Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs) represent a social innovation based on ‘negotiated’ planning, in which multiple local stakeholders concerned with labour market challenges in their community assume complementary and interconnected roles and responsibilities to devise solutions adapted to local circumstances. The main goal of LEPs is job creation and transitions to formal employment.
The ILO’s approach in the development of the LEPs consists of the involvement and active engagement of at least five relevant stakeholders in broad ranging fields of work: public employment services, local municipalities, employers, education institutions and non-profit, non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Local and regional development agencies, Chambers of Commerce and Chambers of Crafts are considered as being relevant partners. The most effective way to address local development issues is through an integrated, strategic and participatory approach involving all relevant stakeholders. The ILO has developed tools to ensure that every partner is relevant and has a specific role in increasing employment opportunities at local level.
By supporting the development of a local employment model, the EU values the contribution of all key actors in reducing social inequality. The partnership approach to address the issue of unemployment at local level has so far brought a number of benefits, of which the following are important:
- the possibility of direct negotiations of all partners in order to come up with the best arrangements to increase formal employment at local level,
- better understanding and assessment to meet the real needs of the local labour market,
- a more comprehensive approach to the analysis of supply and demand in the labour market,
- recognising different interests of key actors in the labour market and identifying links to increase formal employment,
- reducing the risk of duplicating activities conducted independently by different actors,
- the possibility of drawing attention to difficult-to-employ groups and finding specific arrangements for them to be active and integrated into the local labour market,
- pooling financial and human resources,
- easier communication with higher administrative levels to gain support for further work and development,
- building local ownership of the process and increasing opportunities for sustainable intervention.