Senior professionals who manage personal care and household services (PHS) from ESN member organisations (local authorities, inspection agencies and organisations responsible for skills development of social care workers), representatives of workers and service employers discussed the following issues: working conditions and skills development, the quality of services delivered at home for dependent people, and service coordination.

European perspectives

Bérengère Steppe from the European Commission’s DG Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion presented the report’s outcomes of 'Health and Social services from an employment and economic perspectives' highlighting the impact of the economic and financial crisis on the care sector as well as the employment developments at the European level in the social care sector.

National Perspectives

In national groups, participants discussed reports on quality of jobs and services in PHS in Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and United Kingdom drafted by ORSEU and PLS. Participants also stressed main challenges and issues regarding service quality delivered at home as well as workforce development such as the definition of “quality” when it comes to personal care, the poor reputation of the sector in the labour market and the lack of political support for integrated solutions.

ESN members presented practice examples implemented at local and regional levels that aim to improve skills of professionals or coordination and availability of PHS for dependent people at home. For example, Maria Mantere from the Municipality of Hämeenlinna (Finland) showcased the mobile application Fastroi used by professional carers that include individual work shifts, monitoring and messaging systems and GPS maps to simplify travel between visits. This example shows the positive impact that technology can have on service delivery through facilitating work supervision and reporting.

Next steps and follow-up

After the seminar, participants have been invited to send inputs on the national reports in order to have an accurate and up-to-date picture of the quality of jobs and services in PHS in the four featured countries. Final versions should be available in early September.

ESN will work on a follow-up report to the project, including practice examples and policy recommendations. Practice examples from ESN members will also be made available in the Practice Library of ESN’s website at a later date.

In the coming months, ESN will prepare practice examples for the final toolkit of the project. This toolkit will feature concrete initiatives that were successful in improving service quality in PHS and/or supported the development of a skilled workforce. It aims to inspire and give guidance to other organisations working in the sector and to stakeholders at the national and European levels. The toolkit will be disseminated at the end of the project early next year.

The first regional seminar was held in Rome on 6 May with participants from Italy, France, Spain and Belgium. The third and last one will take place in Vienna on 22 September with participants from Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.

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

For ESN members, the practice example presentations are available for consultation in the member’s area.