Historically, intervention on a local scale by the Italian system of welfare services is broadly fragmented and very variable and this is not mitigated by centrally imposed standardisation mechanisms or by minimum levels of assistance. Consequently, each local area meets social needs on the basis of its own philosophies, approaches, investment priorities and sensibilities, both the result of and a vehicle for extreme and unregulated municipalism. The ‘new social planning’, introduced by Law n. 328/2000, which redesigned the whole Italian welfare system, led some local and provincial authorities to meet the challenge of reducing inequalities between different local areas in the provision of services, by using a survey of existing services as a starting point. The article discusses those initiatives from a substantive and methodological viewpoint.
Keywords: Local welfare; social programming; basic standards.