The Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR) was created by Law No 189/2002 and is made up of the network of local institutions that implement reception projects for forced migrants by accessing, within the available resources, the National Fund for Asylum Policies and Services, managed by the Ministry of the Interior and provided under the Government fi nance law.

At local level, the local institutions, in cooperation with voluntary sector organisations, undertake ‘integrated reception’ interventions going beyond the simple distribution of food and housing, also providing complementary services such as legal and social guidance and support, and the development of individual programmes to promote socioeconomic inclusion and integration.

The primary objective of SPRAR is to provide support for each individual in the reception system, through implementation of an individual programme designed to enable that person to regain a sense of independence, and thus enable effective involvement in
life in Italy, in terms of employment and housing integration, access to local services, social interaction and scholastic integration for minors.
The principal characteristics of SPRAR are:

1. the public nature of the resources made available and the bodies with political responsibility for reception services, namely the Ministry of the Interior and local authority institutions, according a multi-level governance model;

2. the synergies available locally with so-called managing bodies, voluntary sector organisations – associations, NGOs, cooperatives – that make an essential contribution to the implentation of the various interventions;

3. the decentralisation of the ‘integrated reception’ actions, throughout Italy;

4. the promotion and development of stable, solid and interactive local networks, with the involvement of all stakeholders and priority partners in order to ensure the success of the reception, protection and integration measures implemented for indivduals who are seeking or have been granted international protection;

5. the voluntary participation of local institutions in the network of reception projects;

6. the reinforcement (or implementation) of local services, designed to profi t the entire community, both indigenous and migrant.
Local institutions, in partnership with the voluntary sector, implement local reception projects, bringing together SPRAR’s guidelines and standards with the characteristics and specifi c factors affecting the local area. Depending on the purpose, capacity and expertise of local stakeholders and taking into account the available resources (professional, structural and economic), the welfare tools and the social policy strategies adopted over the years, local institutions can choose the type of reception services to be provided and the recipients that can best be supported. Projects may therefore be focused on individual adults and nuclear families, or on single-parent families, single pregnant women, unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, victims of torture, individuals needing continuing care or those with psychiatric problems or physical disabilities. Specific dedicated projects are available for individuals who are vulnerable as a result of mental health issues.
In any case, for each of the individuals provided with reception services, a fundamental element of those services is the temporary nature of reception, which is intended in all cases to ensure the independence and integration of recipients.