Table of contents
Social service providers strongly contribute to ensure social inclusion of people affected by social exclusion. However, this contribution is not sufficiently reflected in the existing European Strategy for Social Inclusion in building a more inclusive European Union. Therefore, the partners of the project
Quality and Access of Social Services as Factors in Improving Social Inclusion – Qu/A/SI have engaged themselves in the process of combating social exclusion and the future development of social indicators on social inclusion. The Qu/A/SI partners represent a broad range of social service providers: public authorities, churches and charitable social welfare associations. QU/A/Siproject has received funding from the Commission through its Social Inclusion Action Programme.
The project seeks to improve understanding of the NAPs/incl (National Action Plans on Social Inclusion) process by focusing on the QU/A/SI partner’s views regarding quality and access to social services. The voice of people experiencing poverty will also be listened to.
The main aims of the project are:
This Tool-Kit is a result of the Phase I of the QU/A/SI-project. It is meant to serve as practical reader giving information on the NAPincl process and on the European framework, in which this process is to be achieved. The Tool-Kit aspires to increase knowledge and understanding of the Social Exclusion Programme and the NAPs/incl-process and to promote, stimulate and support the process on the local, regional and national level.
The target audiences of this reader are social service providers, policy makers and local experts. Hopefully, the Tool-Kit will be useful also for students, users of social services and journalists.
The Tool-Kit contains
European social policies have played a central role in building Europe’s economic strength, through the development of a unique social model. This has proven to be both flexible and dynamic in responding to rapid changes in Europe's economy and society over the past decades.
TheLisbon European Council in March 2000 identified a fresh set of challenges that should be met in order for Europe to become "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion". Achievement of this goal requires an overall strategy. Modernising the European social model, investing in people and combating social exclusion are crucial parts of this strategy.
In referring to “European Social Model“ one must keep in mind the variety of existing social systems. There are great differences in transfer systems, tax-benefit systems and social welfare policies within EU member countries. The European models can be divided into the following categories:
The EU Social Policy is one of three basic elements, creating a vision of a sustainable relationship between a market economy and social security and between solidarity and competition:
Since 1975 the EU has realised four programmes against poverty. Despite the variety of the targets of these programmes, they have had common goals: to gain knowledge about the development of poverty; to identify the affected people and groups and to test measures taken to fight the poverty. Due to the lack of a legal base and the impact that these programmes had had on national social policy, some programmes were cancelled in parts of the member states.
A new basis was found in the Treaty of Amsterdam(signed in October 1997) that allowed a cautious opening relating to common social policy, especially vis-à-vis combating social exclusion.
At the European Councils in Lisbon and in Feira (June 2000), the Member States of the European Union took a major initiative in the fight against poverty and social exclusion acknowledging it as one of the central elements in the modernisation of the European social model. The Council stated that the number of people living below the poverty line and in social exclusion in the Union is unacceptable. It was agreed that major steps needed to be taken in setting suitable objectives in order to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty.
The Councils in Portugal made the promotion of social cohesion an essential element in the global strategy of the Union to achieve its strategic objective to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by the year 2010.
All Member States committed themselves in the Nice Treaty (signed in January 2001) to develop their policy priorities in fighting poverty and social exclusion in the framework of four commonly agreed objectives adopted by the council:
The National Migration Office provides an initial contact with all refugees arriving in Sweden. When necessary permits have been issued, local refugee units, funded by central government, become responsible for the introduction into the new community. Refugee units assist in finding language training, finding housing etcetera for a period of two years.
The FGP is a project on voluntary basis. The underlying idea is that true integration into a new community is based on personal contacts, through members of the local community.knowledge and understanding of the local community and society at large.Guides and refugees are matched based on common interests and experiences. Womenare matched with women, men with men; refugees with children are matched with Swedish families with children etcetera. Apart from contacts between the individual refugee and his guide, group activities arearranged; outings, seminars and party’s.
Keywords in the project are: mutuality, respect, voluntary approach, language training.
Contact person :Mr Lhado Bulun, refugee unit officer.
