Keywords: Austerity; Social Services; Local Welfare; Severe Cases; Competing Needs.
In the first half of the 2010s, in Italy, the social services of the municipalities underwent the effects of sharp cost-containment policies set by the national government. These policies caused in-depth transformations of the social services at local level, with respect to both users' profiles and the features of the interventions. The article investigates how these transformations took shape through the actions of the different stakeholders involved and their interactions. Two main trends are highlighted and discussed: the targeting on users in much more critical conditions that it used to be the case before and the dynamics underlying the increasing tensions related to the allocation of resources among different target groups.