1.4 Youth policy decision-making
Structure of Decision-making
Legislative competence on youth matters belongs to both the National Government and the local Authorities (Regions and Autonomous Provinces) (Cf. 1.2).
As far as the national level is concerned, the Prime Minister is responsible for youth policies. The responsibility is generally delegated to a Political Authority, either a Minister (as is currently the case) or an Undersecretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
The Department for Youth Policy and the Universal Civic Service constitutes the operating arm. Its mandate includes:
- The implementation and coordination of the youth strategy (Cf.1.3);
- The promotion of youth rights;
- The management and implementation of the Universal civic service programme;
- Support to the supervisory functions of the Delegated Political Authority on the Italian Youth Agency;
- The representation function at European and international level for youth policy matters.
For the promotion of youth rights, the Department benefits from the collaboration of local authorities and other stakeholders including the National Youth Council.
Within the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, for the development of specific measures addressed at youth, the Department has the support of the following sectoral Departments:
- Department for equal opportunities;
- Department for anti-drug policies;
- Department for family policies;
- Department for sports;
- Department for policies in favour of people with disabilities;
- Department for cohesion policies;
- Department for information and publishing.
However, the promotion of youth rights is not exclusively assigned to the Department. All the Ministries are called upon to develop specific policies in favour of youth. The major programmes in favour of youth have been developed by the following Ministries:
- Ministry of Education and Merit;
- Ministry of Universities and Research;
- Ministry of Labour and Social Policies;
- Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy;
- Ministry of Health;
- Ministry of Culture.
At local level, according to art. 117 of the Italian Constitution, Regions and Autonomous Provinces are entitled to legislate on youth policies, except for the determination of the fundamental principles, which are laid down in the State legislation (Cf. 1.2).
Therefore, with the contribution of the Provinces and Municipalities (thus involving young people living in the Municipalities), the Regional Departments for Youth Policies can define the needs, proposals, safeguards and rights in the planning and implementation of the measures adopted in favour of youth within their respective territories.
Since 2022, youth policies priorities agreed with the relevant local institutional actors are the following:
- Reduction of the number of NEETs;
- Employment and entrepreneurship, in particular digital and ecological transition;
- Youth participation and social inclusion, also through the support of Youth Work;
- Contrast to the post-pandemic effects, also supporting sport activities;
- Access to the European, National and Regional Youth Cards;
- Initiatives aimed at hosting young people from Ukraine.
The Italian Youth Agency
The Italian Youth Agency is the body tasked with implementing the Erasmus+/youth and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programmes. It is a public institution, with legal personality, organizational and financial autonomy, supervised by the delegated Political Authority through the Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service. Aside from the Erasmus+ and ESC programmes, the Agency implements measures in favour of youth in agreement with and funded by the Department of Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service.
The Italian Youth Agency was set up in February 2023 with Law Decree 13/2023. It took over all the functions previously carried out by the National Youth Agency.
Policy Monitoring and Evaluation
In Italy, the controlling and monitoring of youth policies financed through the Fund for Youth Policies is exercised by the Department for Youth Policies and the Universal Civic Service and is dedicated to:
- verifying the correct use of the resources of the Fund for Youth Policies earmarked for national and territorial interventions;
- the financial planning, administrative and accounting management of the Civic Service Fund.
The Department produces periodical reports on the progress of all the programme activities implemented by the Regions, autonomous Provinces and Municipalities through the national youth Fund. The Department has the right to carry out inspections on-site to monitor and verify the correct implementation of the activities.