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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation


Main Actors:

Governmental Authorities

Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security

The ministry responsible for the approval and implementation of policies related to employment and vocational training through the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, I.P., since it regulates issues related to protection and social action through the Institute of Social Security, PI. It also includes the National Commission for the Promotion of Children and Young People at Risk (CPCJR), where the Commissions for the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCJ) are also included. 

For detailed information on the different entities and actors in the field of employment and entrepreneurship that promote the Youth Guarantee programme, please see chapter 3 – Employment and Entrepreneurship; sub-chapter 3.2 – Administration and Governance.

Ministry of Justice 

The ministry responsible for the approval and implementation of policies related to the protection of citizens’ rights and duties. It integrates the Directorate-General for Social Reinsertion, which is responsible for public policies of crime prevention and social reintegration for young people and adults, particularly through the promotion and implementation of educational governance measures and alternative measures to imprisonment.

Ministry of Education

It is the ministry in which the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports is integrated, which, in turn, governs the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, I.P.

It has a direct or indirect intervention in the definition, implementation and monitoring of the measures and initiatives in four key fields of the Youth Guarantee programme: education, training, employment and entrepreneurship, according to the typology of the measures, through the Directorate-General of Education (DGE) and the National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Training, PI (ANQEP, I.P.).

Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sports PI (IPDJ, I.P.)

The mission of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth is to implement an integrated and decentralised policy for the areas of sport and youth, in close collaboration with public and private entities, namely sports bodies, youth associations, students and local authorities.

The Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth aims to stimulate support for associations, voluntary work and the promotion of citizenship, leisure activities, non-formal education, information and geographic mobility of young people in Portugal and abroad. It is also proposed to revitalise youth tourism, in particular with regard to the network of youth hostels and the Youth Card, in order to increase mobility, with gains in efficiency and economy.

In the domain of social inclusion, the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, PI (IPDJ, I.P.), develops an intersection role in different domains and in conjunction with various ministries, both in its coordinating capacity and as a partner in various measures and programmes to combat poverty and exclusion among young people.


Presidency of the Council of Ministers

It is the central department whose mission is to provide support to the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister, and to promote the interministerial coordination of several government departments.

Integrated in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, under the supervision of the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, there are several entities which promote the social inclusion of young people:

-The Commission for Citizenship and Equality of Gender (CIG), with a focus on promoting citizenship and gender equality, which is responsible for coordinating the National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination: Portugal + Equal [Portugal + Igual] 2018-2030, composed of 3 Action Plans: Action Plan for gender equality; Action Plan for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; Action Plan to Combat Discrimination on the grounds of Sexual Orientation, Identity and Gender Expression and Sexual Characteristics.

- The High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.) is the public institute that, under the direct supervision of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, is responsible for collaborating in the definition, implementation and evaluation of public policies regarding the attraction of migrants, the integration of migrants, including refugees, and Roma Communities, and the management and enhancement of the diversity of cultures, ethnicities and religious through the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. It is responsible for the coordination of the Strategic Plan for Migration (2015-2020) and for the implementation and coordination of the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas).

The Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality is also responsible for the overview coordination of the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment (CITE), as well as the coordination for the supervision of the National Council for Solidarity, Volunteering, Family, Rehabilitation and Social Security Policies.

The Directorate-General of Local Autarchies (DGAL) is also part of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM), under the direction of the Secretary of State for Local Autarchies, incorporating municipalities, civil parishes and their associations, metropolitan areas and the inter-municipal communities, which are important entities for an integrated and proximity policy in the promotion of public policies for youth social inclusion.


Ministry of Health

Ministry responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies in the domain of health, regulating the management of resources, services and equipment in the healthcare sector. The Directorate-General of Health (DGS) is the entity under its governance that is responsible for the coordination of the National Health Plan. The DGS promotes and participates as a partner in some programmes/measures of youth health promotion, such as the Take Care of Yourself programme.


Other organisations and public entities are also involved in the implementation of youth inclusion policies, such as, for instance, in the domain of housing, the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation, PI (IHRU), under the tutelage of the Ministry of the Environment; or, in the domain of citizenship, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The implementation of youth social inclusion policies also encompasses a broad set of non-governmental organisations, private entities and Private Institutions of Social Solidarity (IPSS).

