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Social Policy


The State Secretariat of Social Services and Equality is the government agency responsible for raising awareness, educating and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society. This State Secretariat is responsible for a number of key areas, such as equal opportunities (under the Institute for Women and Equal Opportunities), policies for supporting the disabled, services targeting families and children, the Government Delegation for Violence against Women and the Government Delegation for the National Drugs Plan, as well as the offices of the Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Spanish acronym: IMSERSO) and the Young Persons' Institute  (Spanish acronym: INJUVE).

Equal opportunities

The effective achievement of equal opportunities among individuals regardless of gender, age, ideology, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, religion or any other condition or personal or social circumstance (as recognised in Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution) is one of the permanent goals of the Government of Spain.

The Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities 2014-2016, approved at the Council of Ministers on 7 March 2014, seeks to enhance equal treatment and opportunities between men and women. This plan is the instrument through which the Government of Spain defines - in those areas for which the State is responsible - the priority objectives and measures for eliminating any gender discrimination that may persist and achieving equal opportunities between men and women.

In particular, it responds to three strategic objectives of a priority nature: (i) to reduce the inequalities that still exist in the workplace and the economy, with a strong focus on wage inequality; (ii) to support reconciliation of and co-responsibility for personal, family and work life; and (iii) to eradicate the violence suffered by women because of their gender. These objectives are joined by a further three: (iv) to improve the involvement of women in politics, economics and social affairs; (v) to foster equal opportunities between men and women through the education system; and (vi) to fully integrate the principle of equal treatment and opportunities into all policies and actions of the Government of Spain. All these objectives are essential for making progress towards equal treatment and truly equal opportunities between men and women.

Of all the equality plans approved to date in Spain, this one has received the largest budgetary provision, with 3.13 billion euros, of which almost 70% is allocated to employment and work-life balance. For the first time, employment is the priority goal of the plan, and one of the three main cornerstones on which the majority of the 244 measures comprising the plan are aimed at: employment, work-life balance and gender-based violence.

The Action Plan for Equal Opportunities between men and women in the Information Society 2014-2017 was approved based on one of the strategic lines of the Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities. This Action Plan contains 121 measures to contribute towards improving the digital inclusion of women in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) under conditions of equal opportunities with men.

Furthermore, on 9 October 2015, the government approved the Plan to Promote Women in the Rural Environment 2015-2018. This is the first time that a specific plan has been drawn up to enhance the integration of the principle of equality in the different actions carried out by the Central Government in the rural environment. The 82 actions contained in the plan are grouped into five areas of activity: the economy, employment and entrepreneurship; participation in decision-making of both rural women and women in fishing communities; the promotion work-life balance and co-responsibility; the incorporation of equal opportunities in the design of policies to promote the rural environment and fishing communities; and raising awareness on the situation of women in the rural environment and fishing communities.

"Conectadas - Día Internacional de las Mujeres 2014" (MSSSI)On this issue the Institute for Women and for Equal Opportunities, an independent body under the umbrella of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, is fundamentally aimed at promoting and fostering conditions capable of leading to social equality between men and women, and the participation of women in political, cultural, economic and social life, as well as preventing and eliminating all forms of discrimination against people on grounds of birth, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or ideology, sexual orientation or identity, age, disability or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.

One of the priority objectives is to guarantee equal opportunities between men and women in terms of working conditions and the labour market. Steps are being taken to achieve this by promoting the employability of women through strategies to improve their training and career development, promote reconciliation and co-responsibility and eliminate wage discrimination. Actions with particularly vulnerable women are being developed with the aim of providing special attention to improving the employability of women with special needs, through programmes aimed at improving the professional capabilities of women in vulnerable situations and/or at the risk of social or labour exclusion, either through their personal circumstances, as members of ethnic minorities, because they are over the age of 45, young women, women with disabilities, victims of gender-based violence or as a result of living in rural areas with limited facilities. Conventions have accordingly been signed with local authorities to foster the social and labour inclusion of women. Programmes are also being launched to support female entrepreneurship through technical advice and support, while also facilitating access by entrepreneurs to lines of credit.

Work is underway to promote equality in companies through annual calls for subsidies to SMEs to draft and implement equality plans; through the award of the "Equality in the Company" symbol (at present, 127 companies and organisations can boast this symbol), and through a free advisory service for equality plans and measures in companies through the website igualdadenlaempresa.es.

In addition, the "Network of Companies with Equality in the Company symbol" has been set up which, through a virtual platform and an online forum, allows its member companies to interact and evaluate their activities on the incorporation of the principle of equal treatment and opportunities between men and women in their functioning and structure, as well as to exchange good practices.

Other lines of action include the promotion of business equality plans and fostering the employment of women in decision-making positions.

Another line of work is fostering the incorporation of women in decision-making posts, including the following noteworthy projects:

  • The "More women, better companies" project seeks to boost the balanced participation of men and women in positions of responsibility in companies. This is a flexible initiative that is further enhanced by the signing of collaboration agreements between the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality and companies. At present 85 companies form part of this programme.
  • The 'Promociona' Project incorporates actions aimed at a corporate commitment in the selection and promotion of female talent and at facilitating specific training for high potential women in the development of managerial skills, the creation of networks that increase and enhance the visibility of the pool of women that are suitable to hold positions of responsibility, including on management committees and boards of directors.

On another note, noteworthy actions are undertaken in relation to information, advice and assistance to victims of discrimination on the grounds of sex. A free hotline is also available that offers information to men and women on women's rights, the right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and the resources available.

The Image of Women Watchdog analyses the representation of women in advertising and the media with the aim of observing the most significant roles assigned to them, and, in the event that these are sexist, taking action that contributes to abolishing stereo-typical images.

At an international level, work is being done through the main forums aimed at promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, highlighting those of the United Nations, especially the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and the European Union.

Work is also being done to encourage social integration and non-discrimination among all citizens. These efforts have led to such specific objectives as the following:

  • Preventing potential acts of discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin
  • Detecting acts of discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin
  • Supporting and advising those people who may have become the victims of discrimination
  • Public information and outreach actions concerning the right to equality and non-discrimination

In this regard, the Council for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has a duty to provide independent assistance to victims of discrimination, conduct studies and publish reports on discrimination against people on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, and foster measures that help eliminate discrimination against people on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, as well as make appropriate recommendations on any issue related to such discrimination.

Fighting poverty and social exclusions

One of the strategic areas for the State Secretariat of Social Services and Equality is the development of a social cohesion and inclusion policy.

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2013-2016 is the main instrument specifically aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion. It was approved by the Council of Ministers on 13 December 2013.

This plan acts as an instrument to bring together all the policies aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion in Spain, while also responding to the objective defined in the Europa 2020 strategy to reduce the poverty.

Furthermore, it also responds to the commitment made by the Government of Spain to tackle the increase in the number of people at risk of social exclusion in Spain due to the economic crisis. It was drawn up in collaboration with various ministerial departments, regional governments, local authorities and, in particular, the social action community sector.

In spite of the rather unfavourable conditions that characterise the current socio-economic situation, implementation of this plan represents an opportunity for all stakeholders involved in combating the social exclusion phenomenon to join forces and coordinate their efforts.

The goal is to take cross-cutting action based on the concept of active inclusion by incorporating measures in various fields of activity capable of supporting people at risk of exclusion, while also developing new instruments for coordination and cooperation between the various levels of government in Spain and the entities operating in the community sector so as to facilitate the provision of more efficient public services.

