Back in April of this year, the ESN Members’ Forum brought together our members to share our past achievements, determine our strategy for the coming years, and discuss priority issues for social services. The meeting was a critical milestone in the preparation for ESN’s four-year strategy for 2018-2021. On 1 December 2017, members of ESN will be able to build on the conclusions reached in Brussels and discuss with peers from around Europe three main topics: technological innovation, co-production and integrated care.

Technological Innovation

Technology is an important element of social innovation, notably the digitalisation of services. |Indeed, technological solutions offer many new opportunities to change how information and services are accessed and managed, how service providers and users can connect with each other and modernise needs assessment methods. The meeting will be an opportunity to bring together social services professionals and representatives of companies at the forefront of technological transformation, to discuss ways to improve service users’ experience.

Co-production of services

The shift from understanding users as ‘beneficiaries’ to ‘co-producers of services’ is underway. However, this shift requires a series of elements to be addressed. Indeed, the social service workforce needs to be trained to ‘create spaces’ that support service users’ engagement, the solidarity of communities and the participation of volunteers. ESN members will look at ways to ensure the involvement of service users in the design, implementation and evaluation of social services.

Integrated services

Further integration of services will allow service users to receive more harmonised and coordinated care and support that can meet all their needs. Moreover, public authorities are increasingly requested to work in a more integrated way in order to provide a more cost-effective response to people’s needs.  ESN members will be looking at the different areas where integrating social services is necessary, such as health and social services as well as social and employment services. The main objective of the discussions will be to identify opportunities and challenges and discuss possible ways to overcome these challenges.

This follow-up meeting to the Members’ Forum will therefore be a great opportunity for ESN members to discuss and exchange views on key challenges and opportunities facing social services today. Furthermore, the insight provided by speakers and members will be key for establishing ESN’s strategic objectives for 2018-2021.

If you wish to attend, please visit the event web page to find out all the details. You can register following  following this link. Please contact Tihomir Popovic if you have any questions on the logistical arrangements for the meeting.