Collaboration for broader regional and local economic development

Communication between employment and economic development policies in both regions is relatively frequent. Regional economic development policy making is executed by the Department of Regional Development in the Regional Authority and the Regional Council. Collaboration with the regional labour offices occurs through participation in advisory bodies such as the Council for HRD or working groups.

Evidence based policy making

There is limited availability of robust regional data on skills and a lack of adequate evaluation which serve as obstacles to informing labour market policies and interventions. There are two main sources of sub-national data in the Czech Republic; i) data from the Czech Statistical Office - CSZO (the quarterly Labour Force Survey) and ii) data from the PES labour offices.

CSZO data is good at the regional level but is not sufficiently representative for analysing structures within regions (detailed results suffer from higher error rates and the lower territorial units are not included) and rarely informs local programmes and strategies. LFS data is available each quarter and most other data is available on an annual basis. In the context of government cuts, there has been a tendency to reduce labour market surveys and to meet only minimum requirements from international data exchange agreements.

The PES used to collect locally specific labour market data (at the former district labour offices) and its programmes were informed mainly by this data. In the past, the former district labour offices also developed detailed databases of registered jobseekers and vacancies at the former district level and worked towards improving data collection for regional and local analyses. Indeed, a previous OECD report found that the Czech Republic had a very impressive database on education and labour market outcomes of education, describing it as “one of the best the OECD team has seen” (Kuczera, 2010).

The implementation of a new PES IT system in 2012 discontinued many of these efforts making some data at the sub-regional level less available for analysis. For example, databases of vacancies became less reliable due to data migration, others have suffered from discontinued time series making labour market statistics less reliable and less available for analytical purposes. According to local stakeholders, it may take three to four years to get back to pre-reform levels. Nevertheless, labour offices still produce one of the best sources of regional labour market analysis via bi-annual analytical reports on the labour market situation which are made public online. PES data is available monthly, although the new IT system has slowed down its frequency.

Regional development strategies utilise regionally specific data from different sources. Such data are used for analytical purposes but the performance of programmes and policies are rarely systematically tracked which reflects the general lack of outcome-based management. There are additional sources of regionally (and in some cases locally) specific data but these only cover certain sections within a regional population. For example, graduate surveys are carried out by universities to self-assess the overall level of acquired skills of graduates and school results come from international surveys, such the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In both regions, employers’ surveys provide some data on regional employer skills gaps and shortages. In Osti nad Labem, the employer survey maps the number of staff and expected hires and since 2003, there has been a similar employer survey in the South-Moravian region. The surveys have potential for skills evaluations and results have already been used by the PES and the Regional Authority for planning. Skills information could be derived from the National System of Occupations but as of yet there is no such analysis.

The national Labour Force Survey gives some information on travel-to-work rather than administrative areas (suggesting that there is little commuting to neighbouring regions) but there is scope for more accurate and up-to-date information on travel-to-work areas to be retrieved from the census data collected.2 There is joint working and cooperation across local administrative boundary areas based on inter-regional agreements (e.g. between Usti and Liberec regions and Zlin and Vysoeina regions). This involves issues such as the funding of cross-border public transport, joint projects and regular exchange of information (bilateral or within the Association of Regions). There is also international cross-border cooperation with neighbouring German regions (Saxony Region) in Usti and neighbouring Austrian regions in the case of South Moravia.

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