ESN is one of the nine partners of the 4Quality! project. Senior professionals of homecare services from ESN member organisations (local authorities, County councils and public funded structures) joined representatives of workers and service employers to discuss and exchange in the following areas: working conditions and skills development, the quality of services delivered at home for dependent people, and service coordination.

The event consisted of three main sessions:

  •  Presentations of four national reports drafted by ORSEU and PLS that provided an overview of PHS policies
  •  National group discussions which discussed the main challenges in workforce development and service quality
  •  The plenary session with moderators from each country reporting on the main points from the group discussions

National Perspectives

ESN members presented practice examples implemented at the local level during the national group discussions that addressed service integration and the assessment process within service provider organisations. Doubs County council in France presented its partnership agreement with private service providers that set up fixed prices for services at home. Competition between service providers is no longer based on price but on quality of services as service users can choose between different providers for the same price. This initiative aims to support dependent people to stay longer at home by promoting the provision of integrated and person-centred services.

Although the four countries have different policy backgrounds and specific features regarding the PHS sector, there are common issues:

  • Lack of career opportunities leading to high turnover
  • Increasing fragmentation of the tasks carried out by professionals
  • Challenges in combining personal care with housework activities

The meeting concluded with an open discussion on policy proposals at national and European level to improve service quality and ensure greater professionalism. ESN regrets that the voice of service users was absent.

Next steps

This was the first of three stakeholder sessions to take place as part of the 4Quality! project. On 27 May, ESN organised the second regional seminar in Brighton with participants coming from Sweden, Finland, Netherlands and UK. The last regional seminar will take place in Vienna in September with participants from Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.

In the coming months, ESN will work with its members on presenting practice examples for the final toolkit of the project. Additionally, new versions of the national reports will be drafted based on the participants’ inputs and feedback. Both the toolkit and the report summarising policy recommendations will be disseminated at the beginning of 2016.

For more information on the project and the European policy context, see our website.

ESN members: please contact Alexia Bellemin for practice example presentations.