Quality of Life & Support Services: From Words to Action
On 13th & 14th October 2022, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities and Aġenzija Sapport co-hosted the European conference ‘Quality of Life & Support Services: From Words to Action’ in Malta. The Conference provided concrete ways for how to measure the quality of services provided to people with disabilities in Europe. The event also showcased innovative models that can help service providers move forward towards higher quality, empowering and person-centred forms of support, aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Following the recent launch of the European Care Strategy and in light of the upcoming initiative of the European Commission to develop an EU Framework for Social Services of Excellence by 2024, the conference provided an opportunity for social service providers, persons with disabilities and other key stakeholders to discuss what is needed to improve the delivery of disability services across Europe.
The two-day event addressed on what it means to provide a quality, person-centred service based in the community and focused on how support services can integrate quality considerations into their work. Bringing together participants from across Europe and beyond, the conference presented examples of innovative approaches in quality frameworks for social services focusing on improving the quality of life of the people they support.
Among the conference participants were members of the EASPD Taskforce on Quality Services. Composed of service providers, persons with disabilities, public authorities, international networks, as well as researchers and other relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce is working to contribute to the development of the EU Framework for Social Services of Excellence. During the conference, the group presented their first reflections of the key elements that an EU Framework on Social Services of Excellence needs to include.
Speaking at the conference James Crowe, President of EASPD highlighted what is needed to ensure the provision of quality support: “These two days showed that both authorities and service providers need to invest far more into making their quality systems useful instruments for self-learning and self-improvement, but also for making the most of often limited public spending and staff resources.”
While quality assessment processes are a competence of EU Member States, the European Union plays a key -and increasing- role in supporting the development of high-quality services. “Using existing European Funding programmes, as well as the expertise and experience within the Disability Platform and Social Protection Committee, are some examples of the tools that the EU has at its disposal to support Member States. These tools can help modernise their quality assessment processes and exchange promising practices to develop and deliver high-quality services” said Maya Doneva, Secretary General of EASPD.
Closing the conference, Oliver Scicluna, Chief Executive Officer of Aġenzija Sapport, the Maltese national service provider and co-host of the conference, emphasised: “the way forward should be more involvement of persons with disability” he further referred to “the need of discourse to move on to cover the right of access to normal life, beyond education and employment. Discussions on sexuality, family life and socialisation should also make it to the agenda to ensure that the social partners move from words to action on what really matters for the service users.”
Following the contributions of the conference participants, EASPD will carry these forward. The messages will be shared with policymakers, social service providers, researchers and other stakeholders to support in developing high-quality services for persons with disabilities and other support needs.
- EU Framework on Social Services of Excellence for persons with disabilities: Input of the Taskforce on Quality of Services
- EASPD Report: Innovative Frameworks for measuring the Quality of services for Persons with Disabilities
- EASPD Conference Webpage
For more information, please contact:
Senior Policy Officer
+32 2 233 77 23
Note to editors:
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organisation, established in 1996, and currently representing over 20,000 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.