Letter from the Chief Executive
Welcome to the ESN Annual Review.
Moving towards our 25th European Social Services Conference, I think back to our first project on personal budgets Towards a People’s Europe. Still relevant today, as a ‘people first’ approach continues to drive our programme of learning, exchange and development.
In 2016, members exchanged ideas and experiences on ageing and disability in Mechelen, Sofia and Brighton and discussed young people and criminal justice in Athens. At the European Parliament in May, ESN’s report on ‘Investing in children’s services’ was launched with the support of MEP Nathalie Griesbeck and Gøsta Esping-Andersen a leading figure in worldwide research on early years.
This year we worked with the European Commission on its preparation of the Social Pillar and with both EU Dutch and Slovak Presidencies. We organised the European Social Services Conference in The Hague and our policy seminar ‘Investing in the social services workforce’, in Bratislava with the Ministers for Social Affairs from both Slovakia and Malta.
In late November I addressed a conference at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg which posed the challenging topical question: Where are Europe’s values? Reflecting on ESN’s work in 2016, I argued for an understanding of societal inclusion which transforms the lives of those with disabilities, mental ill health, older people, disadvantaged young people and refugees so that they can participate as full and equal citizens.
I would like to thank the European Commission for its support and I hope you will find this review inspiring.
See you in Valletta!