On 25 and 26 October, ESN is organising a seminar in Ljubljana (SI) during the Slovenian Presidency of the European Council. At this seminar, we will explore how to build resilient social services that are better prepared to provide continuity of care for those with whom they work. During the seminar, we will hear from representatives of regional and local public social services, academics and European and national public officials, who will share their knowledge and experience in the following themes:

  • What resilience means for social services
  • Good practices of resilience and crisis preparedness strategies
  • Resources needed for implementing resilience, with perspectives from EU, national and regional levels
  • Adapting services and the workforce to digital ways of working
  • Future resilient and crisis-prepared social services

Were you not able to attend the information session that took place on 16 September? You can view the recording of the live info session by clicking here.

Here you will find the draft programme:


Monday 25 October

13:30 PM – 14:00 PM CET | Welcome plenary 

  • Christian Fillet - Chair, European Social Network
  • Cveto Ursic - State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

14:00 PM – 15:15 PM CET | Plenary 1: Defining resilience

When a crisis strikes social services are greatly impacted. An economic crisis leads to increased need for support while financial resources may decrease at the same time. During the Covid-19 crisis, social services were put under additional pressure, as they also had to adapt their regular way of working to prevent the spread of the virus. Under such circumstances, social services can struggle to provide the quality of care that they strive for to the vulnerable populations they work with. How can resilience as a concept help social services plan and deliver care continuity?

  • Prof. Erio Ziglio - Honorary Professor, Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol, Austria
  • Dr Louise Grant - Executive Dean Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire and Professor Gail Kinman, Visiting Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, Director, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom

15:15 PM – 15:45 PM CET | Networking Break for participants 

15:45 PM – 16:45 PM CET | Best practice in crisis preparedness and resilience strategies 

Parallel sessions with presentations of over-arching crisis preparedness and resilience strategies in four key aspects of social services, followed by an interactive discussion.

17:00 PM – 18:00 PM CET | Roundtable 1: Resources needed for creating resilience 

Without the appropriate funding, any resilience strategy cannot be implemented. The Recovery and Resilience Facility set up by the European Union may be a key resource to help building more resilient social services. As more and more National Plans are getting approved, we would like to discuss, how those will be used to ensure access to social services in times of crisis. This moderated roundtable session will bring together the European, national and local level to discuss how these National Plans can become a resource for resilience.

  • Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez - Director, Recovery & Resilience Taskforce, European Commission
  • Andrej Grdiša - Director-General, Directorate for older persons and deinstitutionalisation, Slovenia
  • Patricia Bezunartea Barrio - General Director of Family Diversity and Social Services, Secretary of State for Social Rights of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Spain

TBC | Official Dinner 


Tuesday 26 October

09:00 AM – 09:15 AM CET | Introduction and recap of previous day 

  • Alfonso Lara-Montero - CEO, European Social Network

09:15 AM – 10:15 AM CET | Plenary 2: Adapting to digital ways of working 

Crisis can also be a catalyst for change. The Covid-19 crisis has led many social services to adapt to digital forms of working. Speakers will explore how digital tools can be harnessed to provide continued quality of care and service.

  • Javier Presa - Head of Services and Information Systems, Social Policies; Regional Government of Andalucía, Spain

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM CET | Networking Break for participants 

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM CET | Interactive discussion: key points for a social services resilience strategy 

Wrap up of parallel discussions from previous day, where delegates can draw conclusions from the good practices on what the key elements of resilience strategy could be. For this session, delegates will be divided into tables of no more than 10 with a pre-assigned person responsible for moderating the table.

11.30 AM – 11.45 AM CET | Break 

11:45 AM – 13:00 PM CET | Roundtable 2: Building more resilient social services for the future 

Taking stock of the previous sessions in the seminar, what does the future of resilience planning for social service look like?

  • Simon Williams - Director of Social Care Improvement, Local Government Association, United Kingdom
  • Milan Brglez - MEP, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, European Parliament
  • Hans Dubois - Research Manager, Eurofound

13:00 PM CET | End of Seminar 


If you have any questions about ESN’s seminar on social services resilience and care continuity, please contact Victor de Vries at victor.devries@esn-eu.org