For the first time, this new Inclusion Plan incorporates a cross-cutting objective on combating child poverty in line with the European Recommendation from the Commission "Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage". Each one of the priority and operational objectives includes actions targeting this goal, thereby trying to provide a vision of support for children.

The plan comprises 240 actions focusing on three strategic objectives and a section focused on the most vulnerable groups. As in the past, it contains a budgetary estimate on total spending associated with application of the measures for the period that the plan will remain active. In this case, the plan will remain active for the budgetary years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and will receive a provision of over 136.5 billion euros for the period.

Reunión del ex-Ministro de Sanidad con el presidente de Cruz Roja Española (MSSSI)It is also important to stress that all the actions included in the plan will be supported by the new financing objectives contained in the new programming of the European Social Fund (ESF) for the next financial period 2014-2020 as part of the social cohesion policy of the European Union.

With a view to improving the quality of primary care social services, mechanisms have been put in place for supplementary technical cooperation and the mutual exchange of information between Central Government, the regional governments and - through the latter - local authorities in such specific areas as homelessness, minimum wage schemes and the Roma community.

Furthermore, it should be stressed that, since 1988, the General State Administration Services have been managing the Development of Basic Social Service Provision by Local Authorities Plan credit, a financial collaboration facility with the regional governments and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, in which all regional governments participate, except Navarre and the Basque Country due to their special financing system. Its main objectives are to provide people with proper social services capable of meeting their basic needs; providing economic support and technical assistance to local authorities for the development of their powers; and consolidating the basic network of municipal social services for developing the provision of primary healthcare social services.This facility amounted to 27,413,730 euros in 2014 and the provision remained the same in 2015 and in 2016.

Coordination between public authorities on the matter of social services was stepped up recently with the creation of the Reference Catalogue of Social Services, approved on 16 January 2013 by the Regional Council of Social Services and System for Autonomy and Attention to Long-Term Care Recipients. This framework document outlines the services provided as a general rule throughout Spain.

As regards the Roma community, the General State Administration Services have been managing the Roma Community Development Plan credit since 1989, through which integrated social intervention projects are jointly funded with the regional governments and - through the latter - local authorities. A line of technical and financial cooperation is also being developed with the entities that represent the Roma association movement through the grants issued as part of the funding round aimed at undertaking general-interest programmes paid for by Personal Income Tax and the grants issued to community sector entities of a State nature collaborating with the General State Administration Services. 

At the call for general interest programmes, State subsidies amounted to 5,595,243 euros in 2013, 5,625,243 euros in 2014 and 5,685,243 euros in 2015. As regards subsidies for the Third Sector, these amounted to 508,483 euros in 2013, 491,397 euros in 2014 and 504,403 euros in 2015 through direct subsidies.

The State Council for the Roma Community was set up in 2005 to strengthen participation by these entities in the design and development of policies supporting the Roma community. The second mandate for this council (2012-2016) expire in April 2016 and is presently operating as an acting council. Work is currently underway on the renewal of the council members, which will take effect between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. On 2 March 2012, the Council of Ministers approved the National Strategy for the Social Inclusion of the Roma Community in Spain 2012-2020. The first operational plan under this strategy was approved in April 2014, covering the period 2014-2016. Work is being done to draw up an evaluation of this strategy to assess the extent to which the goals were achieved in line with the standards initially set by the strategy.

Similarly, it should be stressed that the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality created a new credit in 2014 for the Fight against Child Poverty. This credit is aimed at financing economic benefits of social emergency and those social intervention projects undertaken with households or cohabitation units that include children and are in a situation of severe material hardship, thereby meeting the targets of the National Social Inclusion Plan 2013-2016 - one of the main objectives of which is to combat child poverty (linked to the European Commission Recommendation of 20 February 2013: Investing in children"). Within the Public Social Services System, projects should be promoted by the regional governments and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, as well as managed by them or by local authorities or public entities of a local nature. 

Along the same line, a new facility for Support to Families and Children amounting to 32 million euros was included in the 2015 General State Budget. This has increased to 48 million euros in 2016.

A series of Social Urgency programmes have been promoted to support people and families in greatest need. These programmes are new and form part of the round of funding for subsidies aimed at undertaking programmes of a general interest with funds from Personal Income Tax in order to collaborate with NGOs and finance programmes aimed at creating and/or maintaining social canteens, food deliveries and other primary need goods, such as clothes and hygiene products. During the 2013 round of funding, a total of 19,799,370 euros was allocated to these programmes for their development in 2014. This figure rose to 23,878,149 euros in 2014 for those carried out in 2015, an increase of 20.6%. In 2015, 23,928,149 euros were granted for implementation during the year 2016.

It should be added that, by means of (EU) Regulation 223/2014, of 11 March 2014, the European Parliament and European Council approved the creation of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) aimed at financing the supply of food and essential goods, as well as adopting social intervention measures. For the period 2014-2020, the budget allocated to Spain in this regard amounted to over 563,410,224 euros. National co-financing will be added to this figure, raising the total to 662,835,558 euros. In part, this fund is intended to replace the fund for food aid that was previously managed within the framework of the common agricultural policy. It is now characterised by a refocus towards social and not only material support by establishing the need for food aid to be linked to social support capable of enabling people to overcome the situation of vulnerability in which they may find themselves. In this regard, work is being done to develop a system for the provision of measures to accompany the beneficiaries of the aid, geared towards facilitating their socio-labour insertion according to their specific needs. In terms of the fight against poverty and social exclusion, on 6 November 2015, the Council of Ministers approved the Comprehensive Strategy for the Homeless 2015-2020, which is the first strategy in this specific area to be approved by Central Government. Through eight strategic goals, this strategy seeks to stress the different facets of the phenomenon of homelessness in order to reduce its size and affect in our country.

Furthermore, Constitutional Law 8/2015, of 22 July, on amendments to the child and teenager protection system, as well as Law 26/2015, of 28 July, on amendments to the child and teenager protection system, have changed the legal system to ensure that poverty is not the only justification for a declaration of abandonment in children, giving priority to their remaining with the family of origin.

The multidimensional nature of poverty requires action to be taken from various directions, meaning that the afore-mentioned measures are accompanied by a wide range of others developed over the course of 2015. Particular efforts were made in the field of employment, fostering active policies aimed at increasing the employability of people in a situation of exclusion and to support low incomes. Housing was another priority area for action, with the approval of various regulations aimed at protecting mortgage holders and enabling them to pay their electricity bills. Measures were also adopted to support families within Personal Income Tax returns and legislation was changed to remove the taxation of social incomes, meaning they were not subject to embargos up to a family-based minimum.

Furthermore, State subsidies allocated to carrying out general interest programmes charged to the Personal Income Tax assignment - a basic care instrument for people with social and socio-labour insertion needs - amounted to a total of 22,426,378 euros in 2013, a total of 24,423,269 euros in 2014 and a total of 24,333,269 euros in 2015.

Law 45/2015, of 14 October, on Volunteer Work, came into effect on 16 October 2015 to replace Law 6/1996, of 15 January, on Volunteer Work. The new reality in terms of volunteer action and the demand for updates from volunteer organisations made it necessary to create a new legal framework capable of providing a suitable response to the configuration and scope of current volunteer actions. A specific legal regime was designed to respond to these new requirements that take into account the national and international experience gained by volunteer organisations and volunteers since 1996.

