According to the law, the scope of material reception conditions and services offered to asylum seekers shall be defined by decree of the Ministry of Interior so as to guarantee uniform levels of reception across the territory, taking into account the peculiarities of each type of reception centre. The Reception Decree provides for a monitoring system in reception centres by the Prefecture, through the social services of municipalities.
The latest decree approving the tender specifications schemes (capitolato d’appalto) was adopted on 24 February 2021.
Under the tender specification schemes issued following Decree Law 113/2018, the daily amount per person allocated to the centres’ management was reduced from €35 to €21, de facto forcing contractors to opt for large centres, reducing the number of operators and the activities offered in the centres.
As expected, government policies on the design of the reception system opened a market for large companies.
According to the new tender specification schemes, adopted after the extension of the first reception services implemented by Decree Law 130/2020, the average costs to be placed on the basis of the contract increased (for non-collective structures up to 50 places) from €21 of the old specifications to €28 of the current one. A cost that does not appear sufficient to favour small facilities, even taking into account that there are additional services (Italian language courses, legal orientation, psychological support, albeit to a minimal extent). For collective structures the costs are higher (33 for collective structures up to 50 places) and this confirms once again little or no interest in favouring the reception in small structures scattered throughout the territory on the model of the SAI system which avoids ghettoization and favours integration.
The new tender specification schemes guarantee basic needs such as personal hygiene, pocket money, and €5 for phone cards and, compared to the Capitolato published in 2018, it also covers: Italian language courses; orientation to local services; psychological support. As the 2018 one, it confirmed the replacement of legal support with a “legal information service”. Contrary to the 2017 specifications it does not cover professional training, leisure activities and job orientation, activities not covered for asylum seekers neither in SAI system.
As it can be seen from the table below, for reception facilities up to 50 guests the following services are foreseen: 10 hours a day of a daytime operator and 8 of night-time operator which is still equivalent to the previous specification schemes, 1 operator every 50 guests; six hours per week for psychological support (7 minutes per person per week); 4 hours per week for orientation to local services and legal information (4.5 minutes per person per week); 4 hours of Italian language courses per week; 10 hours per week of linguistic mediation (even reduced from the 12 of the 2018 specification schemes and corresponding to 12 minutes per week per person).
|Up to 50 places||51 to 100 places||101 to 300 places||301 to 600 places||601 to 900 places|
|Daytime worker||1 worker 10 hours a day||2 workers 18 h a day||2 workers up to 150 and 3 workers from 151 for 12 hours a day;||3 workers up to 300 and 1 more each 125 more places, 12 hours a day||5 workers up to 600 + 1 each more 100, 12 h a day|
|Night time worker||1 worker 8 hours a day||1 worker 12 h a day||1 worker up to 150 + 1 from 151 for 12 h a day||2 workers up to 300+ 1 each 150, for 12 h a day||3 workers up to 600 + 1 each 250, 12 h a day|
|Director||18 h a week||24 h a week||30 h a week||36 h a week||36 h a week|
|Nurse||16 h a week||6 h a day||12 h a day||16 h a day|
|Doctor||Available 4 a day for 7 days||12 h a week||24 h a week||36 h a week||42 h a week|
|Psychologist||6 h a week||12 h a week||24 h a week||36 h a week||42 h a week|
|Linguistic mediation||10 h a week||12 h a week||24 h a week||36 h a week||42 h a week|
|Italian language||4 h a week||12 h a week||24 h a week||48 h a week||72 h a week|
|Legal information||4 h a week||7 h a week||9 h a week||17 h a week||22h a week|
Source: attachment A (table) to the tender specification schemes, MoI.
The services that disappeared from the 2018 specifications, are now again foreseen but in such a minimal form that they do not meet the real needs, and can therefore be considered useless. No specific services for vulnerable people are provided, thus leaving the protection of these persons to purely voluntary contributions.
In 2019 many calls went without proposals due to the limited funding and services offered in the tender. Therefore, many Prefectures had to renegotiate the tenders in order not to leave the reception centres uncovered. With the express purpose of dealing with deserted calls and homogenizing the responses of Prefectures in their territories, as of 4 February 2020, the new MoI issued a Circular allowing Prefectures to minimally vary the auction bases.
The suggested flexibility of the tender specifications schemes, limited to an increase around € 3 per day, did not affect in any way the type, quality and quantity of services to be guaranteed as it only allowed to adjust the daily amount to the different costs of the accommodation facilities leased along the national territory and to foresee an increase on surveillance services, in line with the preference for big centres, aimed at control rather than integration of the asylum seekers.
Moreover, the circular allowed Prefectures to admit, in selecting the managing companies, to derogate from the minimum professionalism requirements indicated in the tender specification scheme, including, for example, the minimum three-year experience in accommodation services.
As documented by ActionAid and Openpolis, the tender specification schemes resulted in 2019 in the disappearance of many small centres (CAS); also because small associations and cooperatives refused to take part in a reception system based on the mere control of migrants. In Rome and Milan the accommodation scene saw the prevalence of big social cooperatives (Medihospes in Rome and Versoporobo in Milan) and the appearance of profit-making organizations without any social purpose such as Ospita Srl, Engel Italia Srl, Nova Facility and Ors Italia srl. 
The appeals filed by small and specialized social cooperatives and non-profit organizations against the call for tenders were rejected by the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio.
In relation to financial allowances i.e. pocket money for personal needs, each asylum seeker hosted in first reception centres receives €2.50 per day. Although the level pocket money in CAS is agreed with the competent Prefecture, according to the Decree of 24 February 2021, the amount received by applicants hosted in CAS should be €2.50 per day for single adults and up to €7.50 for families.
The Reception Decree does not provide any financial allowance for asylum applicants who are not in accommodation.
 Article 12(1) Reception Decree.
 Article 20(1) Reception Decree.
 Ministry of Interior Decree published on 24 February 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3tGSWtO.
 According to the report published by Openpolis and Actionaid on October 2019, from the entry into force of the new tender specifications schemes (10 December 2018) to the beginning of August 2019, out of the 428 procurement contracts banned by 89 Prefectures, more than half were extensions of ongoing contracts or procedures aimed at solving specific situations, usually to find temporary solutions pending the put in place of the new system. See the first part of the report available at: https://bit.ly/3bRPbZO.
 MoI Circular, 4 February 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/36rb6WQ.
 Redattore Sociale, Accoglienza migranti, più fondi ma sui servizi non si cambia. “Solo maquillage”, 6 February 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2zrLJYL.
 Actionaid, Openpolis, La sicurezza dell’esclusione, Second part, December 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3d0z65i.
 Openpolis and Actionaid report that in Rome 83.5% reception places are located in large centres. Medihospes manages 63% of all reception places. In Milan, 64% of reception places are provided in large centres. See: https://bit.ly/2ysJIeg; for a complete picture of the accommodation system in Milan see NAGA, Senza Scampo, December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2M5Inxr; see also Internazionale, Il decreto Salvini ha favorito il “business dell’accoglienza”, 17 February 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3ep41sD.