Governança em territórios locais
: do ideal à realidade : análise do Serviço de Atendimento e Acompanhamento Social

  • Cristiana Dias de Almeida (Student)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis analyses, discusses and reflects on the processes of local governance in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects applied within the scope of social programmes or policies, from the analysis of the changes that have occurred in Portuguese society in the last 30 years and their repercussions on the people’s lives, organisations and territories. The conquest of democracy was an unequivocal milestone in the process of recognition and enshrinement of social rights in Portugal. The functions assumed by the Social State guarantee the universality of rights. However, over the years some weaknesses of the established system associated to the centralisation of functions have been demonstrated, namely the difficulty in accessing services, due to the location of physical services and/or the distance from the population, and the excessive slowness in accessing rights, mainly due to the bureaucratisation of services. On the other hand, there is a tradition of cooperation between the State and Social Economy organisations in the provision of goods and services (signature of the Cooperation Pact for Social Solidarity in 1996) in the areas of childhood, youth, disability, old age, health, education and social action. In this context, there was a progressive delegation of competencies in the field of social action, which oscillated between periods of greater centralisation and others of greater decentralisation of powers and those competencies. Through the analysis of an example of a policy measure (the Local Social Intervention Network / Social Support Service), the application of questionnaire surveys (to professionals from 74 different municipalities), the accomplishment of case studies and focus groups with privileged actors, it was possible to define axes of analysis that allow to understand the dynamics of governance and classify characterizing features. These same features enabled the constitution of governance models adopted in the territories. The research made it possible to identify the virtues and limitations of the adoption of territorial governance models, greatly influenced by the history of the previous conciliation and the degree of openness of the territories to their operationalisation. Nevertheless, there was an evaluative ambiguity and controversy in the debate on its necessity and usefulness, on the one hand, and of discredit on the effectiveness of evaluation processes, on the other. Consequently, despite the theoretical recognition of the relevance of evaluation, there prevails a culture of mandatory compliance with evaluation practices, when imposed, without an appropriation of its results or the adoption of measures according to the recommendations. The need to strengthen awareness of the effective application of evaluation practices, as moments of reflection and learning, based on the principles of participation, usefulness, flexibility/adaptability, appreciation of complexity, multi-method approach and focus on changes and impacts, is emphasized. Only an evaluation based on the values of transparency, independence, ethics and inclusion can contribute to assessing the results, effects and impacts of projects, programmes and social policies based on territorial governance models.
Date of Award31 Mar 2022
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SponsorsFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
SupervisorCristina Maria Pinto de Albuquerque (Supervisor)


  • Governance
  • Social policy
  • Social intervention
  • Evaluation


  • Doutoramento em Serviço Social

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