Can public social services alone break the generational transmission of poverty?: Peer Review on “Comprehensive Follow-up of Low-income Families”

This paper, which we have prepared for the Peer Review on “Comprehensive Follow-up of Low-income Families” within the framework of the Mutual Learning Programme, aims to compare the Norwegian policy example and the situation in Spain.

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Through the analysis of the situation of low income families and child poverty in Spain, the assessment of the policy measure and the assessment of success factors and transferability, this paper sheds light on the results of the Mutual Learning Programme and takes stock of lessons for Spain.

The report explains the comparative framework in relation to poverty, unemployment and household composition of low income families. It also assesses the policy measure in analysing the administrative organisation and its related challenges and the policy measures and programmes in place in both countries.

  • Systematic planning and intervention to avoid social services that lack adequate piloting processes and have insufficient time and economic resources and poor or inexistent evaluations.
  • Reforms oriented to efficiency of existing resources instead of additional structures, to avoid increasing administrative burdens both for the institutions and clients as well as avoiding increasing complexity and expenditures.
  • Integrated employment and social services from the Norwegian model. While Spain employment services and social services work in paralell and are not integrated, the Norweigan approach can provide lessons for better coordination.

In both countries, however, the paper finds that social services demonstrate limited capacity to address the key structural problems underlying the generational transmission of poverty.


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