+46 31 365 11 22
The welfare unit within the Gunnared district administration, city of Göteborg, is undertaking the Job ready project. Social service officers carry out assessments on the right to direct
Due to budget cuts, the National Employment services and its local branches have downscaled its efforts to assist poorly educated, but job ready individuals, in finding jobs. This is a large group of clients at the Welfare unit.Since this is an organizational issue to a great extent, a group was formed, whose task was to overcome gaps between the social service administration, the local employment officeand providers of training and education. The group consists of experienced social workers,located part time at the employment office, part time at the Welfare unit office. The efforts toincrease coordination and the frequent meetings with clients have produced very encouraging results. Individuals with a long-term welfare dependency have been assisted in entering the labour market or finding appropriate training, resulting in a number of positive side effects such as increased quality of life and a feeling of being included in society.
Contact Person: Mr Hennik Dahlbery, Social Service Officier
+46 31 365 11 94
The Lisbon Council agreed to adopt the Open Method of Coordination to ensure a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and social exclusion by 2010. The Lisbon Council proposed that applying “a new open method of coordination” would facilitate the implementation of work on the social protection elements under the integrated strategy. This was introduced "as a means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals", to be applied in the areas where the Community powers are limited.
The Open Method of Co-ordination is to be seen as an addition to the legal common instruments (regulations, directives). It is a new (independent) political instrument to design the social protection system of the Member States on a voluntary and consensual manner.
The method is defined by the following elements:
The common experience of many NGOs is that organisations of civil society – and also the national parliaments-are often not involved in the discussion process and do not have the opportunity to participate. There is a lack of transparency (and knowledge) regarding the process at local, regional and national level. This reality goes against the EU commitment to mobilise all relevant bodies.
There is optimism for the usefulness of the method in the future, as it now seems, that as the Commission is better rehearsed to evaluate the second Joint Report, the report will have a higher practical value. Secondly, the Commission has shown willingness to tie the JIMs with the Structural funds.
The Cork City Development Board as a Model of Best Practice.
The Cork City Development Board is made up of community and voluntary groups, public agencies, employers’ organisations, elected members and trade unions. The Cork City Development Board has developed over a two-year period a 10-year Strategy for the social,economic and cultural development of the City. All agencies are now expected to deliver on specific actions as identified in the Strategy and must develop their own policies with regard to the objectives of the City Development Board Strategy. A specific focus of the Strategy is social inclusion. A sub-committee of the City Development Board is taking responsibility forplanning the co-ordinated delivery of all social inclusion measures in the City. This is provingto be a huge task. For example, the task of identifying all of the social inclusion policies in the City and which Government Dept and agency provides the funding has proven to be very complex. However such an understanding is crucial if the co-ordinated delivery of services can begin to be planned.A similar process is underway with regard to the delivery of services in the 4 mostdisadvantaged areas of the City. Teams of agencies and local people have been formed for each of these areas and investment plans have been prepared. This level of inter-agency co-operation with participation from local people has already created a new momentum in agreeing new projects where agencies will share resources and information. Cork City co-ordinating structures and the responsibilities of the elected members is crucial if these structures are to have democratic legitimacy.The City Development Board is proving effective in identifying how national policy commitments such as the National Anti Poverty Strategy can be implemented at the local level. A huge challenge for policy makers is to develop an in depth understanding of the dynamics of social exclusion in Cork. This will require a comprehensive programme of research and evaluation to be funded.
Contact Pat Ledwidge, Director of Services
353 21 49245966
The National Action Plans against poverty and social exclusion are a fundamental component of the Open Method of Co-ordination. While such plans should allow for the diversity of situations and policy priorities at national level, some degree of coherence is necessary as regards their structure and contents in order to facilitate their use as tools for mutual learning.
The first NAPs/inclusion, based on the objectives by the Council Employment and Social Policy on 17.10.2000, were published in the Joint Report on Social Inclusion in December 2001.
Eight core challenges stand out from the NAPs/incl:
(Draft joint report on social inclusion, December 2001)
The synthesis report from European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) on the 2001-2003 NAPs/incl confirms the following weaknesses experienced by the project partners.
In its report E.A.P.N offers some principles to be followed in order to form an effective strategy to combat poverty and exclusion emerge.
Quality Development and Innovation Research on the Example of a City District oriented Model Social-Profit-Enterprise
University of Applied Human Sciences and Social Work in Salzburg is launching a three-year-project on the development of the quality and innovation in social services together with Ludwig Botlzmann-Institute on work and leisure time research in social sciences and with three international networks. The project receives funding from the Salzburg Land.
The social infrastructure 2010- research project seeks to find out: How should the quality profile of social infrastructure be developed to make it capable of meeting the needs and demands that it will be facing at the end of 21st century? How could the interdisciplinary team of experts on social work contribute to generating quality of social services? How can research in social science enhance the planning and development of quality of social infrastructure?
