EASPD organised its annual conference on “Investing in Social Services, Investing in People’ in Bucharest, Romania on 16 May 2019.
On a day to day basis, quality social services provide the care and support which enable millions of people in Europe to be socially and economically active: the persons with support needs themselves, their families and close network, as well as the millions of dedicated professionals and volunteers who provide the services. This has a knock-on effect for Europe as a whole; allowing all people to participate, our communities to strengthen and our economies to develop. In short, investing in social services is about investing in people!
Guaranteeing the continuity and development of person-centred social services is a necessity for the continent: legally, politically, economically, socially and especially in terms of access to human rights. Adequately funding quality social services should thus be a priority for Europe. This can only be achieved if Public Authorities assume their role in developing and guaranteeing sustainable funding frameworks to support the development of quality person-centred social services. Social services have significant and growing investment needs: to support and strengthen the transition to person-centred and community-based services, to recruit and retain qualified staff, to build the right infrastructure, to innovate, to digitalise and to reach out to other mainstream stakeholders.
The Conference provided an opportunity for participants to gain practical and theoretical knowledge about the variety of effective funding models across Europe and exchange views on their suitability for the development of quality support services, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The a4i project to build Alliance for Inclusive Investment in Social Care and Support
EASPD, the conference organiser is also leading the a4i project with a wide partnership which is aiming to change investor behaviour, specifically, the ability to develop funding arrangements for social investment that will support the necessary transitions driving changes in social care & support.
For social care & support providers, it is about the ability to know when private investment is the right path to go down and to better understand how to secure investors’ confidence with such arrangements over the long-term. a4i takes the results of the High-Level Task Force on investing in social infrastructure needs analysis and related evidence and translates them into a specifically designed professional development programme.
The general aim of a4i is to develop and put in place a Knowledge Alliance that provides professional development opportunities that create more informed intersectoral working between investors and social care providers. In this, Higher Education Institutions offer a neutral platform for care & support providers and private investors engagement and exchange. The a4i training course, together with the Knowledge Centre and MOOC, will contribute to enhancing the mutual understanding, trust and ability to work together in securing more sustainable and diversified funding for integrated, flexible and individualised services. Those are fundamental aspects to enhancing the quality of services and thus improving quality of life of individuals and their families who need social care & support over the life course.
The role of Health ClusterNet in the a4i project
HCN is taking the lead on Work Package 1 – State of play and Guidelines. The project draws on crossover knowledge exchange that validates the state of play and innovations within (i) financial sector approaches to social investment (ii) the changing operating environment for social care & support providers and (iii) the need to secure added value impacts for stakeholders including local communities. HCN is reviewing the current practice and advances beyond state-of-the-art in social investment and will develop European guidelines on quality investment principles.
Steve Write, HCN research associate presented this work and its preliminary findings in one of the sectoral workshops of the Bucharest conference, Funding of Social Infrastructure.
Read more information about the project at:
This project is financed by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The information contained in this news item does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.