Governance and Performance Management of Public Employment Services in the United States and the European Union

Room JREY, Berlaymont,
Rue de la Loi, 200 1040 Brussels, Belgium
3 – 4 September 2015


Day 1
13:00 - 14:00 Opening lunch
14:00 - 14:20 Welcome – Jackie Morin, DG Employment, EU Commission, Douglas Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland and the Atlantic Council, US

14:20 - 15:30 PES programs in the EU and US
This session will present PES programmes in the EU and the US and discuss the approaches to monitoring labour market policies performance. It will also offer an overview of what is meant by PES in the EU and the US, including the different roles of PES in the two regions, the services they provide, the populations they target, and the challenges and opportunities they face.
Jackie Morin, Head of Unit, DG Employment, EU Commission

  • —— Lambert Kleinmann, DG Employment, European Commission, an overview of PES models and PES programmes in the EU
  • —— Tom Bevers, Chair of the Employment Committee, The role of EMCO in monitoring labour market policies and PES and ALMP performance
  • —— Demetra Nightingale, Chief Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Labor


15:00 - 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 - 18:00 Institutional setting and governance of PES: European and American models
The institutional structures of PES in the EU and the US, especially how strategic decisions regarding policies and programs are formulated and implemented. The US has for many years relied on a decentralized approach for decision making and service delivery, and several EU member states have moved to various degrees of devolution for administering PES programs. With more member states moving toward more decentralized systems (or contemplating one), this session will discuss the benefits and costs of devolution and the issues of local priority setting, cross-location consistency of service delivery, inclusiveness of participation, and development of local partnerships. Included will be current practices and further possibilities in analyzing PES needs and targeting resources and customizing services, including profiling, skill validation systems, and statistical referrals. (A Latin American example will be included.)
Chair: Douglas J. Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland

  • —— Sylvain Giguere: OECD LEED: Centralised and decentralised PES systems
  • —— Morten Binder, Director General of PES Denmark: The Danish model
  • —— Timo Weishaupt, Professor, University of Göttingen, Germany, "Governing PES effectively: between central steering and local autonomy" (by Skype)
  • —— Steffen Sottung, PES Germany: The German model
  • —— Harry Holzer, Professor, Georgetown University, US
  • —— Anu Rangarajan, Vice President, Mathematica/Ariel Fiszbein, Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue


19:30 Dinner, Leopold Brussels Hotel EU- Rue Du Luxembourg 35 - 1050 Brussel
Speaking Guest: Aart De Geus, President of Bertelsmann Foundation "PES in the face of today’s labour market developments"

Day 2
9:00 - 10:00 Performance measurement and accountability systems
The different approaches to monitoring performance of PES programs in the EU and US, including the alignment of performance measures with the goals of the PES, the types of metrics used (process and outcome measures), and how the measures are used for management decisions, policy making, and accountability, including rewards or penalties for high or low performance. The session will also explore the differences and similarities between performance measurement and evaluations.
Chair: Morten Binder, Director General of PES Denmark

  • —— Alex Nunn, Leeds Metropolitan University, Performance measurement systems in European PES
  • —— Joost Bollens, Policy Analyst, VDAB, "The Belgian-Flanders example"
  • —— Carolyn Heinrich, Professor, Vanderbilt University, US

10:15 - 11:30 Impact evaluation and evaluation of Financial Programmes
Sometimes performance measures are used as a way to determine the effectiveness of a program. But simply because a program is meeting its targets (efficiency), does not necessarily indicate that it is achieving its goals (effectiveness). This session will explore differences and similarities between performance measurement and impact evaluation—and the best ways to assess the effectiveness of PES programs.
Chair: European Commission, tbc

  • —— David Grubb, OECD: Performance measurement and impact evaluation: Differences and Similarities
  • —— Barbara Roubicek, DG EMPL, European Commission, "Evaluation of ES"
  • —— Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates, US

11:30 - 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 - 13:15 Target setting processes
Performance targets or standards, often set annually, seek to hold administrators accountable for the operations of their programs. This session will explore how performance targets are determined. The process typically is accomplished through negotiations between governmental entities. Because most performance measures reflect factors beyond the control of administrators, such as the personal characteristics and abilities of program participants and the economic conditions of local labor markets, statistical methods are often used to adjust the targets to reflect these outside factors. This session will discuss the process of setting targets and logic behind the methodology used to adjust for outside factors as well as rewards or penalties for high or low performance.
Chair: Randall Eberts, President, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

  • —— Morten Binder, Director General of PES Denmark: The Danish model
  • —— Johannes Kopf, Director General PES Austria, The Austrian example
  • —— Burt Barnow, Professor, George Washington University, US

13:15 - 14:15 Lunch
14:15 - 15:30 Benchmarking System
In addition to setting performance targets for subnational jurisdictions, many countries also compare the performance of jurisdictions to one another through benchmarking. This session will explore the different methods of benchmarking (national, regional, or cluster), how countries adjust for differences among jurisdictions to attempt to create an equitable comparison, and the rewards or penalties for high or low performing jurisdictions.
Chair: Johannes Kopf, Director, Austrian PES

  • —— Steffen Sottung, PES Germany
  • —— Randall Eberts, President, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

15:30 - 17:00 Paying by-result contracting
Many countries or localities contract out the provision of PES services to private contractors. The contracts often provide an additional level of performance measurement as contractors are required to meet defined performance targets for process, and in some cases outcome, indicators. This session will explore the market incentives that are being used and could be used to administer PES programs, including mechanisms of subcontracting and pay-for-results contracts.
Chair: Demetra Nightingale, Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor

  • —— Paul Williams, UK PES: The UK model
  • —— Andy Fuller, Alphametrics
  • —— Dick Vink, Dick Vink Associates, the Netherlands
  • —— David Heaney, The Social Assistance Partnership, US

17:00 End of meeting

To view Brussels Meeting Agenda in PDF version, please click here.


  • Atlantic Council
  • European Commission
  • Maryland School of Public Policy