Role of Social Services Providers
Addressing the Social Impact
Social Services Europe has an important contribution to bring to the overall success of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Semester and a number of EU-level policy frameworks as well as in addressing the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, hight energy prices and the cost-of-living crises. Social services are an integral part of the active inclusion agenda, which is itself in line with the headline targets of the European Semester recently adopted by the European Union.
Social Services Europe represents over 200,000 not-for-profit social and health care organisations across Europe promoting social inclusion and social cohesion. The sector, employing in 2018 over 11 million people and with has seen an increase of the workforce of more than 10% between 2013 and 2018, has a long term commitment to vulnerable people and is constantly searching for innovative and cost effective solutions to providing services.
The EU-level debates around and policy initiatives in relation to the European Pillar of Social Rights, the quality of Social Services of General Interest (SSGI), the effective recruitment and retention of sufficient and adequately qualified staff, state aid, public procurement, social economy, the effective use of EU funds (such as the ESF+) and social innovation show that there is an importance being attached to SSGI and there is a space for a formal, strong network that can promote the not-for-profit agenda.
SSGI are a key component of the European Social Model. They are also important automatic stabilisers in times of economic recession, as was illustrated during the COVID-19 pandemic and earlier crises. Although they have no direct or specific legal recognition in EU law, they are referenced by a series of official documents from the European Institutions.