The European Social Fund (ESF) is the financial instrument of the European Union to support the implementation of the European Employment Strategy. About 472 million Euros are allocated to the active labour market policy in Austria from the fund, the ESF is an important addition to the national promotion. Characteristic is the focus on different target groups – especially people furthest from the labour market shall be addressed – and the innovative character of the promoted projects. ESF enables a creative space for projects and interventions, which shall be used for the development of tailored instruments and innovative measures.
In an accompanying evaluation of the interventions of the European Social Funds in Austria 2007- 2013 the main aspects and measures defined in the operational program are evaluated and analyzed critically. The task is on the one hand to assess the present implementation status (target achievements) and the effects of the program, and on the other hand, with regard to the upcoming promotion period 2014-2020 and the EU 2020 strategy, to provide recommendations for improvements and future orientation of the programme. The evaluation will focus on the assessment of priorities of the programme (Territorial Employment Pacts, Integration of people furthest from the labour market) and several measures and indicators as well as on horizontal themes (gender mainstreaming/ gender budgeting, target group low qualified persons, implementation of the active/productive ageing-approach, innovative measures, “added value” of the ESF).
In terms of the method of triangulation quantitative as well as qualitative methods come into operation. The spectrum ranges from detailed case studies, interviews of experts, participants, enterprises and project initiators, social network analysis to statistical analysis, examination of monitoring-data and control group studies.