ESN presented this publication at a launch event in Brussels hosted by MEP Nathalie Griesbeck. It is the culmination of three years of work and assesses how key principles of the European Commission’s Recommendation ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ are implemented in practice. It includes an analysis of the situation in 14 European countries and a cross-country review. A number of policy recommendations are made, including that policy interventions for early years’ services focus on coverage, intensity and quality; encourages investment in schools to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds and calls for an integrated approach from all statutory services in child protection.
The modernisation of public social services has placed increasing emphasis on evidence as a basis for decision-making. In light of this, ESN launched a toolkit to provide guidance for the commissioning of services. It builds on previous work in this policy area and includes two questionnaires which prompt considerations for planning and evaluating services in addition to a review of international evidence-based social work databases or evidence hubs which can guide service planning and evaluation.
In 2014-2015, ESN studied different local and regional models of integrated social services which provided a basis for ESN’s report on the topic. The report analyses how integrated support can be provided by social services across Europe. It provides a literature review, an assessment of practices, policy analysis and a set of recommendations.
ESN works on an annual basis with members and partners to analyse the state of play of social policies and services across Europe and present the perspective of local public social services into the European Semester debate. The report features 25 country profiles and a cross-country analysis. The report calls for greater involvement of local and regional authorities in EU policy making, highlights the importance of cross-country feedback to tackle common challenges and points out the risk of fiscal consolidation for social investment and sustainability.
These publications illustrate some of the challenges facing public social services such as limited economic resources and demographic change. They also highlight and provide guidance on new methods and ideas, integrated services for example, which can help public social services to improve service provision and overcome these challenges.