To mark the effort, commitment and outstanding achievements of social services in these difficult times, the European Social Network (ESN) has launched its first publication on the European Social Services Awards (ESSA). The publication showcases the highlights, testimonials, and best projects in 2020.

Social services are vital to making a difference for the most vulnerable in our communities. The Awards highlight the importance of celebrating excellence and quality in social services, acknowledging that improving social services and social care quality is fundamental to improving peoples’ lives.

Celebrating Quality in Social Services

As a cross-cutting element across the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the quality of social services is equally important to their availability. Achieving quality services begins with the participation of the professionals and the people who use services in planning, delivery and evaluation. High-quality services ensure that people’s needs are met, help foster individual autonomy, enable individuals to live their lives like any other citizen and improve their wellbeing.

In line with the Awards, ESN regularly works on improving the quality of social services. We have done this in many instances over the years including through thematic reports, such as ‘Striving for Quality in Social Services and Social Care’. This report is based on data and information gathered through our events over the years to help us advocate for a review of the European voluntary framework for social services quality a more proactive approach to improving quality of care and social services in line with current trends of personalisation, contracting and commissioning home and community-based social services.

Recognising Quality in Awards Projects

The achievements of social services in this exceptional year are evidence of the extraordinary commitment of those in the sector to improving the quality of life of disadvantaged people. Many ESSA projects showcased the work of outstanding teams working in partnership to support the most vulnerable in our societies. Partnership and collaboration are more than ever needed to act collectively towards a common goal of providing high quality social services.

For the Awards, ESN collaborated with judges, partners and social services providers to bring together people across Europe and share best practice. The high standard of all 80 entries, 30 finalists and the six winners enabled to share innovation, effective social interventions and knowledge on improving the wellbeing and quality of life of the people who participate in the programmes.

“The ESSA are a pioneer in their ability to bring people from across Europe together to celebrate their achievements and the passion and dedication of those who work in social services” explained ESN’s Chair, Christian Fillet. At ESN, we firmly believe that the quality of social services is stronger when founded on shared learning to help reinforce the European social model.

ESN is delighted to see such high levels of interest, enthusiasm and participation from social services at the European Social Services Awards. The Awards publication is a tribute to all social services who commit every day to improve people’s lives and to all the professionals who have risen to the challenges to ensure the continuity of care during the pandemic.

We look forward to celebrating excellence together at the 2021 European Social Services Awards.