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LOCALISE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 266768
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: Germany

Aiding disadvantaged groups via integrated local policy

Examining the challenges of integrated social and employment policies highlights radical changes taking place within the governance of social cohesion.
Aiding disadvantaged groups via integrated local policy
Integrating policy fields that have traditionally been developed separately is intended to benefit society's most vulnerable groups and cater to their varied needs. Such an approach introduces positive dynamics that can work to foster social cohesion, reduce social inequalities and enhance participation in the labour market. However, the differential impact of integrated social and employment policies must be considered, given that Member States' policies and patterns of regional inequality frame local activation policies.

The EU-funded project 'Local worlds of social cohesion. The local dimension of integrated social and employment policies' (LOCALISE) focused on such challenges. Project members used a common theoretical and methodological approach to guide their research and establish a critical mass of knowledge in key topic areas. One of the research strands involved the study of local entities in six European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom), examining how these localities cope with the challenges of an integrated social cohesion policy.

Following a comparative study of regulatory national contexts, LOCALISE analysed the implementation of social cohesion policies at the local level, and identified local modes of governance. Expert interviews with all relevant local stakeholders involved in local governance mechanisms and public services were carried out.

The case study findings indicate an increasing trend towards the integration of policy fields, especially in relation to training policies. Other findings highlight the increasing recognition of the importance of child care in achieving labour market integration. Also, there are variances, even within countries, regarding the integration of social services in the areas of health, housing and social assistance policies.

For disadvantaged groups, labour market participation depends on the provision of social services, yet the degree of integration differs between the realms of policy development and policy implementation. Interestingly, another finding across all countries was that employment policies remain in the national realm, while social assistance and social services are often regulated at the local level.

Considerations of increasing unemployment and income inequalities, amongst others, support the rationale behind a move to integrate social and employment policies. LOCALISE research thus underlines the positive benefits of linking policy development and service delivery in a way that can support the activation of vulnerable citizens at the local level.

Related information


Disadvantaged groups, social and employment policies, social cohesion, local governance, active inclusion
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