Seven case studies are realised within the frames of the project. These are e.g. study on community organisation and community education that evaluates planning, development and networking of social and socio-cultural infrastructures, study on the future of street work and study on development of local infrastructure (LAPs) for work against poverty and social exclusion in the context of NAPs/incl.
+43 662 883084 24
On behalf of the European Council, Brussels March 2003, the Commission published a communication to simplify and streamline the various strands on social protection (social inclusion, pensions, health and making work pay) into a coherent framework within the open method of co-ordination.
Based on European guidelines, member states will be fully responsible for the setting of policies and use practices that vary from country to country according their historical, cultural and economic factors. By respecting the subsidiarity principle, national systems respond to social challenges and needs in the most effective way
After 2006 the national reports on social protection will become the only contribution from Member States to the process. These unified reports will replace both the NAPs/inclusion and the National Strategy Reports on pensions.
The Communication on streamlining has been criticised because it does not take into account that social inclusion is a much broader concept than social protection. The positive development of coordination may in other words also lead to weakening of actions taken in the field of social inclusion EAPN underlines in a first position on Maintaining a visible European Social Inclusion Strategy that reducing social inclusion to just one pillar of a streamlined social protection process does not reflect the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of poverty and social exclusion. A clear focus on social inclusion must be maintained and reflected at all levels of the streamlining process.
Nevertheless, the Open Method of Coordination will be a key instrument and participation in transformation of guidelines on all levels will be a main goal. Definition of objectives and indicators for each area is important to underpin the streamlining process.
In the view of project partner the streamlining is too narrow and it is too early to interrupt the NAPincl-process. The social inclusion strategy needs continuity in the initiated process to reach stability and progress.
Social service officers in the Child and family services unit, within the Gunnared district administration, city of Göteborg, use the method.
The child and family services unit offer counselling and support in various ways to children, youth and families.
A.R.T is a classic intervention program designed to train and teach youth to understand and replace aggression and anti social behaviour with positive alternatives. The internationallyrenowned Arnold P Goldstein developed the A.R.T program, which has been successfullyused throughout the US and Canada. Today ART is used all over the world; the method has a wide range of applications in schools, social services and other settings.
A.R.T includes the following training: training in pro-social skills, anger control and moral reasoning. Modelling, role-playing, performance feedback and transfer training teach youth acurriculum of 50 pro-social skills. The aim of anger control is to enhance recognition, self-control, reduction and management of anger and aggression. Moral reasoning training is a pedagogic method of developing acceptable social attitudes and values.A.R.T was designed for youth already motivated to change their behaviour. In Gunnared,however, the participants are convicted juvenile offenders that generally lack motivation tocommit themselves to the program. Therefore, during the first session, aim is to enhancemotivation in the group.The results of the program have so far proved successful.
Ms Dafinka Zikova Social Service Officier
+46 31 365 11 53
The Commission has always emphasised the responsibility of Member States and their national, regional and local authorities in combating social exclusion. The Commission has also supported the cooperation with the full range of the bodies concerned, in particular the social partners and the NGOs. The mobilisation of all bodies has an important role in order to:
The strategy has shown, that there is a gap between the different levels that fight against social exclusion and poverty. The participation on local level is however vital
Due to the failure of decentralisation it should be clear, that without implementing this process at the local level no change will occur. Fighting against poverty and social exclusion needs a bottom-up strategy. Establishing a bottom-up process means:
Developing strategies and methods to include poor and affected people in policy making process and as users in social services
Implementing the fight against poverty and social exclusion as mainstreaming on local, regional and national level
Adopting and using the method of open coordination to develop on all levels as part as an element of a participatory democracy.
“Flex”– Distant learning programme based on internet
Learning support for young people, who are not attending a school.
Upholding “the right to education” instead of compulsory education leads to structurally ensuring alternative forms of learning. Restrictive measuures do not seem to be the adequate instrument to lead young people back to regular school system
It is less a matter of forcing compulsory education on them and overcoming their resistance.On the contrary, the aim is to claim their “right to education” and to school graduations, taking into account their particular living conditions.
