Report 2 (February 2017) “Local Public Administration and Governance In Comparative Perspective” by Judith Szeili and Annette Zimmer
T2 Local Government and Administration
The report describes local public administration and social policy in Germany as part of a multilevel setting. The municipalities in Germany are the lowest level of the administration and they are both responsible for implementing policies from higher levels (notably the federal states and the national level) and have some degree of local autonomy in governing their own affairs. One problem is that the number and scope of local tasks is rising, without enhancing available funding.
The municipalities have a long history of collaborating with social organizations, in particular in social service provision. They are important partners who are involved in both policy-making and implementation in a number of ways.
Report 4 (February 2017) “Current Migration Trends in Germany” by Danielle Gluns
T4 Current Migration Trends in Germany
The report outlines the long history of immigration in Germany. The country thus has significant experience with the integration of foreigners in terms of both successful and failed approaches. Currently, the debate on migration and integration focus on the recent arrival of refugees most notably from Syria. This group has made up a large share (37 percent) of incoming migrants in 2016. Even so, the recent immigration of refugees comprises a highly heterogeneous group in terms of countries of origin, legal status, age, education, health etc. This confronts the state and organizations in Germany with significant tasks for finding adequate support structures.
Report 5 (March 2017) “Local Public Administration and Social policy in Germany and China” by Katja Levy
T5 Comparative Report on Local Public Administration and Local Social Policy
Comparative report on local public administration and local social policy with a special eye on the welfare mix and provision of service.
Report 10 (March 2018) “Education Policy and Integration in Germany” by Christina Grabbe
T10 Policy Report on Education in Germany
The report provides an overview of the educational system in Germany in terms of childcare, primary and secondary schooling and vocational training. It is characterized by German federalism, causing a diversity of structures. Compulsory education in Germany covers nine or ten years of schooling. Depending on their educational attainment in primary school, children attend different forms of secondary schools. Higher education is generally accessible for all students with Abitur or equivalent diploma. Based on human rights and international law, refugees should have full access to education in Germany. In practice, access to education depends on federal structures, locally available facilities, residence titles and language capacity. Refugee children are underrepresented in childcare facilities, whereas their participation in primary and secondary schooling is mainly ensured. However, education is often restricted within the first months of their stay and in some Länder schooling for refugees takes place separately from the regular school system. Access to vocational training has recently been opened to refugees, even if some limitations remain. The state has introduced assistance measures for refugees. Social organizations and volunteers provide language tutoring, homework assistance, training and qualification.
Report 11 (January 2018) “Labour Market Policy and Integration in Germany” by Danielle Gluns
T11 Policy Report on Employment in Germany
The report discusses employment policy and the integration of refugees into the labour market. Employment policy in Germany combines “passive” financial transfers and “active” qualification measures. Moreover, “activating” measures were introduced in 2004 to mobilize unemployed persons. Basically, social insurance-based benefits (Unemployment Benefits I) can be distinguished from basic income support (Unemployment Benefits II) as a means-tested social security system. Beneficiaries of both systems usually have access to measures such as education and training, counselling and placement, or support for self-employed work. Refugees’ access to the labour market depends on their residence title, country of origin and duration of stay. Access to supporting measures such as counselling and qualification is rather open. Moreover, different language tuition courses exist, because language capacities are a crucial prerequisite for accessing employment. Non-profit organizations provide many of these services either autonomously or under contract with public actors such as the local job centres.
Report 12 (January 2018) “Social Services for Vulnerable Groups in Germany” by Danielle Gluns
T12 Policy Report on Vulnerable Groups in Germany
The report focuses on services for minors, female and “queer” (lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual, transgender, and intersexual, or LGBTTI) refugees, elderly or disabled, as well as traumatized persons. These groups – while comprising very heterogeneous living situations – are particularly vulnerable and thus in need of special protection or services. For example, they may require specific health services, while at the same time access to the health care system in Germany is restricted within the first 15 months of the stay. Therefore, legal provisions allow for additional services e.g. for elderly, disabled or traumatized refugees. Voluntary offers supplement these professional services. Moreover, unaccompanied minors are particularly addressed by German law, whereas children and youth entering Germany with their parents or a legal guardian are subject to the same treatment as their parents. Female refugees, in particular pregnant and breast-feeding women, are also subject to special protection provisions and services, many of which are provided by non-profit organizations (NPOs). The particular vulnerabilities of LGBTTI refugees have recently been recognized more strongly by law and administrative practice, also due to the lobbying activities of NPOs.
Report 13 (January 2018) “Social Assistance for Refugees in Germany” by Danielle Gluns
T13 Policy Report on Social Assistance in Germany
The report covers the fields of financial benefits, accommodation, counselling, language tuition and social support. In general, the rights regarding social assistance of asylum seekers and persons with exceptional leave to remain are less encompassing than those of German citizens or recognized refugees. Their rights are covered by the Asylum Seekers Benefit Act, which provides for slightly lower financial assistance than Germans social security payments (for the first 15 months of the stay). The federal government or the länder make most of the policies regarding social assistance, even if the municipalities have some leeway in their implementation. This leads to a great diversity of services in practice. The local level has most flexibility regarding voluntary tasks such as language tuition or counselling. They are often provided in collaboration with non-profit organizations, which are supported by funding or coordination.