Quality social services are essential for supporting quality of life for service users. Many different elements are involved, including adequate funding, workforce management, leadership, and quality standards.
Our work with ESN members
We have examined with our members how quality social services can be ensured by promoting innovation, high performance and leadership, in addition to the effective management of the social services workforce.
Throughout 2016, we conducted a study on the social services workforce, which led to our 2016 seminar ‘Investing in the social service workforce: Building a caring society’ and a follow up report.
In 2012 we established a working group on 'Leadership, Performance and Innovation' which brought together senior managers of public social services who took part in six meetings which focussed on specific issues at each point:
- service management in austerity and (social) innovation
- impact of the crisis, leadership & management, and social services in the Europe 2020 strategy
- evidence-based practice
- future of welfare in light of rising demand and budgetary pressures
- strategic partnerships with other public services
- leadership in social services
We followed up on this work in our 27th European Social Services Conference in Milan (Italy) where we took a comprehensive look at quality in social services with over 560 delegates, through plenary sessions and interactive workshops.
Our contribution to the European level
Within the seminar and report we highlighted the challenges social services face when managing the workforce, such as filling vacancies and addressing high turnover rates. We also presented recommendations for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers on ensuring more sustainable workforce management, such as successful strategies that can improve staff retention, and the need for the harmonisation of social work qualifications across countries.
- ESN 2016 seminar Investing in the social service workforce: Building a caring society
- ESN 2016 Report Investing in the social services workforce
- Our additional resources on Workforce and management
- Working papers on contemporary issues for managers and directors of social services in Europe:
- European Commission Social Investment Package
- European Commission New Skills Agenda for Europe
- European Commission Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020