The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality promoted this important reform through a participatory process that involved the executive centres of the Central Government of Spain, regional governments, representatives from volunteer organisations and other stakeholders, such as companies and universities.

The new law covers unqualified volunteer action, without excluding any field of action and including other stakeholders, such as companies, universities and the public authorities themselves. New forms of volunteer action are recognised for the first time, such as those undertaken by volunteers through information and communication technologies requiring no physical presence by volunteers at volunteer organisations. It sets clear limits on remunerated work for both the public and private sectors.

It considers children as possible volunteers, incorporates the elderly and disabled, and establishes incompatibilities in certain situations regarding persons with current criminal records. The beneficiaries of volunteer action appear in the legislation for the first time.

As regards the constitutional distribution of powers, it places an emphasis on describing the areas of cooperation between the public authorities that make the mutual supply of information, technical cooperation and joint action possible.

In terms of promoting volunteer work, it contains the instruments available to the public authorities and companies or institutions for promoting and facilitating the adoption of measures to reduce or adapt working hours so that external workers or public employees can undertake volunteer actions. It also establishes the possibility of recognising the skills that volunteers may have obtained with a view to personal promotion without this detracting from the free nature of the volunteer action in any way.

Family and children

The protection and promotion of children and families, as well as the prevention of situations of need that these groups may find themselves in, is one of the cornerstones of social policy.

Support for families has been structured into several lines of action:

  • Improvements to the reconciliation of family, work and personal life, with a special focus on promoting family-friendly, flexible businesses, changing the use of time in our society (especially in terms of working hours) and improving the range of early childcare services (0-3 years).

  • Family education and the positive exercise of parental responsibilities, through collaboration with other authorities, the third sector and experts to improve the skills and abilities of parents in the education and upbringing of their children.

  • Care for families in situations of particular vulnerability or special needs, mainly through support to family associations and organisations that develop health and welfare intervention programmes for families with social difficulties or conflicts (promoting healthy family relations by preventing and managing family conflicts: guidance, mediation, promotion of family Meeting Points or therapy), in addition to specific groups (large families, single-parent families, families with members requiring long-term care, etc.).

On 14 May 2015, the Council of Ministers approved the 2015-2017 Comprehensive Family Support Plan to provide for the government's family policy in an explicit and cross-cutting manner under a coherent framework of principles and objectives that integrate family support measures and that are not the responsibility of one single ministerial department but rather affect almost all ministerial departments in some form or another. The plan was drafted by the Inter-ministerial Technical Commission on Family Matters, coordinated by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality in collaboration with representatives from all other ministerial departments. It also received support from the associative family movement.

The plan seeks the following general goals and principles:

  • To develop the guiding principles that must govern actions on family-related issues.
  • To further develop social, legal and economic protection for families.
  • To tackle the socio-demographic challenges related to aging and low birth rates. To support maternity
  • To guarantee sustainability and social cohesion through support for families
  • To foster inter-generational and intra-family solidarity
  • To help build a society based on solidarity with families
  • To offer preferential support to families in special situations
  • To eradicate inequalities based on family situations
  • To further develop increased knowledge of the family as a key institution for social cohesion
  • To assess the results and impact of policies aimed at supporting families

The 227 measures that comprise the plan are grouped into seven strategic lines of action, which include their own specific targets:

  • Social and economic protection for families
  • Reconciliation and co-responsibility
  • Support for maternity and a favourable environment for family life
  • Positive parenthood
  • Support for families with special needs
  • Family policies: coordination, cooperation and mainstreaming
  • Result-based assessment

Among these measures, it is worth highlighting the fiscal treatment of families under Personal Income Tax (with increases to family minimums and new deductions for large families, single-parent families with two children and families with persons with disabilities), the increase to contributory pensions for women who have had two or more children, the financial support for social and economic care to families in a situation of severe poverty with children in their care and the amendments to the Law on the Protection of Large Families.

The Guide to Social Aid and Family Services, periodically published and updated by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, contains the various benefits, services and programmes carried out by Central Government to the benefit of families in a systematic form and for the purposes of publication and dissemination.

In collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (Spanish acronym: FEMP), the ministerial department has also set up the web portal www.familiasenpositivo.es as a new resource for families and family intervention professionals that seeks to promote the positive exercise of parenthood and strengthen support for positive parenting in the public policies and services of local governments and their associative sphere.

Día Mundial de los Derechos de la Infancia (Ministerio de la Presidencia y para las Administraciones Territoriales)Two new laws came into effect in August 2015 (Constitutional Law 8/2015, of 22 July, and Law 26/2015, of 28 July), which amended the child and teenager protection system in Spain. This is the most important reform of State legislation on this issue in the last 20 years, and has led to substantial changes in the existing legal framework by amending 20 substantive and procedural laws.

This reform - pushed through by the Ministries of Health, Social Services and Equality, and Justice, and drafted in collaboration with and under agreement from the regional governments, non-governmental organisations dealing with children and prestigious academic institutions - responds to a government commitment based on important recommendations and reports from national and international organisations that urged Spain to improve its legal treatment of children and teenagers.

It aims to provide a response to children with needs: the almost 14,000 children who live in homes rather than with families, the over 3,000 who are victims of sex crimes every year, and those who suffer violence against women alongside their mothers, among others.

The reform is based on three main key areas:

  • A new regulatory framework governing children's rights and special protection for the most vulnerable.
  • A far-reaching reform of the Spanish child protection system.
  • A reform in which protection against violence for children becomes a cross-cutting priority.

This reform significantly affects the value of childhood and adolescence in the legal system by establishing an obligation for the reports on regulatory impact analysis that must accompany draft bills and regulations to include the impact of this legislation on children and teenagers.

Furthermore, the reform incorporates observations made by national and international institutions by adapting the Spanish legal system to them. Hence, it is worth highlighting the regulation under constitutional law of centres dealing with behavioural problems, where the measures to be adopted for children can affect certain fundamental rights to which they are entitled but where these measures are always aimed at education. 

Furthermore, Law 26/2015 includes a reform of Law 40/2003, on protection for large families, that enables families to continue to be considered as such provided that one or more of the children continue to meet the age requirements and other legal conditions so that younger siblings can benefit to the same extent as the older siblings without the family losing large-family entitlements when the latter no longer meet said requirements and thus leave the family with less than three children under 21 (or 26 if they are studying).

Furthermore, action programmes on prevention, child care and child protection are being promoted in a number of ways:

  • By defining the fight against child abuse as a strategic and cross-cutting commitment with the involvement of all tiers of public authority
  • By developing increasingly more effective protocols for administrative action. Particular mention should be made of the work being done to prepare a specific protocol on the issue of child trafficking
  • By improving child abuse information systems
  • By supporting community sector actions in this area

The 2nd National Strategic Plan for Childhood and Adolescence (Spanish acronym: II PENIA 2013-2016) was published in April 2013 with the basic aim of promoting a culture of cooperation between public and private institutions to address the new challenges to the well-being of children.

The Childhood Watchdog maintains a system of information on the well-being and quality of life of children and the public policies that affect them, with participation by all the institutions and social stakeholders involved (General State Administration Services, regional governments and autonomous cities, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces and representatives from Childhood NGOs).

