Social services are central to creating a caring, inclusive and productive society. ESN believes that this means seeing the person at the very heart of everything we do.

Social services are organised in different ways across Europe with different roles and responsibilities. These may include protecting and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people, empowering families and communities, enabling those furthest from the labour market to access employment and other meaningful activity, helping people with disabilities live more independently, and caring for people in the later years of life.

Social services increasingly work closely with other services including employment, health, housing, education and regeneration. These may be delivered by public, non-profit or for-profit organisations, and are typically funded through tax and insurance, and regulated by public bodies.

In the EU context, ‘social services of general interest’ are seen to “play a crucial role in improving quality of life and providing social protection” and cover:

  • social security
  • employment and training services
  • social housing
  • child care
  • long-term care
  • social assistance services