Tensions and Future Scenarios of Elderly Care Policy in a Portuguese Municipality. a Case Study

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Fernando SERRA, CAPP/ISCSP University of Lisbon VAT# 600019152, Portugal
Ana ESGAIO, CAPP/ ISCSP-University of Lisbon, Portugal
Paula PINTO, CAPP/ISCSP, University of Lisbon VAT#600019152, Portugal
Carla PINTO, CAPP/ ISCSP-University of Lisbon, Portugal
The reform of advanced welfare state systems has been subjected to controversial debates, especially in Europe. If its demise “is not an option” – as proclaimed by the "Advisory Group on Societal Challenge 6" (2014) – the role and weight of social investment is wide open to debate. In Portugal, the issue is intensified by the current climate of austerity and by the pressures of the neoliberal and New Public Management reforms on the policy decision-making process at local, regional and national levels.

Drawing on a case study conducted in a municipality of the Lisbon Region, related to local aging welfare policy, this presentation aims to examine ongoing processes of inter-organizational collaboration and networking and explore the “policy possibilities” opened up to policy-makers facing severe demographic aging and poverty in the region.

The preliminary analysis of the data, collected through a set of policy planning documents, semi-directive interviews to local policy-decision makers and the participatory methodology applied to a panel of different stakeholders (Delphi) revealed some tension between fragmentation and strategic reorientation to sustainability. Besides the necessity of using the limited financial resources more effectively and prevent the fragmentation of the welfare provision, the main issue at hand is how policy-makers and professionals can facilitate the process to turn the older people into active stakeholders and policy co-agents and not mere recipients of social services.

Applying a four future scenarios model of welfare policy - still in progress – the researchers want to demonstrate that the intensification of the collaboration and networking processes, involving actively the elder themselves, and other stakeholders are crucial conditions to ensure the sustainability of the welfare provision at local level.