Furthermore, State subsidies allocated to carrying out general interest programmes for children and families, charged to the Personal Income Tax assignment, amounted to a total of 25,454,789 euros in 2013, a total of 27,496,679 euros in 2014 and a total of 27,747,408 euros in 2015.

Young people

Young people are another focus for the social strategy implemented by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. A prime example of this is the Youth Services and Promotion Programme, which is based on three principles:

  • Guaranteeing equal opportunities for young people throughout Spain regardless of their economic, social or cultural background
  • Implementing the necessary actions to develop Article 48 of the Spanish Constitution more effectively by encouraging young people to participate in cultural, economic, social and political life
  • Promoting collaboration with other ministerial departments and public authorities whose activities have an impact on this sector of the population

These are the principles underpinning the work of the Young Persons' Institute (Spanish acronym: INJUVE), an agency managed under the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality that promotes the participation of Spanish young people in the political, social, economic and cultural development of Spain through collaboration with other public authorities, nationwide youth organisations and the Youth Council of Spain.

Jóvenes (Ministerio de la Presidencia y para las Administraciones Territoriales)The activities undertaken by this institute include support programmes for youth organisations to subsidise actions targeting young people; the European Union's ERASMUS + Youth in Action programme, which develops, fosters and encourages youth exchanges and volunteering in Europe; and subsidies for young creators, youth information and communication activities. It also produces and publishes statistics, studies and surveys on the social, labour, economic and cultural situation of young people through the Spanish Youth Watchdog.

The Council of Ministers approved the 2020 Youth Strategy in 2014, which contains the policies and resources currently available to help young people develop their potential and projects; in other words, the different actions targeting young people implemented by the various ministerial departments and current trends in this regard. The goal is to highlight the value of these measures and provide maximum visibility for the opportunities they offer to young people. All ministerial departments are involved in defining and implementing this strategy through the Inter-ministerial Committee for Youth.

The strategy is based around six lines of action: Education and Development; Employment and Entrepreneurship; Housing; Prevention and Health; Participation, Volunteering, Cohabitation, Inclusion and Equality; and Institutional Cooperation. It also provides for the development of three Action Plans (2014-2016; 2016-2018; 2018-2020).

Within the framework of this strategy, the INJUVE has set the promotion of employability and entrepreneurial spirit among young people as its current priority. This work is being carried out through a number of programmes:

  • The Emprende XL Social Media Network: This is a platform designed to promote enterprising culture among young people and to serve as an environment of reference and support for new entrepreneurship projects.
  • National Young Entrepreneurs Contest: An annual competition aimed at fostering entrepreneurial culture and business creation among young people under the age of 35 years.
  • Youth Microcredits Programme: The purpose of this programme is to facilitate access to specific funding in the form of a microcredit for starting up, promoting and funding business projects for people under the age of 35 years, through an annual agreement signed with Microbank.
  • The Emprendemos App: This is an app to promote entrepreneurship and youth employment.
  • The InnGames Digital Entertainment Project: In 2014, this project aims to promote the design of projects and the creation of innovative businesses linked to the digital entertainment industry through new training pathways in regulated and non-regulated training.
  • The INJUVE website and channels on social media networks: Having an online presence is decisive for such agencies as INJUVE that promote and foster policies targeting young people. Hence, INJUVE's current website (www.injuve.es) has been designed as a comprehensive digital communication project in the form of an interactive online information and counselling guide for young people.
  • Network of Youth Information Services (SIJ Network): INJUVE coordinates this extensive network of information services for young people, made up of more than 3,300 centres across the country that report to the regional governments, local councils, associations and other agencies. These centres provide young people with information and advice on resources for employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Youth Guarantee: In coordination with the regional governments, the National Youth Guarantee System and the corresponding online registration form were launched in June 2014 via the website set up for this purpose. This measure, promoted by the European Union, aims to ensure that young people aged between 16 and 29 who are neither studying nor working receive a good offer of employment, ongoing training, apprenticeship training or work experience. The INJUVE collaborates with the Ministry of Employment and Social Security in promoting and spreading this initiative, to which end a collaboration agreement was signed in March 2015 so that, at the centres that form a part of the information and communication system on youth issues coordinated by INJUVE, registrations and applications to the Youth Guarantee can be facilitated.
  • Decade of Youth Employment. The campaign entitled, "Decade of Youth Employment" seeks to generate an international movement for reflection, thought, debate and action that contributes ideas, content and agreed solutions to the situation of unemployment and the search for gainful employment for millions of young people around the world. The Government of Spain has decided to back this initiative such that the declaration of the "Decade of Youth Employment" can be approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, to which end the Spanish Campaign Committee has been set up by a resolution of the Council of Ministers adopted on 12 June 2015. INJUVE operates as the Secretary to the committee, which is commissioned with the following functions:
  1. ​​To promote the declaration of the Decade of Youth Employment by the United Nations General Assembly.
  2. To coordinate the activities which, if this declaration is achieved, are to be carried out by the members of the committee at both national and international levels.
  3. To enhance the participation of civil society in promoting the declaration of the Decade of Youth Employment.
  4. To propose and coordinate the advertising and communication campaigns of the declaration of the Decade of Youth Employment.

Violence against women

In the field of violence against women, the National Strategy to Eradicate Violence against Women 2013- 2016 has been approved with a total of 284 actions. This strategy, the contents of which follow international recommendations, reflects the political commitment and determination of the Government of Spain to lead and promote actions to stamp out violence against women using a participatory approach that involves all regional and local authorities and ministerial departments and makes efforts to promote coordination and networking. It also includes a Financial Report containing an estimate of the funds allocated to developing the measures contained in the plan, which amounts to a total of 1.56 billion euros.

The strategy has been designed to fine-tune, expand on and consolidate actions by the public authorities geared towards eradicating violence against women; it represents an effort to align and plan the actions not only of ministerial departments, but also of local and regional government authorities.

The strategy seeks to achieve the aim of breaking the complicit silence of abuse, fostering prevention and anticipating detection; at present, as contained in the 1st Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy to Eradicate Violence against Women 2013-2016, which was presented to the Council of Ministers on 20 November 2015, more than half of the measures contained in the strategy have been carried out. Together with the implementation of the strategy over the last year, an extensive raft of legislative measures contained in 11 regulations has been approved which continues to extend, improve and perfect the judicial, police, preventive and care response for women and their children that suffer violence.

The strategy aims to achieve the objectives of breaking the silence that works as an accomplice to abuse by promoting prevention and early detection. All possible channels - not only the conventional media - are being used to raise awareness, with information being provided to all those sectors that can help foster increased awareness. The belief is that, the more channels that are used, the more likely it will be to achieve success in spreading the message of "There is a way to escape violence against women", which is the slogan used by the institutional campaigns run by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality since 2012.

Campaña "Hay salida a la violencia de género" (Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad)In this regard, a broad range of actions on prevention and to raise awareness have been developed precisely geared towards "breaking the complicit silence of abuse" and actions on prevention and to raise awareness have been seen by many parties and institutions backed by the Government Representation to Combat Gender-Based Violence (Spanish acronym: DGVG) (regional governments, local authorities and civil society), with the common aim or developing unanimous social awareness against abuse.

Noteworthy is the initiative entitled "Companies for a Society Free of Gender-Based Violence", which now has 91 public and private members with a potential impact in raising social awareness of more than 800 million clients.