The vicious circle of refusing to go to school and the resulting consequences cannot simply be broken by way of reintegrating students in their original classes. What is more important is their social integration by means of graduation as well as by obtaining professional
The project with the motto “refusing to go to school doesn’t mean refusing to learn!” is an offer of youth social work, which aims at integrating young people into school and vocational school. This project has been promoted for four years in the context of the “KJP – model programme “Arbeitsweltbezogene Jugendsozialarbeit (Youth social work oriented to theprofessional world)” by the German Federal Ministry for Youth.
Christopherus -Jugendwerk Oberrimsingen, Breisach
Tel: 07 664/ 409 202
Fax. 07 664/ 409 299Back to Top
Acknowledging that social inclusion and social exclusion takes place at a local context, it can be argued that the development of Local Action Plans
and the mobilisation of local actors can have an important impact in order to reach sustainable results in the process of promoting social inclusion.
Here are ideas on how to proceed in the local level:
There are some principles that are useful to be taken into account when defining targets (see: Common Outline for the 2003/2005 NAPs/inclusion).
Targets should be:
ITU-project was organised in cooperation with the Parish of Central Pori and the Town of Pori and it took place during 2001-2002. Mrs. Tuija Eskelinen, the deaconess, coordinated the project. The project staff included one part-time deaconess, one full-time and one part-time social educator.
The main goal of the project was to prevent the exclusion of those young people that were in danger of being excluded by promoting their feeling of security, self-esteem and social skills.
The project also aimed to:
Leisure time activities were organised in peer groups with the presence of a social worker.These activities served either purely to build social relations among young people or promoted their learning for example in form of a study group where the participants did their school home work.
There were eighteen (ten bys and eight girls) 14 to 16 years old students who participants were involved. Teachers first selected the potential participants and then upon their own and their parents’ approval they were accepted as participants.
Young people felt that they had received support
The project received funding (€50 000 ) from the Church of Finland
+358 2 6508 828
There is a lack of a well-defined notion of social services, generally accepted throughout Europe. The understanding of what social services are depends on national traditions and frameworks - including the welfare regimes, legal structure, institutional framework, organization of social (security) system and social/public assistance, financial conditions, political System and economic position. From a Central European point of view, health care and day care for children may be considered social work. The Nordic countries generally have a narrower definition, just covering fields like welfare provision, counselling and support to families and children, placement and foster home administration etc.
Social services play an important role in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Looking for the contribution of providers of social services in combating social exclusion is concerned with the specific quality of the services; moreover: it is concerned with the role and function of these providers in the social field.
Main values are
(Peter Herrmann: The Indicator Gap – How could new Indicators reflect the experiences of social services? Contribution to the Qu/A/SI-Conference, May 2003)
It is remarkable that common programs of action are being undertaken by different social service providers in a variety of EU countries e.g. information/advice. The evidence from the research would also suggest that social service providers are facing common problems such as racism and the disconnection of many households and individuals from their local community. It is also clear that dealing with the needs of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged young people are a priority with many social service providers.
It is apparent that broadly similar target groups and challenges present themselves to social service providers across the EU. The opportunity for collaboration on developing models of best practice can not be underestimated – despite the complexity of country and regional specific legal traditions and administrative practices.
The results of the research show that a common barrier faced by social service providers is a lack of funding. A related point is the capacity of social services to attract skilled staff. This issue needs to be looked at on a number of levels. This includes
An important finding from the research was recognition that the simplification of social service delivery is important. It is particularly important with regard to groups facing severe social exclusion e.g Immigrants who do not speak the host nations language. The simplification of social service delivery however must meet the needs of both staff and users. This requires a great deal of planning, consultation, monitoring and evaluation. Re-organization of service delivery cannot be about saving money only. It must ensure the provision of a better service to users in the final analysis.
Evidence of cross agency partnerships was strongly evident from the research. However it was generally felt that this takes time and resources.
Involving users is also a huge challenge for service providers. The importance of supporting the role of the non-profit sand volunteer lead
organizations is also a dimension of this issue. From the study, it appears that the rhetoric of social inclusion has improved the focus of national governments with reference to the identification of national guidelines and prioritized target groups. Much remains to be done in this area. There are considerable differences between member states on the extent of social dialogue that takes place. In some states it is more institutionally embedded than others.
