Local Action Plans (TOPSA)
It has been completed.
The aim of Local Actions Plans for Employment (TopSA) is to create jobs for the unemployed, with the activation and mobilization of local actors (through the Developmental Partnerships) throughout the country. In particular, the job positions will be created further to the diagnosis of specific needs of local communities and the enhancement of their development potential. The Local Action Plans for Employment fall under the actions of the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development” (co-financed by ESF) –Thematic Priority Axis 3- Facilitating Access to Employment.
The policy goal is the creation of new jobs and the support of entrepreneurship at the local level. The TopSA include actions such as training and education, work based learning and apprenticeships in private enterprises in Greece or abroad, the preparation of business plans, specialised research and evaluation services for start-ups, support for legal and tax issues, etc.
The goal of TopSA is that beneficiaries are able to:
- establish their own businesses that will benefit from the characteristics of their area
- qualify for other subsidised investment programs
- develop skills that will meet the identified needs of local firms that will hire them.
Although no explicit reference to skills mismatch has been made, the applicants (partnerships consisted of local agencies, VET providers, NGOs, trade unions, employer organizations, chambers, CSOs) should submit specific labour market information supporting the relevance of the suggested training courses in tandem with the local labour market needs.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity
Monitoring, funding and controlling - 13 intermediary Administrative Units of the Regional Operational Programmes (ROP)
Implementing - OAED (Public Employment Service), Municipalities, Employers' associations, Trade unions, NGOs, Universities & research units, VET companies
Advising & consulting as observer - Transnational partners
Operational Program “Human Resources Development” 2007-2013: €80.000.000,00 (ESF: 75%, national funds: 25%)
30,000 individuals with a special focus on young scientists and low-income individuals employed in agriculture.
Use of labour market intelligence
Each applicant (partnerships of local authorities, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, VET providers, social cooperatives) should provide evidence based information on the local labour market demands. A dully completed application form should make explicit references to indicators and instruments such as a) unemployment rates, b) information on local business activity by sector, size, type of activity, c) SWOT analysis that can support the need for the specific training program suggested by the partners. Additionally, the beneficial consortia should deliver a local labour market study that would integrate data collected from local and regional authorities, PES, ELSTAT, business organizations, chambers, trade unions and consultancy firms. The same processes were used in other policy instruments such as TOPEKO.
The applicants (Developmental Partnerships) received financing in order to support beneficiaries from the target-populations. The selected beneficiaries were subsidised for their participation in the training activities of each action. After the completion of the programme, the Ministry of Labour launched a subsidy program for enterprises to hire TOPSA and TOPEKO beneficiaries.
Frequency of updates
Each approved action under the TOPSA program has delivered a local labour market study, which has been evaluated after the action's implementation.
The strict and inflexible timeframe of the implementation of the TOPSA initiatives was changed after the first 12 months of its operation. The Ministry of Labour has also issued new programs that gave financial incentives to the employers, in order to hire the beneficiaries of TOPSA and TOPEKO initiatives.
The shortage of central LMSI tools was critical, since the data provided by national or regional authorities could not support an analysis at the local level. Most studies were descriptive and rested upon the data of the 2011 census.
The synergies among local authorities, NGOs, social partners, trade unions, employers' associations, chambers and universities, has improved the success of the instrument.
The creation of new jobs was a critical indicator of the TOPSA initiatives. The 13 intermediary administrative units of the Regional Operational Programs that coordinated the actions under this programme, assessed the promotion to employment or entrepreneurship for each one of the TOPSA actions, and adjusted the final payments to the applicants (Developmental Partnerships) according to the employment results (had the minimum goal of promoting 20% of the beneficiaries to employment not been achieved, a respective penalty for the Developmental Partnership would be activated).
The focus of the initiative on young scientists, higher education graduates and low-income individuals employed in agriculture with the aim to provide effective career guidance and relevant training can be considered as innovative.
Evidence of effectiveness
The instrument has been operated and monitored by the 13 Regional authorities. No aggregate data has been generated at national level. However, as the data from 4 case-studies (projects) has revealed, labour market studies were descriptive and rested upon the data of the 2011 census. There were attempts to connect the upskilling processes of the projects (training, counselling) with labour market needs in skills and professions, as it is apparent from these projects, but this hardly ensured a coherent methodology and responsiveness.
Engagement of stakeholders
TOPSA follows a bottom-up philosophy at all stages of planning, design and implementation and involve different levels of government, local institutions and stakeholders, as well as the target groups, through processes of social dialogue and collaborative approach. In this respect, local partnerships, known as “Development Partnerships”, are responsible for the implementation of all projects undertaken in this framework. Development Partnerships consist of members of regional and local community, businesses, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations and institutions of civil society, who decide to join forces, skills and experience to jointly implement a comprehensive intervention in local level. The specificities of each action's stakeholders' coordination meetings are described in detail in each of the approved Action Plan.
The presence of a skills diagnosis mechanism operating both at national and regional level would maximize the social impact of this instrument. The career counselling and training activities can be effective only if relevant, accurate and credible labour market information is available at national, regional and local level. At the time of the TOPSA projects' implementation, no such context had been achieved yet.
Not really. It has been assessed as a practice with low impact on the employment of the target population (unemployed).