Service quality refers to planning and providing services of high quality, with the aim of promoting the quality of life of service users.


Our work with ESN members


Our work on service quality focusses on key issues around recruitment, retention, planning and managing the social service workforce in Europe, including issues around leadership, performance and innovation. Service quality received a new impetus in the wake of the economic crisis and the austerity measures implemented in different European countries affected quality.

Throughout 2016, we conducted a study on workforce challenges, good examples of addressing them using innovative approaches to training and planning, and key facilitators for sustainable workforce management. We organised the seminar ‘Investing in the social service workforce: Building a caring society’ and published a report based on a literature review, a comprehensive questionnaire that we launched in summer 2016, and a policy analysis of selected European countries. It features a set of recommendations for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers.

ESN Seminar on Workforce, Nov 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia


Going back, in 2012 ESN established a working group on 'Leadership, Performance and Innovation' which brought together senior managers of public social services at local and regional level.


The working group participated in six meetings to discuss:


ESN resources

ESN seminar ‘Investing in the social service workforce: Building a caring society’

Baltruks, D.; Hussein, S.; Lara Montero, A. (2017) Investing in the social services workforce. Brighton: European Social Network.

Working papers on contemporary issues for managers and directors of social services in Europe:


External resources

Social Investment Package

New Skills Agenda for Europe

Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020


Our additional work on Workforce and management.