(from Implementing EU Strategy for Social Inclusion: the findings of research carried out the Qu/A/Si Project, Paper presented at Qu/A/Si Conference in Brussels, May, 2003
Ersta diaconal society in Stockholm promotes new ways and methods for elderly care for people with dementia.mental, social and spiritual needs is considered as valuable as the cure of physical needs of people with dementia. “Demens” stands for people without soul. Ersta wants to “remens” its habitants; to make them and their life feel valuable and keep their dignity alive.Ersta has two elderly homes: Villa Cederschiöld and Mariahemmet. Swedish social authorities cover the expenses (that do not exceed the average costs of elderly homes in Sweden) but they also decide who has the right to live at these homes. This unfortunately also means that people cannot be selected among those who have religious conviction. The houses themselves are designed to promote the curing. They are decorated andfurnished in an old fashion style. This old environment creates homelike atmosphere. Old people can also feel themselves specialists of the history present in the houses. In Villa Cederschiöld and in Mariahemmet the inhabitants can follow their own rhythm of life.
The work at the elderly care home of Ersta requires commitment and willingness to be unconventional. The personnel do not have space of its own but eats and works together with people with dementia. In this way, the personnel also serve as example for a person with dementia who no longer remembers how to e.g. eat. The contact and communication between inhabitants and personal is emphasised and the activity of old people with dementia promoted e.g. painting, dancing and singing. Furthermore, the emphasis on subject-to-subject relation instead of subject to object relation also means giving up the distance between the patient and the curer normally related with the professionalism. In Villa Cederschiöld and in Mariahemmet the personal uses its brain, heart and hand.
For further information contact:
Telephone: +46 8 714 61 00
Social indicators are statistical measures of aspects of quality of life for a population. Social indicators are an important methodological part of the Open Method of Coordination. They allow member States and theCommission to monitor progress towards the European goals. European indicators are prepared by a sub-group of the Social Protection Committee.
There are three levels of indicators:
(Social Protection Committee: Report, October 2001)
Primary and secondary indicators have a more quantitative nature. They are output-oriented. From the point of view of service providers and users it would be more feasible to measure social inclusion through qualitative indicators that reflect the realities of social exclusion. Qualitative indicator could focus more on relationships and interactions and illustrate the living conditions of affected people. There is need for process oriented and result or impact oriented indicators. The development of third level indicators and the possibility of organized civil society, social service providers and users to participate on developing should be a strategic goal.
Secondary and tertiary indicators are able to comprehend the different living situations. Fixing factors, which include participation and which find out the different needs of people, ensures a process of dialogue. Inclusion takes place in the context of concrete working level.
The Social Protection Committee notes that a series of new indicators should be defined and others improved in order to made them more accurate and useful for comparative analysis. In its opinion about Social Indicators the European Economic and Social Committee believes “that priority should be given to indicators measuring social participation and access to services”.
In its proposal for evaluation, monitoring and indicators EAPN stresses that the best indicators are those which measure changes in the everyday lives of people living in poverty and social exclusion. Such indicators can only be defined through participatory method that involves a close cooperation between them and researchers. The merit of such indicators is to be based on the reality of these people’s lives.
At the QU/A/SI-Conference Peter Herrmann (see his contribution) suggested that there should be indicators that would combine process and impact indicators and could be seen as relationship indicators. These indicators are concerned with two forms of a split: the one concerned with different values; the other concerned with issues of social work/social services on the one side and issues of social administration on the other side.
From the QU/A/SI research, there is no evidence of systematic use of social inclusion indicators. EU indicators are also not generally seen as significant sources of policy innovation. A huge challenge remains in developing a systematic framework for the efffective use of indicators. This putative framework mst deal with:
The initial results from the research bear out much of what would what was discussed in the first part of this paper. There are significant challenges for social service providers in dealing with the complexity of administrative rules in their local environment, securing resources and inter-agency cooperation. However these are common challenges for all social service providers across the EU. There is much to be gained from the sharing of ideas on best to tackle these problems. Social inclusion has impacted positively on national policies. The NAPs/incl will further reinforce this process. The Qu/A/SI Project will also assist further in this process.
Proposed indicators on Qu/A/SI-Conference in May 2003:
Developing quality social services is a main challenge in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Due to the cost pressure, the debate on quality in the social benefit systems and quality management in the field of social work has become more intense since the nineties. Different perspectives need to be taken into account. These include the view of providers (good practice, qualification of staff, financial and technical equipment, organisation and structure, use of quality management), the view of users (contentment/satisfaction, outreach methods, involvement), the view of the social benefit system (availability of resources, interaction between targets and resources, allocation of financial resources).