The complexity of social problems requires effective responses, adapted to reality. In Portugal, in recent years, public policies are increasingly adopting the logic of integration and partnership in network, instead of a structured central and hierarchical governance.

The main policies in the domain of youth social inclusion are integrated in the Social Inclusion and Employment Operational Programme (PO ISE), in coordination with the 2020 Europe Strategy.

The PO ISE’s mission is to strengthen the integration of people at risk of poverty and fighting social exclusion, through the development of social intervention measures and by providing direct support to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups.

Thus, being a programme included in Portugal 2020, the PO ISE follows a logic of governance based on the principle of multilevel governance and subsidiarity, promoting the articulation between central, regional and local government levels.

The principle of partnership implies a close cooperation between national, regional and local authorities, but also with the private sector and the third sector

The proximity work between different entities enables them to have a comprehensive knowledge of reality and populations, which could then be a source of information for the monitoring role in the development of public policies.

According to the logic of this management and implementation model, employment incentive programmes were created in partnership with and developed by the Institute of Social Security, PI, which have particular importance in the work developed among children and young people.

Local Contracts for Social+ Development (CLDS+) – social policy instruments aimed at a proximity intervention, flexible and adaptable to the specific needs of the territory and the population for which it is intended. Among its missions, we can find the combat against critical poverty situations, especially of children and young people, through family and parental intervention actions, as preventive measures for child/youth poverty.


In the context of policies to combat unemployment, the Career Offices (GIP) are of particular importance.

Career Offices (GIP) – services that aim to fight unemployment and precarious employment as an enabler of poverty risk situations. These are support services for the development of a course of (re)insertion into the labour market for young people and unemployed adults, which work in collaboration with the various local centres of the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, PI, network.

In the field of policies intended for immigrants, Portugal has developed a set of public policies that target their inclusion and the inclusion of their descendants.

The integrated responses on the part of public administration services in this field are provided by the High Commission for Migrations, PI, under the governance of the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality.

In conjunction with civil society, the National Support Centres for the Integration of Migrants (CNAIM) have been of particular importance. Created in 2004 (Lisbon and Oporto) and 2009 (Faro), these are centres that concentrate, in the same space, the main support services, institutions and offices for migrants, following an One-Stop-Shop model. Currently, there are centres in Lisbon, Oporto and Faro.

The CNAIMs are complemented by the CLAIM Network – Network of Local Support Centres for the Integration of Migrants – which promotes a personalized assistance and the articulation with various local structures. There are currently 94 CLAIMs throughout the country involving 50 municipalities and 30 civil society entities.

Operations in the field of social inclusion and employment, in the programme period of 2014-2020, are co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Cross-sectoral cooperation

There is a coordination of policies at the institutional level and at the level of definition of the various programmes and measures to promote social inclusion.

At an institutional level, an intersectoral coordination is promoted between different ministries and the State structures involved in the conception, implementation and monitoring of policies and entities with competence in these fields. The PO ISE also foresees the participation of:

  • Social partners, through the Standing Committee for Social Dialogue (CPCS), involving trade unions and business organisations;
  • Solidarity sector partners, covering the members of the Standing Committee of the Solidarity Sector (CPSS), which involves the National Confederation of Solidarity Institutions, the Portuguese Mercies Union, the Union of Mutual Societies in Portugal and the Portuguese Cooperative Confederation (CONFECOOP)
  • António Sérgio’s Cooperative for Social Economy (CASES), whose primary mission is to promote the strengthening of the social economy sector, and the National Economic and Social Council (CNES);
  • European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN Portugal).

In the context of the national strategy for social inclusion (PO ISE), there are links with other national plans, programmes and strategies, particularly in the definition and conception of different measures and programmes:

  • National Plan for the Implementation of a Youth Guarantee (PNI-GJ);
  • National Plan for Ethics in Sports (PNED);
  • National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination (National Action Plan for Equality between Women and Men; National Action Plan for the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence; National Action Plan to Combat Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sexual Characteristics).
  •  IV Action Plan for Preventing and Combating Human Beings Trafficking
  • National Roma Communities Integration Strategy (ENICC);
  • Strategic Plan for Migration (2015-2020);
  • National Strategy for Disabilities;
  • National Strategy for the Integration of Homeless People 2017-2023


These policies are also articulated with the National Reforms Plan (PNR) and the Major Planning Options, as well as with the various Regional Operational Programmes.