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ESN was originally established to meet a need for managers of public social services who, whilst facing common challenges, had no European framework to support knowledge exchange to improve the quality and effectiveness of their services.

Our mission is to inspire social services leaders to improve the lives of people in the community.

ESN values reflect this mission in attaching importance to the following:

  • Empowerment of people and communities
  • Involvement of practitioners, people using services and carers in the design and evaluation of services
  • Respect for the dignity of people using social services: children, families and youth; people with disabilities and mental health problems; homeless people; older people with care needs
  • Preservation of people’s independence for as long as possible
  • Pursuit of innovation and evidence-based social work and care practice
  • Promotion of equality and non-discrimination as service providers and employers
  • Promotion of people’s right to accessible, quality, affordable social services
  • Partnership with health, employment, education, housing and other relevant sectors

ESN’s vision is therefore to be:

  • A challenging advocate for person-centred, inclusive services
  • A growing network with a unique membership responsible for the public management of social services
  • A hub for learning and exchange on innovative and evidence-based practice
  • A platform to strengthen synergies between practice, policy and research
  • A well-informed and progressive voice on challenges affecting social services and promoting economic and social wellbeing.