Social services must be supported to thrive – not just survive! This was my message to the online summit on Social Services held this week. Organised by the leading social services association at EU level we brought together over 300 providers, employees, and policymakers to discuss how social services have responded to the COVID 19 pandemic. Vice President of the European Commission, Madam Suica, gave a keynote address where she confirmed that the European Commission was ready to support social services.

Unfortunately, there was very little in terms of concrete support now. Our members Kirkens Korshær and Sleska Diakonie presented the experience they have had and the needs they have now for sustainable funding, support for staffing, and assistance with digital transformation. But these are not needs in the coming years – they are needs now. Yet from the European institutions we are only hearing about what will happen in the future rather than what will happen now. We need actions that go beyond putting a sticking plaster over the wounds that social services have experienced – we need a wholesale review of how services are funded and regarded in our policies for the wellbeing of society.

#weareessentialservices was our tag line for this event. Will the European Commission agree and commit to doing all they can to ensure our sector will thrive and support people? We are waiting impatiently to see…

Have a good weekend,