Quality of social services has to be look at the context of
(see: QU/A/SI Conference report „Combating Social Exclusion – Service Pr oviders and Users have something to share“; J.Pillinger: The role of social services in fighting social exclusion)
Facilitating access to resources, rights, goods and services is one of the four objectives in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The access has the following features:
Access to social services is vital to obtain full economic and to increase social participation. There should be no discrimination and obstacles, hindering or impeding full participation in sectors as education, health, housing, culture, access to rights, vocational training and employment.
For service providers it would be a challenge to describe quantitative and qualitative aspects of access that could be used as indicator. EAPN proposed as an indicator “Number of people who could not have access to health care through lack of means (financial means or inadequate and inaccessible services) over the past year.” Measures for access that have been discussed in Qu/A/SI-Conference in May are: Quota of supply (relating to population, to staff); Utilisation by users; Availability (Location); Barriers to access (cultural, language, setting); Opening times; Flexibility; Financing, Contribution (free of charge, benefit entitlement); Co-operation, networking.
The method is taken by inspiration from ”Building Communities from the Inside Out”, by the professors John Kretzman and John McNight at the Northwestern University, Chicago, IIIinois
In the essence of that everyone can contribute to the society and has to be taken in action and be a criteria for building a strong society.
For the local parish, S: t Johannes, Norrköping, Sweden, has a long tradition of cooperation with the surrounding society in fields as schools, health, social care, care of elderly and children. So to take action and be a partner f developing an internal perspective to encouraging individuals in a unattractive area is a challenge in the local society.
Year 2001 Ditt Nya Hageby became an organisation.
The Main Workers are the “Firesouls” – Community Involved Workers, persons living in the housing estate Hageby, supported by the surrounding businesses and activities, which runEvery person has talent, aptitude and capability. Quality of life involves the opportunity of expressing talent, development, ability and making the most of one’s capabilities. With respecting all on equal basis, make the most of human resources and assets available. By doing so strengthen the confidences and identity of the individual so he/she feels a valued member of the community. As a result the individual can contribute by strengthening and developing his/her community”.
Community Involved Workers (CIW) has made a great success strengthening the area by their projects. Such as building a new football ground, youth projects, Internet projects, help with homework for students etc.Around 80 projects are run by 70 CIW:s with co-workers, supported by two employed organizers, 26 persons in the resource pool, the 10 mentors and the members of the organisation.everyone; inhabitants, businesses, public and NGO organisations and visitors e.g.By that we mean that a well being housing estate identify, value and use the competence of the inhabitants and let this be the driving force and make it crucial for the work.
Last year the CIW: s was given a regional marketing award for their efforts. More information can be found on website: http://www.dittnyahageby.nu
Ms Maria Bard, deacon, Parish of St Johannes
+46 11 75 76 83
Mr Bernt Schneider, organizer Ditt Nya Hageby
+46 11 36 44 83
Caritas Bilbao, Spain
Caritas Bilbao runs 120 social centres in Bilbao. Their activities range from immediate poverty relief, child care, counselling of the unemployed, to providing shelter to the homeless and assistance to drug addicts. In order to maximise the impact of their array of activities, Caritas Bilbao created a database in 1999, which records and tracks details of all the people that have sought assistance at any of Caritas Bilbao´s centres.
The database is a constantly updated tool. In four years it has already collected and processed information on 25.000 people in need. Among the information gathered is the visitor’s social dynamics, such as family history and illness, education, employment and financial status, the reasons for each visit and the assistance offered each time. The database has been set up to enhance the functioning of the social workers employed in Bilbao’s various Caritas care centres. Thus, with a click of a button, staff is able to identify individuals and know their past and social dynamics, each time they arrive at their centre.
The database is utilised to evaluate each individual’s current situation and helps to tailor the assistance to each individual's need.
On a wider scale, the database is a useful tool for monitoring the extent and reality of social exclusion in Caritas Bilbao's diocesse. It provides animportant mechanism for flexible policy making with regard to combating social exclusion. It allows Caritas Bilbao to strengthen its advocacy work by being more knowledgeable on the often hidden problems of social exclusion.
