Local partnerships of social inclusion a tool for active employment policy
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Local partnerships of social inclusion: a tool for active employment policy?. Zuzana Kusá – David Kostlán Institute for Sociology Slovak Academy of Sciences Second ASPEN conference: Activation and Security

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Local partnerships of social inclusion: a tool for active employment policy?

Zuzana Kusá – David Kostlán

Institute for Sociology Slovak Academy of Sciences

Second ASPEN conference: Activation and Security

Stream 2 Employment friendly policies in Post-Communist Europe – activation as security?

March 20-21, 2009,

Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic


  • Main questions

  • Social Development Fund (SDF) and local partnership of social inclusion (LPSI) as employment policy tool: ideas, mission

  • Governing structure of SDF and LPSI

  • Implementation history

  • Experiences with micro-projects

  • Developmental convolutions of SDF and their impact on activation/social inclusion policies in (small) communities.

  • „Cultural context“ and governing barriers for working of LPSI

  • Conclusions

Main questions

How does a new context matter for effectiveness of SDF and LPSI as transferred policy tool?

How does the changing governance and financing framework of the SDF and LPSI shape the profile and implementation of the transferred policy?

Which conditions for activating those farest from labour market were not sufficiently fulfilled by SDF and LPSI?

2004 ALMP reform (Act No. 4/2004)

fixed variety of employment services and measures (exception of pilot projects)

Centrally set rules of regional variation of their provision

specified categories of disadvantaged jobseekers as target groups (Reg. 2204/2002 Com);

delivered by labour offices

funded from SOP Human Resources as implementation of national programmes (drawing of ESF)

2004 Establishment of FDS (Decree of Ministry of LSAF) as the main instrument of

mainstreaming the Roma issue

operation in selected areas with highest level of depression

assisting disadvantaged communities „in unequal position in competition for structural funds“

executing comprehensive strategies including housing, health, economic activities and education through cross-sectoral interventions

facilitating community participation on preparation of local social inclusion strategies and projects tailored to target groups´ needs

implementation of NPVI of the SOP Human Resources

SDF and LPSI as a complementary to ALMP reform

Social capital approach of the WB as the basis of SDF and LPSI programmes


of projects

and its outcomes

  • reflecting

  • the needs

  • of community

  • Partnership

  • governance

  • and cooperation

Preparation of projects

Participation of target groups

SDF and LPSI in the NAP inclusion

  • (Fund) shall solve the problem of poverty and social exclusion of at-risk groups in the SR directly in the afflicted area or region”. Its objective is “to help the separated and segregated Roma communities to become the object and at the same time also the subject of the projects (…), which the Fund is preparing to realise by means of stimulating the community development of the afflicted area.” (NAP 2004: 47),

Organizational structure of SDF

Steering Committee

Activation by micro-projects

  • supports of the bottom up initiatives

  • direct involvement of vulnerable groups

  • stimulating motivation of all actors by formulating realistic reachable goals that are within view.

Low share of co-financing but need of pre-payment was not envisaged

understaffed financial administration in headquarters

Required two-level financial control was not secured

Necesssity for governance change (from final beneficiary to intermediate body of managing authority)

Development of more complex administrative structure in headquarters at the expense of closing down regional and local structure of the SDF (Gov.Res. 856/2006)

New programming period (2007- 2013)

Openning SDF to the whole country (except Bratislava); calls for high costs projects; Roma community losses its position of „privileged“ target group, Calls for LPSI make work on local inclusion strategy the core activity

No advance-payment

protracted reimbursment of payments

Suspension of microproject cycles

SDF structures leaving the depressed areas

Target groups experiencing distancefrom LPSI „paper work“

Developmental convolution of SDF

Consequences of instability of rules and discontinuity of LPSI activities

  • Loss of trust of target groups (especially after the halt of micro-projects)

  • Experienced collaborators are leaving

  • Worsening position of LPSI in communities, in relation to public sector, loss of „social capital“

„Cultural/political“ barriers to effectiveness of the SDF and LPSI

  • missing legal definition of social inclusion

  • narrowed concept of social inclusion as access to labour market

  • universalisation of competetive principle (even the most disadvantaged should compete for resources)

  • „flat“ understanding of social justice (positive action/evening out policies are perceived as favouritism

  • insufficient backing of the SDF and LPSI by the governmental strategic documents

  • short institutional memory – lack of continuity

Governance and financial regime barriers to the effectiveness of SDF and LPSI

Dominant funding of activation/bottom up projects from structural funds results in:

necessary subordination to the n + 2 rule → insecurity, preference of individual survival strategies to „collective interests“

importance of „absorbing capacity“→ preference of high-cost projects

→ exclusion of disadvantaged groups living in depressed areas from competition.

This practice rather diminishes the chance of long term investments in regeneration and activation of the most disadvantaged areas.


Systematic pressures to reduce public expenditures promotes one-sided dependence of employment and welfare programmes on ESF and the rules of their drawing.

Universalisation of competitive principle and lack of „political will“ to justify positive action can cause that prospects of disadvantaged groups living in depressed areas in the new programming period would notincrease

Thank you for your attention!

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