SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve
Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation
Nicolette van Gestel and Sanne Grotenbreg
In many Western countries there are high expectations of regional networks in policy areas as diverse as healthcare, energy supply or security. In such regional networks, government is supposed to develop partnerships with private and non-profit parties, to develop solutions to societal problems that have broad support and commitment. Generally speaking, both public and private actors often recognise that they need each other to achieve their goals. But this idea does not generate success by itself. Sometimes actors tend to focus on their own advantage when participating in networks, and are not very efficient nor effective in working together.
Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on a study of regional networks involved in labour market policy. Governments, employers, trade unions, clients and educational organisations are jointly looking for solutions to persistent problems, such as a discrepancy between vacancies and job seekers, and the lack of job opportunities for people with mental or physical disabilities. In other words, they need to solve problems of mismatch and inequality that have increased further during the Covid-19 crisis. Decentralisation and regional co–operation should, in principle, ensure more integrated and efficient public services, but also engender creative solutions that go beyond existing policy frameworks. Continue reading