It is more important than ever to ensure social services are a priority investment in Europe. The ageing population brings the need for more and diverse care solutions in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the front line role of social services in ensuring people’s well-being and supporting them during periods of unemployment, educational needs, care deficits and material needs. Yet the COVID19 pandemic brought into sharp relief the challenges the sector has been facing, including underinvestment in staffing, questions around the commissioning of services and the sustainability of the current financing models.
It is these challenges that this report addresses and puts in the context of the real-life experience of our members. Whereas only some members are quoted directly, the evidence and experience of a wide range of our members are represented across this report as we build on previous publications and position papers. This report investigates the main trends, challenges and opportunities in social service provision by not-for-profit service providers, from three main angles: the implementation of EU legal and policy frameworks; the funding systems and sources; and challenges intrinsic to the sector, such as the recruitment and retention of qualified workforce, the increased digitalisation of services and the growing complexity of users’ needs. From this, we draw out key trends, influences and recommendations.
For more information, please read the full report.