October 2011

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Summary :

The decision to carry out an assessment survey was taken by the Social Economy Working Group, in the framework of its activities in collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government, the representatives of the three regional co-operative associations and the Forum Regionale del Terzo Settore (Third Sector Forum), with the aim of highlighting the contribution made by the non profit sector to social and territorial cohesion in the Emilia-Romagna region. The first step was the identification of a sample of 55 projects, selected with the help of representatives of the Forum and of the co-operative associations, on the basis of two criteria: generating social innovation and responding to new social needs. During the second step, 23 projects were selected for further investigation using an evaluation grid, which showed how projects had been designed and generated added value for the local communities. The final 16 projects were further screened, analyzed and compared to describe the type of added value they offered to the community and the underlying generative mechanisms.

The following added value categories have been identified:

  • social value

  • cultural value and participation

  • environmental value

  • institutions strengthening

  • economic value

The following generative mechanisms have been identified:

  • Identity and motivation

  • Civic entrepreneurship

  • Vision, knowledge and learning systems

  • Subsidiary approach in public administration

  • Participation and governance

  • Network quality and generation of interpersonal tools

The first chapter describes the context and the theoretical framework.

The second chapter highlights the methodological approach that has been adopted and the working method.

The third chapter brings together the most relevaant information concerning each case that has been analyzed.

The fourth chapter illustrates the types of value generated by the projects and their related generative mechanisms.

Finally the fifth chapter provides a summary of the closing remarks:

  • public policies are the fruit of the combined contribution by public authorities and social economy organizations in the provision of public utility services, in which the joint participation of both players is an essential requirement to ensure quality;

  • public-private partnership is a tool to deliver more effective and efficient primary social services, which have so far been historically provided by the Welfare State. At the same time it helps identify and deliver services in new and additional fields. In so doing, new forms of co-operation are established with the civil society and stakeholders. The stakeholders involved are perceived as subjects capable of providing resources, skills and knowledge. Whether these resources and potentials are actually unlocked and transformed into initiatives capable of producing sustainable social innovation ultimately depends on the capacity of public and private actors to change not only their role, but also the implementation tools of welfare policies.

Sources :

Site de Social Innovation Europe