• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  


  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.


  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today


Calendar Sunday, February 01, 2015
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Social services

Eurodiaconia works on many areas related to the provision of social services. Social Services of General interest (SSGI) is the term used to describe social services that are seen to be of importance to the general population. The European Commission has described them as including services provided directly to the person that play a preventive and socially cohesive role, such as social assistance services, employment and training services, social housing, child care or long-term care services.

Eurodiaconia focuses on working to ensure that not-for-profit social and health care providers operate in a supportive environment, where their importance is recognised.

Eurodiaconia monitors the impacts of EU legislation and how it is implemented on the provision of social services in Europe, in particular the impact of EU State Aid and Public Procurement rules, which regulate how contracting authorities can finance social services.

Eurodiaconia members strive to provide quality services and Eurodiaconia has been actively engaged in the EU debate on the quality of social services since 2005. Eurodiaconia has contributed to EU initiatives on quality and has developed its own document on quality.

Eurodiaconia and its members decided to develop one particular elementof these principles, namely service user participation and empowerment. Members felt it was important to facilitate mutual learning and to promote these ideas and drew up a toolkit to this effect.

  • Eurodiaconia toolkit for user participation and empowerment in social services, available in English , French and German (2010).

19 March Lunchtime Debate: Investing in Social Services despite austerity

19 march poster pic

Promoting quality in tendering for social services: update on reform of directive

March 7 2013

Following the vote by the European Parliament on the proposed public procurement directive in its Internal Market Committee (IMCO) in December, the lead MEPs have now been given the authority to start negotiations with national governments.  

Eurodiaconia and partners were pleased that IMCO decided to propose that the possibility for public authorities to award contracts based on lowest price be abolished, as advocated for last year. This is aimed to stress the importance of quality in contracting, but this will be one of the most controversial elements in the debate with Member States. The European Parliament also strengthened the wording of the section that deals with specific rules for social services, including that authorities must take into account the need to ensure high quality services, which will also need to be defended with national governments.

Eurodiaconia and other Social NGOs tried to get an explicit recognition of the possibility for a national law reserving markets to NGOs into the text but this was not taken on board by the Parliament. A full analysis of the IMCO and the Member States’ positions in January from the Social Platform can be found here.

The amendments the IMCO committee have proposed relating to social services will be discussed mid-April, and with Social Services Europe and the Social Platform Eurodiaconia will be contacting key MEPs, political staff and national representatives. Eurodiaconia has been working with these partners to feed into the Network for Sustainable Development in Public Procurement's proposals for the negotiations.

The final vote in the European Parliament on the Directive is expected in the Autumn but this is likely just to be an affirmation of the positions agreed in the negotiations. For more information on the previous discussions on public procurement rules see here.

Conference discusses promoting employment in personal and household services

4 February 2013

The European Commission organised a conference in Brussels on the 30 and 31 January examining how to increase employment in “personal and household services”. The conference follows up from the 2012 consultation to which Eurodiaconia responded as part of Social Services Europe (see response here). On the one hand it sought to examine how to improve working conditions in household services such as cleaning and how to bring people out of the black market in the sector, and on the other hand the challenges of an ageing society and care services.

Speakers from Social Services Europe members were able to express the network’s concerns about this mixed approach and clearly lay out our recommendations for policy makers in the area of employment in the care sector, whether that be in home or residential care. They highlighted the often integrated nature of home, community and institutional care and the need for highly skilled people in the sector. The integration issue was echoed in another presentation which called for the integration of informal care in the formal care system and the creation of a new “value” chain of cooperation also involving NGOs and volunteers.

Specifically on employment for carers, speakers called for recognition of acquired knowledge, better links between different levels of qualifications and spoke of online courses to build capacties. The EU research agency Eurofound introduced ongoing research that is examining supply and demand for staff in home care and solutions to promote work in the sector.

Carers UK spoke of the need to ensure sufficient capacity of care for older people as a vital part of economic growth. It was suggested that such care should be approached as childcare was previously in the UK, with investment and incentives to grow supply.

Presentations sharing good practice included the project-turned-social movement My Home Life, which promotes quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes through a participatory approach of all involved. They support care home managers and talk of moving beyond person-centered care to bringing people into community.

Update on reform of rules for public procurementof services

21 November 2012

Public procurement is the purchase of goods, services and public works by governments and public organisations. The main method of procurement is competitive tendering, where a call for offers to carry out a service is put out and providers compete to win the contract based on criteria as decided by the funding authority.  For information on the original proposal from the Commission to reform the rules published in 2011, a proposal for a new directive to replace the existing one from 2004, please see the Social Services Europe Briefing here.

The lead MEPs from the committee responsible for drafting the Parliament’s position (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) have been meeting for weeks to discuss compromises for the more controversial among the 1500+ amendments tabled to the committee’s draft position. Consequently the committee agreed to postpone their vote until the 19th December from late November. Eurodiaconia is working with the Social Platform on voting recommendations for the vote in the Parliament and is currently trying to get hold of the compromise amendments. Eurodiaconia may then get in touch with members before the vote about certain issues to lobby their MEPs to ensure the Parliament position is as supportive of social services as possible.

Eurodiaconia and partners met with the lead MEP on the Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) earlier in the year and the committee proposed many amendments to the Commission proposal that reinforced the emphasis on quality and special characteristics of social services. EMPL’s proposals are considered by the lead committee. It appears as though the Parliament has a majority support for scrapping the possibility to award contracts based only on lowest price, something that Eurodiaconia has been calling for now for years.

The special section or lighter “regime”, with fewer requirements for financing social, health educational and cultural services has mainly been disputed by those that think other services should also benefit from lighter rules. We will call on MEPs to support amendments that propose the inclusion of references to other forms of financing than procurement, as well as the explicit mention of the possibility for national law to reserve contracts to non-profit organisations. We also support the possibility for authorities to include working conditions of staff in the technical specifications in the call for proposals, not just taking that into account in the awarding of the contract. Eurodiaconia will inform members of the outcome of the vote and raise any concerns that might arise. Eurodiaconia will also seek to influence the position of Member States once this becomes clearer.

The full update can be found here. For more information please see the Parliament page on the dossier or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Update on EU rules on subsidies - the relevance of 2012 state aid reforms

10 October 2012

Eurodiaconia has published a briefing on how the reforms carried out by the European Commission in 2012 on the state aid rules affect non-profit social service providers.  State aid rules need to be taken into account when public authorities fund the provision of social services through subsidies or grants, when a competitive procedure such as tendering has not been used.

The new rules aim to simply procedures for social services but they remain complicated. The briefing can be downloaded here. For any questions or comments please contact Laura Jones in the secretariat.

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