Challenges and Opportunities for Social Services in Europe: promoting care and inclusion in a difficult economic environment

Conference 2010

2010 is the European Year for Combating Social Exclusion and Poverty, a time of challenge and change for social services and for Europe.

The challenges include those of demographic change and increased service costs on long-term care; rising unemployment, especially amongst the young; and a desire for greater independence and choice for all in need of social care. At the same time Europe is in the middle of one of the most profound financial crises in recent history with implications for the financing of public services. These are also times of change at a European level with a new Parliament and Commission and a new agenda for economic, social and environmental policy.

Such challenges and changes present a unique opportunity to review the way we develop and provide services.

This conference, held in partnership with the Spanish Presidency of the European Union opens a crucial and timely debate about the future of social services in Europe. The conference will look at current trends, challenges and opportunities for local directors and managers in areas such as public finance, the use of ICT, new forms of service partnership, skills development, user and carer participation and self-management of care.

Speakers will include a wide range of experts from all sectors and interests to engage in debate in plenary sessions and workshops and seek to answer questions such as:

  • How should we respond to the current financial pressures and what are the medium and long term scenarios?
  • Can we encourage innovation and creativity at a time when expenditure is limited?
  • Are our service assessment and delivery models efficient and client centred?
  • How can we make the very best use of the skills in our workforce to provide more effective services?
  • How should we ensure that our services are environmentally and economically sustainable?
  • What are the opportunities for European added value through mutual learning and policy development?
Who should attend this conference?

This conference is essential for those responsible for designing, contracting and providing social services in Europe. It provides a unique opportunity to understand what is happening in social work and care at a time of financial turbulence and to share experiences and expertise for developing effective people-centred strategies in and beyond the recession. It’s your chance – our chance – to make the case for confident and effective local services at a time when people will be relying on them more than ever. So if you only participate in one European conference in 2010, make it this one!

Organisers of the conference

The conference is organised annually by the European Social Network (ESN), a forum of directors of public social, health, education and employment services in Europe and associate member organisations. The 2010 conference is presented in cooperation with the Spanish Presidency of the European Union; the Spanish Ministries of Health and Social Affairs and of Education, Social Policy and Recreation; the Government of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Government of the Province of Barcelona (Diputació de Barcelona). The conference is also supported by  the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and the NVC, supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.