Letter from the CEO

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''Dear members and friends,

I am thrilled to present the 2019 annual review of activities of the European Social Network (ESN).

The reason I got involved in social services is very simple – social services programmes helped my family and myself. The combination of programmes, community, family, and grit created a series of opportunities that helped my siblings and me thrive.

I am trying to pay it back – and pay it forward. ESN was created to be the guiding leadership Network for social services in Europe. Some might think that working at an international level is far removed from everyday realities but for those sharing their expertise with colleagues, there is nothing more relevant and thought provoking. I saw this in the working groups on integrated care and support, digitalisation and technology, sustainable development and the review of national government plans within the European Semester framework.

The focus on quality of care to improve people’s quality of life was the overarching theme of our annual conference in Milan, which saw the participation of 580 delegates from 35 countries, and the first edition of the European Social Services Awards (ESSA).

I think every community, family, and individual should have an equal chance at reaching their full potential, and the principles and methods that guide our work at ESN can help to make that happen. ESN’s commitment to working with people using social services was evident in the focus of our annual seminar on the participation of service users in social service planning, delivery and evaluation with the engagement of people using services themselves.

2019 has been a year of tremendous engagement by members in a whole range of activities which have brought them together to share and generate knowledge and inspire each other to improve the lives of their citizens and communities.

I would like to end with a very warm welcome to our 22 new members, and to thank the European Commission, institutional and private partners for their continuing support. The first 20 years for ESN have been a remarkable achievement from small beginnings and we are ready to move forward with confidence to help improve social services.

I look forward to continuing working with staff, members, partners and friends to help achieve our shared vision of social justice, inclusion and sustainable social services.''

Alfonso Lara Montero I Chief Executive