In Spain, the devolution of powers for employment and social inclusion was completed during the past ESF programming period (it was completed by 2002). LEIs developed under the umbrella and in close relationship with place-based delivery mechanisms supported by other funds such as PRODER in rural areas, or regeneration policies in deprived urban areas.
In many Regional Autonomies, the ownership of political stakeholders and decision makers is a key to ensuring the vertical mainstreaming of LEIs, but the link to the national level seems less obvious, despite the centralized management of Local Employment Pacts by DGCL at the Ministry of Public administration and Territorial Policies. However, as part of the ‘exit of crisis Plan’, a first “State Fund for Local Public Investment” was created in November 2008, endowed with €8 billion euro, aiming to support new public works in municipalities in 2009. Its goal was to fund urgent municipal projects with a strong impact on job creation. In addition, for the year 2010 a new State Fund for Employment and Local Sustainability has been created for an amount of 5 billion €. This Fund is targeted to local authorities. It is meant to be more focused on productive investment projects for sustainable renovation, energy saving, environmental sustainability and social facilities. Many of the newly approved projects are LEIs.
Through its decentralized delivery mechanism, the spreading of LEIs in the form of Territorial Employment Pacts (TEPs) is rather important, although they are differently labelled. Spain was one of the Member States to incorporate TEPs for the programming period of 2000-2006 as tools for more institutionalised forms of territorial cooperation. During the 2000-2006 period, Spain had 23 OPs, of which 12 were regional integrated programmes – one for each Objective 1 region – and 11 were pluri-regional. EQUAL also created an opportunity to continue developing the public-private partnership principles which Pacts are carrying forward.
It continues to support Local Employment Pacts through a national measure, concomitantly to regional OP schemes. In terms of financial commitments, there seems to be continuity in the delivery of TEPs between the two programming periods, at around 5.5% of the ESF contribution.
The current ESF strategy is implemented through 22 Operational Programmes: three national programmes with around 60% of the total of ESF funding, and 19 regional programmes which are being allocated the remaining 40% of funds. Most of the measures identified through the OP screening reveal a common concern for getting closer to the needs of the most fragile groups in the workforce. Variations stem from the local and regional political impetus given to LEIs and the specificities of their labour markets. An interesting network seems to be emerging under the banner of RETOS, the national network of socially responsible territories, who set up a working group on evaluation issues.
Social innovation is mostly related to active inclusion policies, in the way they facilitate the integration into sustainable, quality employment, income and access to services. They are marked by the increasing role of the civil society and NGOs who adopt a pro-active approach to combat unemployment and poverty in deprived areas. In this sense, LEIs are tools to make social innovation happen where local stakeholders have a clear strategy.
AEIDL (January 2011)
AEIDL is contracted by the European Commission in order to provide technical assistance related to the European Social Fund’s Transnational Cooperation and Innovation strands. The views expressed by AEIDL experts remain informal and may not in any circumstance be regarded as the official position of the European Commission.