The report also remarks on the extensive use of social networks and new technologies in helping to raise awareness, which are essential for reaching certain groups such as adolescents, who nowadays are genuine digital natives. In 2013, the app entitled "LIBRES" was implemented, which has now been downloaded more than 9,500 times, and in November 2015, the web portal entitled "For a Society Free of Gender-Based Violence" was launched that contains a comprehensive list of all the information available on violence against women and which, moreover, was set up with the aim of raising social awareness.

In relation to young people and adolescents, a specific campaign was launched in 2014 entitled "Tell your story. There is a way out of gender-based violence", which received the award for the best public service campaign published on Internet Day as well as an award from the magazine "New Medical Economics".

Actions also continue to be developed to raise awareness in various fields such as sport, with the 4th edition of the 'Way Out Race' or participation in the event 'Free Yoga' or the healthcare campaign with the distribution of posters at pharmacies around the country.

Furthermore, in regard to improving the institutional response in the areas of security and justice, and care, the system has been seen to have a major impact, measured by the number of users and beneficiaries of different resources, services and aid available.

In terms of the 016 service, in the year 2016 to date, 40,609 calls have been received, and the highest figure of calls seen in a month of June since 2008 (first full year the service was offered). This represents a 13.7% increase on the number of calls registered in the same period of 2015 (35,714), and 24.2% higher than the annual average of calls received until the month of June in the period 2008-2015 (32,701).

In this field, progress has been made in the following aspects:

  • To improve the institutional response to victims of gender-based violence in order to make progress towards personalised treatment and the "one-stop shop", and to encourage women to file a police report with legal aid entitlement, regardless of the financial means of the victim. While developing the common proposal for improved coordination and a personalised response to the victims of violence against women and their children, approval has been given to the common guidelines for comprehensive and individualised intervention with women who are victims of gender-based violence and their children at the Sector Conference on Equality on 21 July 2014.
  • To cater specifically for particularly vulnerable groups: teenagers, children, women with disabilities, senior citizens, rural and migrant women. Support has continued to be provided to these vulnerable groups through specific actions, such as improved accessibility to resources (ATENPRO and 016) for people with disabilities. Efforts have been made to increase knowledge among teenagers about violence against women via three studies conducted by the Government Delegation for Gender-Based Violence entitled: "Cyberbullying as a form of violence against women among young people"; "Trends in Spanish teenagers regarding equality and the prevention of violence against women"; and "The perception of violence against women among teenagers and young people". Figures on children have also been included in the statistics.
  • To raise the profile of other forms of violence against women: trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation purposes, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual assault, and the new forms of practising this type of violence through the use of new technologies. Approval has been given to the new Common Protocol for Healthcare Action in response to Female Genital Mutilation, provided for in measure 185 of the National Strategy to Eradicate Violence against Women. Furthermore, the plenary session of the Childhood Watchdog at its session on 9 June 2014 approved the updates to the "Basic Protocol on Intervention against Child Abuse in the Family Environment", in which reference is now made to female genital mutilation.
  • To train and raise awareness among stakeholders. The ongoing efforts in this regard include online training about violence against women aimed at professionals in the rural environment under a partnership agreement with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.
  • To improve coordination and networking by creating an interconnected national structure across Spain through Female Violence Units or the shelter network. In this regard, one of the main actions has been to approve protocols for coordinating actions on violence against women in various autonomous regions and to approve the protocol on referrals between shelter centres at the Sector Conference on Equality on 21 July 2014.
  • To ensure transparency, access to and quality of information and to promote knowledge and research on violence against women in order to determine its scope and the mechanisms for its eradication. Various studies have been conducted to enhance knowledge on violence against women, such as the study entitled "The Social Perception of Violence against Women" presented in 2014.

Given its leadership in this field, Spain's participation in international forums is also being promoted so as to raise the profile of its commitment to eradicating violence against women.

All of these measures are reflected in the 1st Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy to Eradicate Violence Against Women 2013-2016 that was presented to the Council of Ministers on 20 November 2015, specifically:

Legislative and regulatory provisions:

  • Law 42/2015, of 5 October, reforming Law 1/2000, of 7 January, on Civil Procedure, which amends Constitutional Law 1/2004, of 28 December, on Measures for Comprehensive Protection from Violence against Women, by changing its Article 20. This text recognises that the victims of violence against women and people trafficking, as well as the legal beneficiaries, regardless of the existence of resources to bring legal action, are entitled to free legal aid, which shall be provided to them immediately in those proceedings linked to, stemming from or resulting from their status as victims. Besides other free services, free legal aid shall comprise advice and guidance immediately prior to filing a report or bringing legal action.
  • Royal Decree developing the Statute on Victims of Crime and regulating Victim Support Offices, with the aim of ensuring their protection and fully guaranteeing their rights. This Royal Decree provides for the development of action, coordination and collaboration protocols, with support from victim protection associations and groups. Under this text, the services offered to victims in criminal proceedings shall be based on multidisciplinary professional support from case managers who accompany victims during the process, and therapeutic support provided by psychologists and other specialised professionals who may take part in order to increase the quality of the services. The offices may also draw up individualised support plans for the proper monitoring of victims and psychological support plans for especially vulnerable victims, such as children and persons with disabilities, as well as victims of people trafficking, sexual violence or exploitation, or violence against women.

The protocols themselves:

  • Action protocol for supporting Spanish victims of violence against women overseas, of 8 October 2015, stemming from a joint effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. This protocol defines the powers of the Central Government of Spain overseas involved in the treatment of violence against women. The scope of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation includes such measures as:
  1. ​To provide the necessary consular protection and assistance to Spanish victims of violence against women.
  2. To organise and, as appropriate, provide funds for the cost of repatriation for the woman and her children who are victims of violence against women when the situation so requires under the regulations governing repatriation.
  3. To issue passports or safe-passage documents in the event of expiry, loss or theft of personal documentation in accordance with current legislation.  
  • Action protocol at a penitentiary level on the system of remote monitoring of compliance with restraining measures and orders in cases of violence against women. The purpose of this protocol is to develop section 5 of the action protocol on the system of remote monitoring of compliance with restraining measures and orders in cases of violence against women with regard to application and removal at a penitentiary level. Given the specific characteristics of the penitentiary field, it is necessary to adapt the actions of application and removal of monitoring system devices upon admittance, release or departure from penitentiary centres of inmates. 
  • Action protocol on healthcare in response to female genital mutilation, of 21 January 2015. This Common Healthcare Protocol provides a specific response to Measure 185 of the National Strategy to Eradicate Violence Against Women 2013-2016, approved by the Council of Ministers on 26 July 2013.It is fundamentally aimed at creating a basic tool to raise awareness and provide professional training in the fight against female genital mutilation and steer common action by the entire National Health System (NHS) as a whole to improve the health of women and girls on whom this practice has been performed, as well as to work on the prevention and detection of its potential practice when, due to their family context, these women and girls are in a situation of particular vulnerability.

Disability support policies

The chief aim of public policies in this area is to achieve full equality of opportunities, non-discrimination, universal accessibility and the real exercise of rights by persons with disabilities on equal terms with other citizens.

To achieve these goals, the ministry and the Royal Disability Trust have worked with associations for the disabled and other ministerial departments to develop Royal Legislative Decree 1/2013, of 29 November 2013, approving the Recast Text of the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Inclusion in Society.

