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The social workforce makes the EU Commission’s priorities a reality

News Item – 19 December 2019

 EASPD, the Lead partner of the a4i project launched its latest report: “Staff Matters: from care workers to enablers of change”. The report summarizes the conclusions of the Helsinki Conference “Staff Matters: Disability Workforce of Tomorrow” and follows the publication of the new European Commission’s Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020, which highlights their priority to create an “economy that works for people & planet”. EASPD’s report provides 5 Action Points to put into practice in the social services sector by transforming Europe’s 11 million strong social services workforce into enablers of change in the lives of persons with support needs.

On the 17th December, the new European Commission published the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) 2020, which outlines its economic, social & environmental priorities in Europe. Under the leadership of the new President, Dr Ursula von der Leyen, the ASGS represents a new format for the European Commission with a commitment to align economic, social and environmental goals to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Regarding the interests of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), the ASGS highlights the need for Europe “to address more efficiently the inequalities borne by groups at risk of exclusion, including persons with a disability (…) to ensure that they can make full use of their potential to contribute to the economy, social protection systems and society”.

EASPD sees care and support providers and their workforce as crucial players in addressing these inequalities. Social Care and Support is Europe’s biggest job creator with 11 million professionals and 2 million new jobs created in the last decade. As such, EASPD also launches today its latest report “Staff Matters: from care workers to enablers of change”, which summarises the conclusions of the Helsinki International Conference on the disability workforce of tomorrow.

The report highlights five key drivers that policy-makers, service providers and others must consider for staff in social services to become enablers of change for persons with support needs and vulnerable groups; to help them live full and active lives in society. These include ensuring that work in Social Care and Support:

  1. is important and meaningful;
  2. is done by people for people;
  3. is about local communities and welcomes very diverse skills, profiles & perspectives;
  4. requires resources and investment;
  5. needs leadership by all;

Presenting the report, Mr Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of EASPD, said “the 11 million and growing staff in Social Care and Support will be crucial to achieving Europe’s economic, social and human rights ambitions. But we have to make sure we create the right eco-system to empower these professionals, to help them create positive change in the lives of people across Europe. Our report is the right starting point. We look forward to working with the Commission and others to put these five drivers at the heart of European policy initiatives. Let’s start with the European Disability Agenda!”  

In addition to the EU institutions, EASPD also encourages national and regional public authorities, social service providers, social partners and user organisations to consider how they can contribute to these 5 drivers for change through their own respective activities. In the months to come, EASPD will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders to highlight the crucial role that staff in social care and support can play in the future of Europe.

EASPD leading on the a4i project  fostering the innovation capacity of social care & support sector

The ‘Alliance for Inclusive Investment in Social Care and Support’ (a4i) project aims to bridge the gap between social service providers, banks and universities to help the social sector to engage skilfully with investors and meet their investment needs.

The challenges facing social services and for which solutions are needed, demand the development of a new breed of decision makers. People who are able to: maximises the inclusiveness of social investment1; deliver mutual benefits through stronger alignment with health care and social housing and; have the skills and confidence to secure financing for these changes from both public and private capital. This is not simply about borrowers being able to articulate what they need. On the funder side there needs to be funding arrangements developed that temper what returns will be acceptable to borrowers and governments. This can only be achieved in a sustainable way if private investors (PI) and social service providers2 (SP) (i) exchange knowledge and learning about sector needs and what works and what doesn’t work for social investing (ii) use this exchange as a basis for intelligent professional development provided in collaboration with Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and subsequent quality investment in social care & support services.

The need to maximise access to and use of social investment requires a new knowledge alliance between private investors and social care & support providers with HEIs offering a neutral platform while needing to improve the relevance of teaching content in the professional development of decision makers. Each HEI represented in a4i has previously developed specific concepts for public and private investment in public services but are all interested in enhancing their teaching to offer a unique approach to experiential teaching in social investment. a4i will integrate their approaches in a core curriculum for professional development and will take advantage from an interconnected approach to develop a common understanding of and attention to: terminology, concepts, practical knowledge and competencies that can facilitate better collaboration between private investors and social care & support providers in order to generate investable propositions for social services that deliver measurable improvements in social wellbeing.

Role of Health ClusterNet

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 will review the current practice and advances beyond state-of-the-art in social investment and will develop European guidelines on quality investment principles.

For more information please contact Joanna Lane, PhD, Health ClusterNet, Managing Director.

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.

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