Through press releases and annual reports, Caritas Bilbao is able to inform the media and the public of trends and issues in need of urgent attention. At times, the local government seeks assistance from Caritas to learn more about present concerns, for example, if there is a large drug problem in the area. For the future, Caritas Bilbao is planning to publish regular thematic brochures on the most pressing problems in the area.Back to Top
Policy makers and users
Involvement of all levels
Bottom-up strategy by
Access to services is essential to full economic and social participation. There should be no discrimination and obstacles; hindering or impeding full participation in sectors as education, health, housing, culture, and access to rights, vocational training, and employment
Developing a common language of understanding about
Poverty and social exclusion appears not only by the lack of financial resources, housing and services but also the lack of support and connectedness. The fight against social exclusion and the process of social inclusion has a human dimension and needs a long-term strategy.
The City of Cork
The City of Göteborg
Deutscher Caritasverband QUAIQUASI University of Applied Human Sciences/ Social Work, Salzburg
The Parish of St. Johannes
Diakonisches Werk der EKD
Platform of Social NGOs
Treaty Art. 136, 137
The Community and the Member States, having in mind fundamental social rights such as those set out in the European Social Charter signed at Turin on 18 October 1961 and in the 1989 Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, shall have as their objectives the promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions, so as to make possible their harmonisation while the improvement is being maintained, proper social protection, dialogue between management and labour, the development of human resources with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion. ......
Article 137 (*)
1. With a view to achieving the objectives of Article 136, the Community shall support and complement the activities of the Member States in the following fields:
(j) The combating of social exclusion;...
European strategy against social exclusion and all forms of discrimination
20. The European Council approves the objectives of combating poverty and social exclusion adopted by the Council. It invites the Member States to develop their priorities in relation to these objectives, to submit by June 2001 a national action plan covering a two-year period and to define indicators and monitoring mechanisms capable of measuring progress.
Promoting social inclusion
32.The number of people living below the poverty line and in social exclusion in the Union is unacceptable. Steps must be taken to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by setting adequate targets to be agreed by the Council by the end of the year. The High Level Working Party on Social Protection will be involved in this work. The new knowledge-based society offers tremendous potential for reducing social exclusion, both by creating the economic conditions for greater prosperity through higher levels of growth and employment, and by opening up new ways of participating in society. At the same time, it brings a risk of an ever-widening gap between those who have access to the new knowledge, and those who are excluded. To avoid this risk and maximise this new potential, efforts must be made to improve skills, promote wider access to knowledge and opportunity and fight unemployment: the best safeguard against social exclusion is a job. Policies for combating social exclusion should be based on an open method of coordination combining national action plans and a Commission initiative for cooperation in this field to be presented by June 2000.
33.In particular, the European Council invites the Council and the Commission to:
34. Taking account of the present conclusions, the Council will pursue its reflection on the future direction of social policy on the basis of a Commission communication, with a view to reaching agreement on a European Social Agenda at the Nice European Council in December, including the initiatives of the different partners involved.
Modernising social protection, promoting social inclusion
35. A number of priorities have already been identified in this area:
36.Development and systematic monitoring of work on these matters at Community level will be improved by the recent setting up of the Social Protection Committee, regular debate on those issues and by encouraging cooperation between Member States through an open method of coordination combining national action plans with a Community programme to combat social exclusion. On this latter point, the Council is invited to adopt rapidly the Commission's recent proposal for this programme. Appropriate association of the social partners with the ongoing work should also be developed. The conclusions of the Lisbon European Council made a special appeal to companies' corporate sense of social responsibility. The European Council notes with satisfaction the ongoing follow-up to this and welcomes the initiation of the process to establish a network for a European dialogue on encouraging companies' corporate sense of social responsibility. The European Council notes with satisfaction the recent political agreement reached in the Council on a Directive establishing a legal framework for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin.
The European Council stresses the importance of the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Member States are invited to set targets, in their National Action Plans, for significantly reducing the num ber of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2010.
Implementing a new open method of coordination
37. Implementation of the strategic goal will be facilitated by applying a new open method of coordination as the means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals. This method, which is designed to help Member States to progressively develop their own policies, involves:
38. A fully decentralised approach will be applied in line with the principle of subsidiarity in which the Union, the Member States, the regional and local levels, as well as the social partners and civil society, will be actively involved, using variable forms of partnership. A method of benchmarking best practices on managing change will be devised by the European Commission networking with different providers and users, namely the social partners, companies and NGOs.
In it’s Conclusions, the Council (Social, 22.10.1999)
The present proposal for a Council Decision follows up these Council Conclusions in order to set up, as soon as possible, this group of high-level officials. It is suggested to name this group "European Social Protection Committee" (ESPC). This title is to stress the analogue character of this group's work to the co-operation sui generis between the Member States and the European Commission, which existed in the field of employment before the entering into force of the Amsterdam Treaty.