The purpose of this regulation is to harmonise and update the texts making up the legislation repealed from the point of view of the rights contained therein, in accordance with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The two bodies are also working on the development of the following measures:

  • Implementation of the Action Plan for the Spanish Strategy on Disability 2014-2020 in collaboration with regional governments, disability associations and other ministerial departments. This new plan consists of two separate stages. The first stage will take place in 2014 to 2016, and the second will take place in 2017 to 2020.
  • In terms of public employment, such positive actions are being carried out as reserving a proportion of no less than 7% of all public employment offers for people with disabilities, with independent recruitment processes for 2% of said employment positions reserved for people with disabilities. Furthermore, at least 7% of places for specialised healthcare training are reserved annually for people with disabilities.
  • To promote civil dialogue through participation by disability associations and entities in the design, application and monitoring of those public policies that directly or indirectly affect disability through the National Disability Council and other bodies and procedures and informal meetings with these entities, as well as constant coordination and collaboration with them.
  • In the field of social participation, to strengthen the ability of the social action community sector to interact with the State administration services.
  • Social awareness through the annual Reina Sofía Disability Awards has been enhanced by the launch of the Accessibility Technologies Award in 2014 and the Inclusive Culture Award in 2015, thereby complying with the Integrated Culture for All Strategy.
  • As regards accessibility, Royal Decree 1056/2014, of 12 December, regulating the basic conditions for the issue and use of the disabled persons parking permit was approved. This regulation guarantees legal certainty for any citizen with a disability and reduced mobility, as well as equal conditions regarding use of the parking permit throughout the country. In regard to accessibility, a report is also published annually on the application of the "Comprehensive Strategy on Culture for All. Accessibility to Culture for Persons with Disabilities", which contains the progress made in applying the measures established in the strategy.
  • In November 2015, the government approved the "Spanish Strategy on Autism Spectrum Disorders", the reference framework on the definition of State policies and actions in this field. Divided into 15 strategic lines with goals defined in such fields as education, employment, healthcare, accessibility and participation, the strategy is geared towards constituting an essential tool for improving social inclusion, quality of life and the protection of the right of persons with autism spectrum disorders.
  • The Spanish Network for Information and Documentation on Disabilities is the result of collaboration between the documentation and information services on disabilities associated with the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. It is made up of the Spanish Centre for Documentation on Disabilities (Spanish acronym: CEDD), the State Watchdog on Disabilities (Spanish acronym: OED) and the Information Service on Disabilities (Spanish acronym: SID). The Spanish Network coordinates the documentation, informative and research work of its components on the matter of disability, improving and extending the information offer aimed at persons with disabilities, exerts and the rest of Spanish society, contributing to the management of knowledge in the field of disabilities, facilitating access to the most important data, analysis and information, and driving the exchange of ideas and experiences. In addition to its coordination work, the Spanish Network has promoted the publication of the Spanish Magazine on Disabilities and the creation of the Ibero-American Repository on Disabilities.
  • The Disability Services Office (Spanish acronym: OADIS) managed under the Directorate-General of Policies in Support of Disability is working on: The promotion of equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities; Information, awareness and efforts with training exercises on the right to equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities: Support and advice to people with disabilities who have been the subject of discrimination in issues related to telecommunications and the information society, urbanised public spaces, infrastructures and buildings, relations with the public administration services, transport, goods and services made available to the public, the administration of justice and cultural heritage; Recommendations to the various ministerial departments in order for them to consider their degree of compliance on non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities.

The elderly

The Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Spanish acronym: IMSERSO), managed under the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, is a Management Body of the Social Security system through which the Government of Spain implements its policies targeting the elderly. Citizens are the overarching priority for its objectives and actions.

Based on the above, the policies that target the elderly include a strong component associated with fostering and providing services. For this reason, it should be remembered that the economic situation in 2011 presented a number of uncertainties that required stability to be returned to the public accounts in order to ensure lasting growth. Despite this, the efforts made by the Government of Spain made it possible to maintain policies targeting the elderly as a top priority.

There is no question that pensions are the most important of these policies. The Government of Spain has annually updated the amounts allocated to the Non-Contributory Pensions received by over 450,000 people with an increase of 7.1% in the period 2011-2015. The government has also maintained the complementary benefit for living in rented accommodation and the compatibility between receiving a non-contributory invalidity pension and having a certain income per year from self-employment or wages.

Actividades en un Centro de Mayores (IMSERSO, Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad)In 2015, IMSERSO paid out a total of 2.371 billion euros in non-contributory retirement and invalidity pensions to 453,547 people; 58% of them women.

This protection policy has meant that the at-risk-of-poverty rate among people over the age of 65 now stands below the EU average. Spain is below such countries as Sweden and the United Kingdom in this regard. This at-risk-of-poverty rate has been reduced by 8.4 percentage points in the last three years.

Furthermore, the active aging programmes have been maintained in order to improve the quality of life and promote health among the elderly. Efforts have also been made to encourage elderly associations. IMSERSO allocates almost 2.4 million euros of its annual budget to over 30 stable entities. Furthermore, through Personal Income Tax subsidies for NGOs, the Government of Spain has allocated almost 193 million euros to caring for the most vulnerable elderly members of society over the last three years.

The Imserso Tourism Programme for the Elderly and to Maintain Employment in Tourist Areas is framed within the policies and programmes for active and healthy aging, developed by Imserso. In 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, 1,035,717 places have been offered each season, a rise of 238,921 on the 2014-2015 season, representing a 26.7% rise. This has resulted in an economic impact for the 2016-2017 season of 372 million euros (with a 69-million euro contribution from Imserso), and led to the creation of some 90,000 jobs.

The following new features in the seasons 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 are particularly worthy of mention:​

  • Diversification of the length of stays: introducing trips for a shorter number of days for those users that prefer this, while maintaining the length of stay for others.
  • Increase in the number of places and the diversification of inland tourism, cultural routes and nature tourism, diversifying the destinations and introducing new modalities (long weekends and short stays in provincial capitals).
  • Incorporation of new activities in inland tourism, free of charge for users and related to the gastronomic wealth and wine tourism, as a way to become more familiar with these cultures, visits to local markets and healthy and recreational activities in spa and thalassotherapy centres, and heated hydrotherapy activities.
  • Incorporation of Ceuta and Melilla as tourist destinations.
  • Increase in the number of places on high-speed trains while maintaining the existing offer on air travel.
  • Establishment of the possibility of adapting the offer to user preferences. To achieve this, the number of lots has been reduced from four to three with the possibility, following authorisation from Imserso, of modifying the number of spaces for each destination within each lot.
  • Distribution of places by lot. The increase in the number of places has been distributed among three lots, such that, on a general basis, the number of places per lot is higher than for the 2014/2015 season.​

Today, all the indicators on IMSERSO Tourism in 2015 are better than those recorded in 2008, when the economic crisis had yet to begin. This improvement can be seen in terms of economic impact (up from 92.97 million euros in 2008 to 117.1 million euros in 2014), the number of participating spa centres (from 84 spas in 2008 to 103 spas in 2015), the number of spaces (up from 183,872 in 2008 to 207,606 in 2015) and the number of overnight (2,022,592 in 2008 to 1,943,964 in 2015).

