With less than two months to go before our annual conference, we are delighted to announce our conference programme including 22 workshop sessions, 4 plenary sessions, 3 thematic panel discussions and 1 European Round Table debate to wrap it all up! Not to forget plenty of networking opportunities and the chance to make new connections with senior professionals from all across Europe.

This year’s edition is all about exploring how public authorities can collaborate more effectively with local communities and their citizens to build services that are personal and meaningful. To set the scene, we’ll be looking at the effect that decentralisation is having on public service planning and delivery across Europe and what this means to social services: we’ll see that while there are many challenges ahead (for most of our members increasing responsibility with decreasing resources) the changing context also brings with it opportunities and the need to rethink public service management and provision, drawing more effectively on local connections and community assets in building a more inclusive society.

We’ll hear from Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, an outspoken advocate of co-creation and the invested value of citizens in service provision; Janet Menard, Deputy Minister for Community and Social Services from Ontario in Canada who has the tough challenge of leading community development programmes in a region comprising both rural and urban areas as well as considerable ethnic diversity; and we will also include a concrete example of participative citizenship in the planning and delivery of services.

Later on, we’ll give the floor to the inspiring innovators disrupting some of the ‘tried and tested’ formulas, social entrepreneurs Sascha Haselmayer and Zoran Puljic who are rethinking how to best tackle societal challenges through citizen-led solutions all while working closely with public authorities. They will highlight how new initiatives can only come about through cross-sector collaboration and hopefully inspire all of us into taking risks and embracing new ideas.

On the final day, delegates will have their say in a series of thematic panel discussions addressing the most topical issues in social welfare right now: integrating refugees, combatting poverty and integrating services. It’ll then be time to wrap up our 24th European Social Services Conference in customary fashion, through a Round Table debate with leading politicians, directors of social services, policymakers and social entrepreneurs.

And that’s just for the plenary sessions…find out more about our expansive workshop programme, networking opportunities and plenty more on our dedicated conference website.

Join us in The Hague to be inspired, be challenged and learn from others across Europe!

To download a PDF version of the programme, please click here.