Evidence shows that when social services coordinate with other sectors (health, education, employment) they can prevent disjointed interventions from different services, enable a more person-centred approach by addressing a user’s whole range of needs, whilst services who merge into integrated organisations can improve their efficiency.

Our work with ESN members

We are engaging with our members to identify effective strategies for implementing integrated care and support in practice. We are doing this in the framework of a working group on ‘Integrated Care and Support’ which runs from 2018-2021, with ESN members meeting each year to share their different practices from across Europe on the coordination of social services with other sectors. This includes for example multi-disciplinary teams, shared technology platforms or full integration with other organisations.

2018 MEETING 1Integrated care and support for children

2019 MEETING 2: Integrated care and support care leavers

2020 MEETING 3: Integrated care and support for older people

2021 MEETING 4: Integrated care and support for homeless people

This follows our previous work on this subject, the 2015 seminar ‘Integrated Services: Working together to improve lives’. In this event we brought ESN members and external participants together to discuss local and regional models of integrated social services, also providing the opportunity to finalise our report ‘Integrated Social Services in Europe’.

Our Contribution to the European level

Social services at local level are increasingly aware of the benefits of integrated support. Cooperation between sectors can be an effective approach for addressing users with complex needs, promoting more person-centred approaches, and becoming more cost-efficient. In the context of budgetary constraint following the economic crisis, the growing pressure of an aging population, and the aim of improving outcomes for users, integrated services are a clear method for social services to address these challenges.

Nevertheless, the implementation can be challenging, with concerns over how services can be financed and a lack of clarity over new roles. Our work provides guidance for social services on how to overcome these challenges and take advantage of the benefits of integrated services. In doing so, we support the European level objectives to develop more integrated and personalised services, as outlined in the European Commission’s 2013 Social Investment Package.

ESN resources

External resources