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Inadequate follow-up of the long-term unemployed - Document no. 3:5 (2006-2007)

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service has not provided regular follow-up for several thousand long-term unemployed persons and for those who have concluded rehabilitation programmes intended to facilitate their transition to regular work. There are large variations between counties, particularly with regard to getting immigrants and those who have concluded rehabilitation programmes into employment, and local job centres do not have an overview of whether labour market initiatives are functioning as intended.
Published 4/3/2007 11:38 AM

These are some of the main conclusions in The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of management and goal achievement in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service viewed in relation to prioritised job-seeking groups Document 3:5 (2006-2007), which was submitted to the Norwegian parliament (the Storting) on 20 March.

The objective of the investigation has been to assess the extent to which the long-term unemployed, immigrants, young people and disabled persons are given adequate assistance and manage to find employment. Another goal has been to investigate whether the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (formerly Aetat – Directorate of Labour) have established appropriate and reliable management systems to enable them to achieve results vis-à-vis prioritised job-seeking groups.

The variations between counties concerning the proportion of both immigrants and persons who have concluded rehabilitation programmes who manage to find employment cannot purely be explained by local variations in the labour market. Some counties have shown weak results for years without any special steps being taken to improve the situation. The provision of labour market initiatives for immigrants who have poor Norwegian language skills and who are not covered by the introduction scheme has been inadequate.

In the second half of 2005 more than 8,000 long-term unemployed persons and a large proportion of those who had concluded rehabilitation programmes did not receive regular follow-up from Aetat – Directorate of Labour. Poor monitoring of those who are already in a weak position in the labour market may well lead to reducing their opportunities of finding work, which in turn results in higher national insurance contributions.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service has a wide range of indicators to measure quantity in its services for job-seekers. However, systems to assure the quality of case processing and the use of initiatives have been established to only a limited extent. This means that the Service’s management team has not ensured that job-seekers receive satisfactory guidance and effective initiatives.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion states that measures have been or will be implemented to improve follow-up efforts for the prioritised groups. The Ministry also claims that the quality of the case processing for job-seekers is to be better safeguarded than previously. In addition, the use of various initiatives is to be tested more actively in a local context, considerable resources are to be invested in competence building, and quality controls are to be conducted in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service.

The document in Norwegian can be downloaded from this website or ordered from Akademika booksellers, tel. +47 22 18 81 23.

The provision concerning delayed public access to documents that are compiled by or sent to the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document no. 3:5 (2006-2007), cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act, has been repealed.

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