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A civil society representative participates in a panel discussion on the progress achieved in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's)
© UN Photo/Jenny Rockett

Italy: reform of the non-profit sector approved

On 25 May 2016, the Italian House of Deputies approved, with 239 votes in favour against 78, a bill that mandates the cabinet to reform the non-profit sector (Delega al Governo per la riforma del Terzo settore, dell'impresa sociale e per la disciplina del Servizio civile universale).

The new legislation establishes Support Offices for voluntary activities (Centri di servizio per il volontariato) to provide technical support to non-profit organisations. The latter are allowed to manage such centres with due respect to other organisations’ possibility to accede and granting volunteers-based organisations the majority in terms of membership, which must be continously renewed.

Moving further, the legislation creates a National Council for the Non-Profit Sector (Consiglio Nazionale per il Terzo Settore) and a Non-Profit Sector Fund (Fondo per il Terzo Settore). The latter financially supports non-profit organisations’ activities oriented to the general interest. Its budget corresponds to €17.3 million during the current year and will be raised to €20 million in 2017.

The "Social Italy" Foundation (Fondazione Italia Sociale) is also established by the approved legislation. The Foundation is legally defined as a private-law entity with public aim. Its purpose is to attract, organise and support “philantropic initiatives and innovative ideas in social finance”.

Eventually, the reform confirms the Universal Civil Service (Servizio Civile Universale), open to Italian citizens as well as foreign nationals regularly residing in Italy.

The bill has been approved after a 2-year long legislative process and defines the non-profit sector as the set of private organisations aimed at solidarity, social benefit and civic function. Political associations, bank foundations, trade unions, category-based associations and other social partners’ organisations are excluded.