Quality social services are essential to help improve people’s quality of life. Many different elements are involved, including adequate funding, workforce management, leadership, and quality standards.

Our work with members

We have examined with our members how quality social services can be ensured by promoting innovation, high performance and leadership, in addition to the effective management of the social services workforce. 

In 2012 we established a working group on 'Leadership, Performance and Innovation' which brought together senior managers of public social services who took part in six meetings which focussed on: 

Throughout 2016, we conducted a study on the social services workforce, which led to our 2016 seminar ‘Investing in the social service workforce: Building a caring society’ and a follow up report.

We followed up on this work in 2019 in our 27th European Social Services Conference in Milan (Italy) where we took a comprehensive look at quality in social services with over 560 delegates, through plenary sessions and interactive workshops. At the beginning of 2020, we published the report Striving for Quality with proposals for the review of the European quality framework for social services.

Our contribution to the European level

Within the seminar and report we highlighted the challenges social services face when managing the workforce, such as filling vacancies and addressing high turnover rates. We also presented recommendations for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers on ensuring more sustainable workforce management, such as successful strategies that can improve staff retention, and the need for the harmonisation of social work qualifications across countries.  

ESN resources

External resources