From the EU’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to its provision of funding programs supporting the transition to community-based care and support, or its development of the Voluntary European Quality Framework for Social Services the European Union has proved itself to be a key contributor to the development of quality community-based care and support services across Europe.
Despite this contribution, when it comes to the funding of such services, an action so crucial to the implementation of quality support, the EU has had mixed results and must look to further strengthen its activities in this field. With the upcoming European Elections come new opportunities to advance the European Union’s social dimension and the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) calls on the EU to support the funding of inclusive quality care and support services, promoting active participation and protection of all those living in Europe.
But how can this be done? And what is the reality of the EU’s role when national and regional authorities continue to be the main actors in the funding of social care and support?
On 16th-17th May EASPD will join over 250 sector leaders at their European conference ‘Investing in Social Services, Investing in People’ where they will discuss the role of the EU in supporting the provision of high-quality support services for persons with disabilities. Together support services, service beneficiaries, public authorities, academics, employers and mainstream actors will share their views on how the EU can #FundInclusion and the possible actions they could take, including:
- The timely approval of the next EU Multi-annual Financial Framework (long-term EU budget) 2021-2027 with strong quality requirements, which provides funding opportunities for social service providers among most if not all EU programmes.
- The stronger focus on the role of support services in implementing the UN CRPD in the next European Disability Strategy 2020-2030, with a dedicated section on how all EU funds, investment programs and policies should help support services to enable people to become active citizens, to enter into the labour market, to benefit from the same education as all others and to participate in cultural life.
- A commitment by all EU institutions to further invest in research and data collection, assessing elements such as staff shortages, the link between quality of services and quality of life , the cost of inappropriate social infrastructure, the potential of innovation and the economic and social consequences of underinvesting in social care and support.
- The promotion of the effective use of reserved contracts, rather than procurement processes, for the funding of most care services.
- Bridging the gap between the social services sector and private investors, by maximizing the potential of the future investEU programme.
- Ensuring that Employers and Trade Unions in Social Services have a dedicated European Social Dialogue Committee at EU level, to enable them to unlock the sector’s job creation potential, identify bottlenecks, and identify how funding rates and models impact workforce recruitment, retention and development.
Material of the conference
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Note to editors
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 17,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.