The Framework of Action for the Elderly

The Framework of Action for the Elderly develops the guidelines for steering active aging and inter-generational solidarity, measures that were adopted by the Council of the European Union (EPSCO) on 6 December 2012 as an additional complement to the Europe 2020 Strategy. As an implicit part of the Council Declaration, but especially in a subsequent communiqué from the European Commission on 20 February 2013, Member States are called upon to follow these guidelines. In this regard, Spain stands among the leading countries of the European Union in terms of their development and implementation.

The drafting of the Framework of Action is the result of an extensive deliberation process. This included the participation of the elderly through their associations and institutions, particularly their main consultation body: the State Council for the Elderly, approved at its plenary session on 8 October 2015.

The efforts to draw up this Framework of Action was supported by an extensive process of debate and participation, mainly by the elderly through their various associations and entities but particularly by the leading consultation body in this regard - the State Council for the Elderly - which approved the framework at its plenary session on 8 October 2015.

The approved document contains 348 proposals and measures defined as lines of action aimed at steering the policies and actions targeting the elderly and ensuring that governments, public authorities, companies and society in general become aware of and implement them. However, it is not designed as a closed list of measures but rather is open to future developments and initiatives capable of enhancing its results.

The 348 proposals in the Framework of Action focus on four main issues: Employment; Participation in society, Independent living; and Non-discrimination, equal opportunities and responses to situations of greatest vulnerability.

IMSERSO centres

IMSERSO has a network of 19 care centres. Varying in nature, they are distributed throughout Spain. Overall, they offer 1,465 residential places and 349 day-care places. Close to 2,000 qualified professionals work at these centres to provide comprehensive care to the elderly in order to foster personal autonomy and improve quality of life.

Of these centres, six are Recovery Centres for People with Physical Disabilities (Spanish acronym: CRMF) (in Bergondo in A Coruña, Albacete, San Fernando in Cadiz, Lardero in La Rioja, Madrid and Salamanca). They are aimed at achieving medical-functional recovery, psycho-social recovery and occupational guidance and professional training to people with physical or sensory disabilities of a working age on a full-board, half-board or walk-in basis according to the personal circumstances and needs and interests of the people concerned.

Another group of centres is made up by the Care Centres for People with Physical Disabilities (Spanish acronym: CAMF) (in El Ferrol in A Coruña, Alcuéscar in Cáceres, Pozoblanco in Córdoba, Guadalajara and Leganés in Madrid). These centres are aimed at providing comprehensive care on a full-board or half-board basis to those people with physical disabilities who, lacking a reasonable chance for professional recovery due to the seriousness of their disability, have serious difficulty in achieving labour market placement and having their basic needs met in terms of daily activities within a family or domestic environment.

Furthermore, the State Referral Centres (Spanish acronym: CRE) represent a social services resource within the framework of the System for Autonomy and Attention to Long-Term Care Recipients (Spanish acronym: SAAD), whose mission is to promote and improve the resources of a sector providing care to the elderly or people with disabilities at risk or in a situation of long-term care.

They undertake innovative programmes using intervention methods and techniques in the socio-healthcare services provided to people in a situation of long-term care; gather, analyse and spread information and knowledge about the field in which they specialise; provide training and qualifications to professionals; promote and develop best practices; and respond to families, associations, entities and professionals through information, advice, training and support actions.

Atención a personas mayores (MSSSI)IMSERSO currently has five centres: the Centre for Care to People with Serious Disabilities and the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Long-Term Care in San Andrés del Rabanedo (Leon); the Centre for Care to People with Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias in Salamanca; the Centre for Care to People with Brain Damage (CEADAC) in Madrid; the Centre for Care to People with Rare Diseases and their Families (CREER) in Burgos; and the Centre for Personal Autonomy (CEAPAT) in Madrid. The purpose of these centres is to foster the elimination of architectural and urban barriers that limit accessibility to buildings and present obstacles to people with disabilities on grounds of age or disability, their mobility and integration into the family and community environment, research, information and technical assistance to the public authorities, institutions, public and private entities, and all others who request such assistance.

During the course of 2015, the necessary actions have been activated for the opening of two State Reference Centres (Spanish acronym: CRE):

  • State Reference Centre in Soria for Socio-Healthcare for Persons in a Situation of Dependency. A little over 3.4 million euros were allocated for its construction and to fit it out. ​
  • State Referral Centre (CRE) for Care to People in a Situation of Long-Term Care in Leon. A total of 5.8 million euros has been invested in this centre.

The following centre was opened in 2016:

  • State Reference Centre for Psycho-Social Care in Valencia for Persons suffering from Serious Mental Disorders. The investment amounted to 18.5 million euros.

Alongside these centres, the network also includes those managed directly by IMSERSO in Ceuta and Melilla: the Elderly Social Centre with Day-care Unit in Ceuta; the Elderly Social Centre with Day-care Unit in Melilla; and the Multi-purpose Service Centre for the Elderly in Melilla.

Promoting personal autonomy and support for people in a situation of dependency

Law 39/2006, of 14 December, established the basic conditions for guaranteeing equality in exercising the entitlement to the promotion of personal autonomy and the care of people in a situation of dependency. To this end, it was essential to create the System for Autonomy and Attention to Long-Term Care Recipients (SAAD), which responded and continues to respond to the coordinated action and cooperation between the General State Administration Services and the regional governments.

Under the SAAD, the steps necessary to recognise a situation of dependency and an entitlement to benefits from the system correspond to the regional governments. This process begins when an application is made and concludes with the recognition of entitlement (as appropriate) to benefits (setting a date for the effective start thereof), and includes assessment of the situation of dependency based on a scale and the official recognition of said situation. The State is responsible for regulating the basic conditions guaranteeing the equality of all Spanish citizens in the exercise of their rights.

Fuente: Sistema para la Autonomía y Atención a la DependenciaAn agreement on measures to improve the system was approved with the regional governments, the Regional Council of the System for Autonomy and Attention to Long-Term Care Recipients (today the Regional Council of Social Services and the System for Autonomy and Attention to Long-Term Care Recipients) on 10 July 2012. Said measures have configured a fair system based on solidarity that guarantees quality, equality and sustainability by expanding the portfolio of services and benefits while maintaining both people's rights and the scale used for assessing individual cases (approved in February 2011), which represents the gateway into the system. The measures have guaranteed financing at the minimum level of protection, prioritising the most highly dependent individuals and boosting employment through professional services, as provided for by the law when it was approved.

In the last five years:

  • The regulations developing the Long-Term Care Act have been restructured and simplified (according to the Court of Auditors, the number of regulations amounted to 671 regional regulations and 134 State regulations) under Royal Decree 1050/2013, Royal Decree 1051/2013 and Order SSI/2371/2013.
  • The process to assess a situation of dependency has been simplified from six levels to three degrees, resulting in the faster process that the public wanted.
  • The portfolio of services and benefits has been improved by expanding the benefit for a personal carer to all degrees of dependency (previously only applicable to highly dependent individuals).
  • The quality of care provided to people in long-term care in their own home has been improved by providing minimum appropriate training and the guarantee of residence in their environment, while job creation has been boosted by increasing the number of recognised professional services - thereby complying with the law.
  • The prevention of dependency has been strengthened through approval by the Regional Council of the criteria, recommendations and minimum conditions for the regional governments to draft dependency situation prevention plans with a particular focus on the risks and actions for the elderly.
  • Care for minors has been increased through approval by the Regional Council of the common criteria, recommendations and minimum conditions for the comprehensive action plans regarding those under the age of three in a situation of dependency or at risk of becoming dependent.
  • Transparency of the Information System has been improved in order for it to truly reflect the management work undertaken, establishing guarantees via monthly certification issued by the regional governments when adding data to the system and annual certification on the contribution therefrom to the financing of care to those in long-term care from their budgets. All the information on the system is published on the Dependency Portal and in the Official State Gazette.
  • The irregular situations flagged up by the Court of Auditors have been resolved, enabling the recovery of 39 million euros from the General State Budget.
  • The debt with the General Treasury of the Social Security due to the contribution from the special agreement on non-professional carers has been settled, a figure that amounted to 1.03 billion euros.

