This week, along with colleagues in Social Services Europe, we launched a report on Recruitment and Retention in the social care sector. The study, which covers a number of countries in the EU, includes evidence from our members in the Czech Republic, France and Germany. In each of these countries there is a shortage of suitable staff for social care but each of our members are looking at innovative ways to increase the attractiveness of our sector as a working environment. Some of these initiatives include academic recognition of practical experience, engagement of young people for work experience, ambitious staff training programmes and partnerships with public employment agencies. We presented this report in the European Parliament where its findings were well received. In particular, the link with life long learning, job creation and the aim to provide fair and decent work was particularly commended. There was a clear recognition that employment in the care sector needs to be taken much more seriously as it is this sector where jobs opportunities are being created.

That is why we were also pleased this week to see the European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey for 2018. The AGS is the launching document of the European Economic governance process known as the European Semester. This is where EU Member States have to present their national budgets and show how they are working to ensure economic and social stability in their country. We have been advocating for years that the European Semester must be more social and this year, with the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the process towards a better balanced economic and social policy seems to have started. In particular, social services are highlighted as an area for investment for Member States to ensure their accessibility, quality and affordability. We welcome this recognition of social services and the role they play in ensuring social inclusion and well-being.  We need to see this recognition put into practice now by Member States, providing financing that allows us to recruit the staff we need, provide the quality that is needed and ensure that everyone has access as needed. We will be following the European Semester at Eurodiaconia and working with our members to see how budgets adapt at national level so watch this space!

Have a good weekend,