4. Social Inclusion
Poverty and social exclusion are complex phenomena, which depend on many factors. They are linked to the lack of income, but also to access to opportunities and participation in the economic and social life of the country, to the system of relations in which individuals are embedded and to the set of constraints and opportunities - economic, social and cultural - present in the context of their life. Therefore, national policies for social inclusion are characterised by a wide range of different initiatives, interventions and tools.
In Italy, anti-poverty and social exclusion interventions are promoted and carried out by different institutional actors at the national, regional and local levels. In addition, the third sector supports public institutions in the implementation of social policies and acts as a local mediator.
Social inclusion policies specifically targeting young people aim to reduce school drop-out, improve access to the labour market and reduce social inequalities, seeking to improve the living conditions of individuals and families who are below the absolute poverty line.
Italy, in allocating the resources of the National Social Policy Fund (FNPS), has approved the National Social Plan 2021-2023, which aims to define the frame of a structural process for the system of social services, currently still fragmented and unable to offer the certainty of taking care of those who find themselves in conditions of need and to promote that social cohesion and "resilience" that have strongly emerged as essential elements in recent years.
Italy in 2019 approved a national strategy to fight poverty and social exclusion, which included, among the main interventions, the establishment of the Citizenship Income (Reddito di Cittadinanza) through decree-law No. 4 of 28 January 2019, converted with law 26 of 28 March 2019, namely income support conditioned on the commitment to follow a personalized path aimed at social inclusion and employment. Italian citizens, including young adults and families in poverty could apply for it (par. 4.4). In the last budget law though, the Citizenship Income is set to be substituted by an Inclusion Allowance (Assegno di Inclusione), starting January 1st 2024 and described as a form of tailored economic support and social and professional inclusion.
The Social Protection and Inclusion Network is the national coordinating body for social interventions and social services. Chaired by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies and made up of representatives from different levels of government, the Network is a permanent structure for comparing and programming social policies, as well as a space of involvement of the third sector and other stakeholders in policy decisions. The Network is divided into technical committees (including the Committee on Fighting Poverty) and is responsible for the development of three national plans:
the National Social Plan, in reference to the National Fund for Social Policy;
the Poverty Assistance and Social Services Plan, in reference to the Poverty Fund;
the Non-self-sufficiency plan, in reference to the Non-Self-Reliance Fund.
The Action Plan for Poverty and Social Services 2021-2023 is also an integral part of the so-called poverty strategy.