What have TEPs to do with innovation?
Innovations are new concepts and measures that resolve regional challenges in a better way as prior practices, and, hence, are worth being adopted and utilised (adapted from Zapf, W. (1994) und Hochgerner, J. (2010)).
Innovative measures of the Austrian TEPs in terms of the OP Employment 2007-2013 / ESF (available in German language only) encompass new practices, concepts, policy instruments, new forms of cooperation and organisation, methods, processes as well as regulations.
Are TEPs an innovation by itself?
According to the above definition the Austrian Territorial Employment Pacts can be regarded as innovations in Austria. Based on cooperation as principle, the partnerships realise new practices and processes. The TEPs develop and implement innovative measures and agree to improved processes in the interaction of institutions concerned. TEPs, which have been initiated by the BMASK, have developed towards an important policy instrument in Austria with the help of which coordinated actions of regional stakeholders can be achieved.
Which innovations are set up by the TEPs?
The Austrian partnerships set up innovations within priority 5 (funded by means of BMASK and the ESF) as well as within other priorities of the OP Employment 2007-2013 / ESF.
Highly relevant in this respect is priority 3b ("Integration of marginalised groups“) within which new innovative approaches are implemented mainly through an improved interaction of various institutions. Those TEP measures are based on a joint strategy within each Federal Province (the strategy encompasses problem analyses, strategic orientation, coherence and consistence of objectives), developed especially by improving cooperation and interaction between regional institutions and are co-funded by the regions.
Due to the involvement of relevant stakeholders in policy planning and implementation, an improved communication between stakeholders as well as the expansion of the scope of action by overcoming systemic, financial, economic and institutional barriers, an improved interaction between regional institutions can be achieved (for instance, between the Federal province, PES-Austrian Labour market service, Federal Social Welfare Office, and the social partners). TEPs implement innovations, for instance, at the interface of the labour market and social policy, by developing and implementing actions with comprehensive approaches to solve problems (often a combination of counselling, support and qualification measures as well as measures ensuring assistance in social work and integration are implemented). By implementing innovative measures three stages are passed which are 'idea identification', 'institutionalisation' as well as 'establishment / professionalization'.
TEPs take care on high quality. The Austrian-wide coordination unit (Kooo) assists in designing and implementing innovative measures in particular through the setting up of accompanying processes such as the quality process of the TEPs, the priority 3b-Learning Cycle as well as through a joint development of quality criteria for innovative measures (available in German Language only). The activities aim at a high-quality-implementation level of the TEP measures and the Austrian-wide exchange of learnings.
Why are innovative measures implemented?
The Austrian TEPs implement innovative measures because they aim at either modernising, adapting and/or improving existing measures (improved innovations) or at designing a basically new innovation (according to Hausegger, T. (2008) - the document is only available in German language). The primarily goal is to improve the support and integration of target groups as well as the increase in the efficiency and effectivity of measures, projects and approaches to integration.
What examples of innovations implemented by TEPs are in place?
During an exchange meeting of the TEPs in spring 2010, the partnerships developed a „priority 3b Innovation map Austria“ by using the following categorisation of innovations: process innovations, structural innovations, systemic and methodological innovations. Please find below some examples of innovations implemented by TEPs and ordered according to the above categorisation:
Process innovation: Development of a clearing process that can partly be adopted by the Austrian needs based minimum benefit system (implemented by the TEP Salzburg)
Structural innovation: Setting up of a counselling and support structure "ABBE" in relation to the integration of the needs based minimum benefit system into the Austrian System (implemented by the TEP Vienna)
Systemic innovation: Implementation of the one-stop-shop principle for persons with asylum status (implemented by the TEP Upper Austria)
Methodological innovation: Consultancy service for start-ups for migrants (implemented by the TEP Lower Austria)
Who finances innovations implemented by the TEPs?
Innovation is regarded as a principle as well as a horizontal aim within the OP Employment 2007-2013 / ESF. ESF-co-funded measures, consequently, apply the principle. By reason of this innovative ESF policy, 2.5% of the budget within each priority of the OP are earmarked for supporting and implementing innovative measures.
Innovations implemented by the TEPs, as a consequence, are co-funded by the ESF and supported by the BMASK.
Next to the promotion of innovations as a cross-cutting issue of the ESF and the implementation of innovations by the partnerships within priority 5 as well as priority 3b, TEPs can ask for funding of innovative measures during 2010-2013 within other priorities of the OP Employment (priority 1 and priority 2).