As regards the basic management data at 31 August 2015, the following should be highlighted:

  • 842.343 beneficiaries with effective benefits (69,56 % of all people receiving their current entitlement, up 16 percentage points on 2011; a percentage that rises to 85,04% in the case of highly dependent and severely dependent individuals). 136.336 new beneficiaries were recognised in the first 8 months of 2016, raising the total to 604.118 new beneficiaries in the last five years. A total of 15.235 new beneficiaries with an entitlement to benefits joined the system in August.
  • Of the current number of beneficiaries receiving benefits, 46.286 are under the age of 18. This is an increase of 45,59% on 1 January 2012 (31,793).
  • The number of people currently waiting to receive benefits stands at 129.357, a decrease of 7,36 % (10. 273 people) so far this year and 57,72 % (176. 584 people) since January 2012. These are the lowest year-on-year figures on people waiting to receive benefits since the Long-Term Care Act came into effect.
  • The recognition of Professional Services for the Care of People in a Situation of Dependency accounts for 65,59% of all recognised benefits, with economic benefits accounting for 34,41%. When compared with 1 January 2012, professional services have increased by a total of 10,99 percentage points.
  • An upward trend in affiliation to the Social Security system has been seen since 31 December 2012. The number of affiliations has risen by 47.987. The total number at 31 August 2016 stood at 386.107.

Fuente: Sistema para la Autonomía y Atención a la DependenciaThe development of these figures when compared with those recorded at the start of the legislature can be seen in the following graph:

As regards the financing of the SAAD, the transfer of funds from the General State Budget to the regional governments for financing care provided to people in a situation of dependency rose by 3,919 million euros in 2015.

Two laws (Law 39/2006 and Law 22/2009) guarantee its funding. This was corroborated by the Court of Auditors in its Audit Report 1,035, approved on 29 May 2014. These two sources of financing, one designated and one additional, established in their respective laws on dependency and on regional financing, mean that the contributions under the General State Budget amounted to more than 27 billion euros between 2007 and 2015.

Taking into account these two sources, the financing of the Law to Promote Personal Autonomy and Care for Persons in a Situation of Dependency over the period 2007-2011 (also including spending on the social contributions of non-professional carers in a situation of dependency and other sources of funding through various programmes and subsidies) in the period 2012-2015 amounted to more than 16 billion euros, while it only amounted to 11 billion euros in the previous legislature.

National Drugs Plan

Campaña "No arruines tu vida" (MSSSI)In the context of social policy, the Government of Spain has given a boost to policies aimed at reducing the demand for and use of drugs and drug prevention and rehabilitation programmes. The Government Delegation for the National Drugs Plan is responsible for the management, promotion, general coordination and supervision of the services for updating and implementing the National Drugs Plan. This plan was first introduced in 1985 and, through its National Strategies (the result of strong consensus), it has shaped a drugs policy regarded as a quality benchmark in the European Union.

Within the framework of the latest National Strategy on Drugs 2009-2016, the 2013-2016 Action Plan was unanimously approved at the Sector Conference on Drugs on 31 January 2014. This plan comprises 36 actions aimed at improving coordination, reducing the offer of drugs, promoting prevention and establishing quality criteria for the programmes, improving the care processes recommended for providing care to drug addicts (with a particular focus on dual pathology and the specific requirements of women) and increasing training and research.

The development of the 2013-2016 Drug Plan has led to the unanimous approval of the follow​ing products:

  • Action 1. Advisory Council of the PNSD: Royal Decree 1113/2015, of 11 December, implementing the legal regime for the Spanish Council on Drug Dependency and other Addictions.
  • Action 2. Inter- and intra-sectoral coordination platforms: e-room.
  • Action 3. Communication Plan as part of the Action Plan.
  • Action 4. Coordinated project on universal family prevention: Family guide.
  • Action 6. Project to analyse and improve the regulation of alcohol and minors, and its implementation throughout the country: Comparative Study on Alcohol Regulation.
  • Action 7. Project to develop multi-component community prevention programmes at a local level: Tutor Agent Programme.
  • Action 8. Project to improve the processes of early detection and intervention in minors at a school, social and healthcare level. Evidentiary report on early intervention. Project to improve the processes of early detection and intervention in minors at a school, social and healthcare level. Project to improve detection processes and early intervention for at-risk drinkers in Primary Care and at A&E units.
  • Action 9. Prevention plan for drug dependencies and addictions in the hotel and catering industry and Decalogue of Good Practices: Responsible Service programme.
  • Action 13. Project to improve processes and procedures for aid for drug dependencies and addictions and their suitability to the List of NHS Services: Map of care resource situation.
  • Action 15. Protocol for tailor-made insertion for drug addicts in rehabilitation processes: Protocol for insertion in Penitentiary Institutions.
  •  Action 26. Promotion of research and analysis of data on drug consumption. Revised expert State questionnaire on the use of drugs by students in secondary education (Spanish acronym: ESTUDES).
  • Action 27.  Improved dissemination of data from the information system.
  • Action 29.  Promotion of research networks with clinical and preventive application. Identification, graphical representation and analysis of network of Spanish research into drug dependencies at a national and international level (2008-2012).
  • Action 30. Portal on good practices in reducing demand.
  • Action 31. Consensus document on criteria to accredit programmes to reduce demand. Criteria on accreditation in programmes to reduce demand.
  • ​Action 32. Internal evaluation system of the Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016. Intermediate evaluation.

The Government Delegation for the National Drugs Plan promotes actions related to the prevention, response, reinsertion and reduction of damage caused by addictive behaviour, supporting regional governments, local authorities, NGOs and research groups that, in a supra-regional manner, combat the phenomenon of drugs and other addictive behaviour. A total of 28.4 million euros were used for project funding and transfers in 2014.

Furthermore, with the aim of facilitating the mission of the National Drug Plan and developing the Action Plan, the new web page of the National Drug Plan was presented and started up on 8 September 2015, to replace what was one of the pioneer web pages of the Central Government 18 years ago.

This new web page has been prepared taking into account the standards set out by the Government of Spain and lends even greater transparency to the management of the department affecting the Government Representation. It provides new updated information and incorporates interactive tools that allow, for example, the location, from any situation, of the closest treatment centre to where aid is requested.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue of drugs with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in 2015. This agreement seeks to establish a cooperation mechanism that enables the focus on public health to be strengthened in tackling the use of psychoactive substances, as well as to foster the development of technical assistance for countries on this issue through the PAHO. The activities to be developed include training human resources, evaluating projects, strengthening institutions and the exchange of good practices.​​​