On 16 November 2021, Eurodiaconia and Social Services Europe (SSE) jointly hosted an online round table conference to discuss how we can harness the recent recognition of the long-term care sector as a frontline service and build on this to safeguard the delivery of quality services. During the conference, barriers to recruitment and retention of staff were identified, best practices on how to improve conditions for the workforce in the sector were shared, and policy recommendations were delivered on how to build a favourable ecosystem for quality, accessible, and affordable social services for all.

The event started with an introduction by Eurodiaconia’s Policy Officer, Ms.Kewan Mildred, followed by the first panel discussion on key barriers to recruitment and retention of staff, moderated by Eurodiaconia’s Head of Advocacy, Ms. Anne-Sophie Wislocki. During this panel, we had the interventions of Ms. Johanna Pisecky, Social Expert at Diakonie Austria, and Mr. Pavol Vilček, Diocesan Director of Spišská Katolícka Charita, Caritas Slovakia, who presented some of the key challenges of the sector in their countries.

Then, the second panel discussion on promising practices to encourage employment in the sector took place, with presentations from Ms. Lucie Slámová, Foreign Relations Assistant at Diaconia ECCB, Czech Republic, who described good managerial practices in her organisation, and Mr. Théo Bezerra, from the Syndicat Employeur du Lien Social et Familial (ELIFSA), who presented present some insights on the FORESEE project.

Later, the third panel on how to harness the recent recognition of the care sector and tackle recruitment and retention of quality staff challenges took place, moderated by Mr. Mathias Maucher, Policy and Project Coordinator of SSE. Here, we had key interventions from Mr. Adam Rogalewski, Policy Staff Health and Social Services, Mr. Sylvain Renouvel, Director of Social Employers, Ms. Laura Jones, Board member of SSE and Secretary General of the European Platform of Rehabilitation, and Ms. Kathrin Riedler, Policy Officer, from DG EMPL at the European Commission.

Finally, to close our event, our Secretary General Ms. Heather Roy, presented some key messages and policy recommendations, calling to work towards a Care Guarantee in Europe that delivers certain standards on access to care services for all.

Do you want to know what the speakers had to say in more detail? You can check out our Conference Report here.