Outreach and area-based approaches in deprived areas

Training programmes are delivered by NGOs, the Labour Office and training institutions to disadvantaged communities through outreach and area-based approaches but the extent to which this is done depends on the level of engagement by the region. For example, some NGOs specialise in work in socially deprived localities with a predominantly Roma population (e.g. IQ Roma Services in the South Moravian region), while private VET institutions deliver training to local social integration projects or partnerships. While efforts to help at-risk groups are quite comprehensive, it remains unclear whether the interventions have a positive impact on the specified groups as a result of the lack of policy evaluation. Studies on targeting employment programmes on the national level indicate that there is some creaming effect and targeting relies on the experience of frontline officers rather than an early targeting tool (Sirovatka and Kulhavy, 2007; Soukup, 2006).

There is no public assistance to help people out of informal/illegal employment8 and recent labour market reforms have introduced new sanctions against people working outside of the formal labour market. The main strategy has been financial sanctions for employers and de-registering and removing benefit entitlement for jobseekers. The DONEZ - Attendance of Jobseekers - project makes it obligatory for jobseekers to regularly attend post office check points to reduce participation in the black economy. However, some concerns were raised that too much of an onus on restrictions and sanctions may push some hard-to-reach groups further from the reach of mainstream institutions such as the LO, and further into illegal activity.

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