refer
to representatives of management and labour (employers' organisations
and trade unions). Back
Q 186 Back
Q 201 Back
Q 205. The Framework of Actions is based on existing and new practices
linked to four priorities: learning, transition, employment and
entrepreneurship. The European social partners aim to promote
the most effective initiatives identified across Europe that could
be used as inspiration for designing solutions by national social
partners in their respective contexts. Recommendations to other
relevant actors such as the EU institutions and Member States
are also included. National social partners will report on their
activities annually during the period 2013-2016. Back
Q 209 Back
Q 80 Back
QQ 76-78 Back
Q 73 Back
Q 105 Back
QQ 99-101 Back