After provided opinions and discussions about groundless competition restrictions in the draft regulations on promotion of employment and raising qualification of unemployed persons, prepared by the Ministry of Welfare, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) has achieved, that standards, which restrict the circle of potential service providers (educational institutions), are not adopted in regulatory enactments of the sector.
In the last year, the CC detected groundless competition restriction in several draft regulations prepared by the Ministry of Welfare, which provide for attracting of educational institutions for vocational training of unemployed persons and job seekers. Namely, these draft regulations included a criterion, that only such institutions would be attracted for implementation of training, that have been granted a status of professional education competence centre (PECC). It should be noted, that obtaining of the status of PECC is cumbersome or impossible in particular to private educational institutions, taking into consideration the area of activity, for example, ensuring adult professional education.
The CC pointed out to the Ministry of Welfare, that the said requirement would prevent educational institutions that do not have the PECC status from offering their services. In the opinion of the CC, the PECC status as a selection criterion does not promote involvement of as extensive number of potential service providers as possible, taking into consideration, that the criteria for acquisition of the PECC status include a requirement, that vocational secondary education shall be acquired at the educational institution; however, implementation of professional further education and professional development programmes mainly involve persons who have already acquired education and/or work experience, which is not sufficient.
As a result, the education institutions that do not offer acquisition of secondary education, which are mainly private educational institutions, could not participate in equivalent competition tender alongside with institutions that offer such education and which are basically state educational institutions, although for the particular target group of trainees – unemployed persons and job seekers – this aspect may be unnecessary.
After several discussions with the Ministry of Welfare, also involving representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, the CC achieved, that biased, competition restricting requirements are not included in the draft regulations. At the meetings of 6 March and 13 March, the Cabinet of Ministers examined and adopted the said regulations with wording favourable for competition.