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Field: Strukturomvandling

Process evaluation of the job transition assignment

This memorandum presents a qualitative evaluation of a task assigned to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth “To assist with large-scale notices of redundancy and job transition in the business sector,” hereinafter referred to as the “job transition assignment.” The focus in the evaluation as implemented is on the process and the application of “programme theory.” The purpose of the sub-study was to evaluate the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s assigned task, with the aim of contributing with learning in preparation for the planning and implementation of assignments and efforts, with the goal of establishing better preconditions for continued assignments of a similar nature.

The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis’ job transition assignment

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s job transition assignment ran from February 2017 to December 2018, and was aimed at supporting Regions and municipalities affected by major business closures in their efforts to deal with the impacts of this. From the perspective of companies and the business community in general, a transparent system and a model similar to that available to individuals when situations of redundancies and job transition arises was non-existent. Within the framework of the assignment, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth was to also promote increased coordination between the public authorities at the central government, regional and municipal level. This is because a need for a “coordinating force” has been identified. One purpose of the assigned task was to identify possible areas for development so that central government support could be better coordinated, so that it together contributes to the individuals’ job transition and the long-term competitiveness of Regions (Näringsdepartementet, 2017). The overall objective of the job transition assignment was to “strengthen the ability of those with responsibilities for economic development in the municipalities and Regions to deal with large-scale redundancies and job transition in the business sector.” The job transition assignment was a relatively small assignment and lasted for a limited period of time, and was carried out as part of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s larger programme concerning strengthening regional business development, the aim of which was to support regional parties in their work on structural change both in terms of with large-scale redundancies and job transition in the business sector as well as in continuous structural change.

Via monitoring of the situation and responses, the development of good examples was carried out and a method support for how to handle a job transition situation, referred to as the “job transition guide,” was developed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket,2019b) within the framework of the assignment. As a continuation of the assignment and the development of the job transition guide, proactive work was carried out in 2019 where the job transition guide was tested plus exchanges of experience took place, and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth contributed with experience and knowledge from previous structural transitions. Operational efforts to support Regions and municipalities in the situation where a municipality faces major closures of businesses.

Following the implementation of the assignment, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth has been assigned additional assignments in the field and has further developed its methodology and working methods in these areas. However, these subsequent assigned tasks are not included in this evaluation.

Process evaluation of the job transition assignment

In the evaluation of the job transition assignment, it was found that there was no clear formulation of the issues for the assignment. This creates an unclear basis for the assigned task and makes both the implementation and evaluation of the process more difficult. The process evaluation of the job transition assignment also shows that there are several aspects that need to be taken into account when implementing assignments of a similar nature.

The importance of programme theory

Programme theory should be used for each effort/initiative as it creates better possibilities to govern and evaluate a governmental effort and to gain an understanding of what it is meant to lead to. Programme theory helps to establish clear projects with a logical structure and clarify programmes or projects where it is clear how the efforts and measures affect the goals of the programme. The reason for this is to learn from insights and gain knowledge about the relationship between efforts and results.

Project plan for the specific assignment

For the specific assigned task, a project plan should be drawn up. This applies is even if the assignment is part of a larger programme. This creates problems both in implementation and for evaluation when the assigned task is part of a larger effort and there is only one project plan for the overall programme. The project plan should include a described method for the assignment with a model and approach.

Clear objectives that are able to be monitored and followed-up

The objectives should be clearly formulated and possible to be monitored and followed-up. This establishes a basis for being able to follow up, evaluate and create learning for future assignments. An overall objective may be broad, but needs to be made more concrete and clarified, and then broken down into milestones.

Governance within the assigned task

Within the assignments and the activities that are included, a certain level of governance needs to take place so that all participants can clarify what is expected concerning the preconditions, goals, process and expectations. The fact that the participants can control and decide, on this basis, on the direction, method, approach and implementation, establishes possibilities to shape the outcome of the participation.

Monitoring of the situation and responses in relevant parts

A monitoring of the situation and responses covering the relevant elements of the assigned task should be carried out. This applies both to the results from//of previous work performed as well as to efforts in the field, but also to methods and models that are relevant.

Anchoring the development and testing of methodological support

Anchor the development of methodological support via the participation of relevant organisations in the development and presentation and testing of the methodological support. Study already developed methodological support in the field, as a basis for the development of a new methodological support. Developed methodological support should be evaluated where possible, and the results should be used to improve and further develop the developed methodology. The method should then be disseminated and put to use, and then highlighted in good examples where it has been used.

Plan and carry out follow-ups and evaluations

A follow-up and evaluation plan should be drawn up and activities for this should be carried out during the period of the assigned task and/or in close proximity to the end of the assigned task. Ongoing follow-up and evaluation during the assignment establishes new possibilities to correct and change, based on experiences and lessons learned during the ongoing process underway. Evaluation after completed assignment establishes the possibility for learning in preparation for future assignments.

Process evaluation of the job transition assignment

Serial number: PM 2021:04

Reference number: 2020/60

Download the report in Swedish (with English summary)

A partial study of the project:

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