On 16-18th September EASPD joined the Social Platform for their second flagship conference: “Building Social Europe.” Together with its Finnish member, KVPS, EASPD hosted a workshop and study visit to explore how best to fund community-based social services.
Over the course of an hour and a half, workshop attendees discussed which funding models are best suited to the development of quality care services. The workshop also provided EASPD with an important opportunity to share its recent report, “How to fund quality care and support services: 7 key elements,” with conference participants and discuss with them the essential components that EASPD recommends all public authorities consider in any reform of their funding models.
The discussions held lead to a number of clear messages:
- The transition to community-based services is crucial to creating an economy of well-being. Policies should therefore pro-actively support such a transition, including at EU level.
- Public Authorities have the responsibility to adequately fund social care services to achieve this transition and care for all.
- Not just about the amount of funding provided, but also the type of funding model used, has a huge impact over how services are provided..
- Public procurement leads to care services that focus on profit and lowing standards. Continuity of care also often not guaranteed for service users, which is problematic. Public procurement is not a suitable instrument to fund social care and the EU must stop promoting it as an instrument and explore other alternatives.
- Reserved Markets are a much better tool to support local NGOs, rooted in the community, often in close contact with service users and families. They focus on partnerships, rather than on buyer/supplier relationships, which supports their involvement in the community.
- Personal budgets are a radical “new” approach to funding social care, by placing choice and control in their hands of service users. There are of course difficulties in implementation, particularly as we are at the start of a journey. A personal budget system helps to shift focus from quality of service to quality of life!
In addition to the workshop KVPS and EASPD hosted a study visit to Aurinkolinna, a support service outside Helsinki which provides round the clock support to 20 young people with support needs. The service, which is tailored to each individual’s needs, has been developed on the concepts of strong self-determination, active support and collaboration with families.
To find out more about the Social Platform’s conference, visit the conference webpage here.