Former chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schröder, initiated extensive labour market reforms in 2002. The reforms created a new system of unemployment benefits and opened up a new stage for the public employment services. The Federal Employment Service was re-organised to become the Federal Employment Agency (BA). As a self-governing public organisation, it is headed by an Executive Board, responsible for the operative business, and a tripartite Board of Governors comprising representatives of the employers, the trade unions and public bodies. The role of the Board of Governors is limited to advising and monitoring the work of the Executive Board. It is not involved in managing or organising unemployment benefit schemes directly. The study was undertaken on behalf of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.