Art. 1, 2
The tasks of the Committee shall be, inter alia,
The Committee may, at the request of the Council or the Commission, prepare other reports or opinions or undertake other work in the area of its competence. Art.2
The Committee shall consist of two representatives appointed by each Member States and two representatives of the Commission. These representatives may be assisted by two alternates.
These are the European indicators
EAPN proposes to develop a non-exhaustive list of specific indicators in five different areas: poverty, employment, education and training, health and housing/accommodation. Some of these indicators are among the structural indicators proposed by the European
Commission; others would need to be developed on the basis of the future European survey on income and living conditions (SILC) to be launched in 2003.
These data should highlight the situation of various types of households (one parent families etc.)
6. Long term unemployment rate (over one year) (F/M) (structural indicator I 5)
7. Very long term unemployment rate (over three years) (F/M)
8. Indicator of precarious unemployment:
- Percentage of workers in stable employment for over six months (M/F)
- Percentage of workforce in non-voluntary part time work (M/F)
9. Early school leavers not in education or training (M/F) (structural indicator IV 6)
10. Young people leaving school without any qualification (M/F)
11. Illiteracy rate (M/F)
12. Number of people who could not have access to health care through lack of means
(financial means or inadequate and inaccessible services) over the past year (M/F)
13. Number of people who have gone without food at some point over the past year (M/F)
14. Number of homeless people (living on the street, with friends or family or in hostels)
15. Number of people living in substandard or overcrowded housing (M/F)
16. Number of people without water or electricity supplies for at least a month (M/F)
Throughout this report the terms poverty and social exclusion refer to when people are prevented from participating fully in economic, social and civil life and/or when their access to income and other resources (personal, family, social and cultural) is so inadequate as to exclude them from enjoying a standard of living and quality of life that is regarded as acceptable by the society in which they live. In such situations people often are unable to fully access their fundamental rights
(Joint report on inclusion, 10.10.2001)
Many factors cause social exclusion but among the most important are unemployment, poor skills, inadequate education and training, a lack of access to knowledge and a lack of opportunity.(Contribution of the European Commission to the Council in Lisbon, 28.2.2000) Social exclusion is a multidimensional phenomenon and indicators must be developed accordingly. Social exclusion is more than low income. It is linked to activity status as well as to a number of indicators which relate to an individual’s means (e.g. educational attainment,ownership of accommodation or car), perceptions (e.g. having difficulties in making endmeet, non-ability to pay for a week’s annual holiday) and satisfaction (e.g. being satisfied with one’s job, education, health, housing and living environment), all of which are key determinants of people’s standard of living and quality of life. Social exclusion and poverty are also a dynamic phenomenon. People’s needs and situation change over time (including as a result of policies). Policies will become more inclusive if they succeed in sustaining social inclusion of people over time. That requires a dynamic understanding of their situation.(Communication from Commission, Building an inclusive Europe, COM(2000)79 final from1.3.2000)
However, social exclusion goes beyond issues of unemployment and access to the labour market. It is evidenced by several types of deprivation and barriers, which alone or together prevent the full participation in areas such as education, health, environment, housing, culture, access to rights or family support, as well as training and job opportunities.Discrimination and xenophobia can exacerbate social exclusion, in particular for immigrants.Social exclusion also raises particular questions in relation to social protection policies –most notably the safety net schemes and their related measures. It calls for attention to education, and training policies, in particular with the view that life long learning is becoming vital if people are to be empowered to act as full members of the knowledge and information
society. Access to and the quality of public and private services are also major issues as well as care services. Fighting against school failure and ensuring access to the technology of the Knowledge Society, and the skills and competence needed to take advantage of it is also essential to ensure that the information age does not actually create new divisions in society but rather promotes inclusion and cohesion.
(Communication from Commission, Building an inclusive Europe, COM(2000)79 final from1.3.2000)
Quality means the totality of characteristics of a product or a service referring to their suitability to serve the defined or expected requirements.Some elements of best practice can begin to be identified on the basis of NAPs/incl. This involves: designing and delivering policies as close to people as possible; ensuring that
services are delivered in an integrated and holistic way; ensuring transparent and accountable decision making; making services more user friendly, responsive and efficient; promoting partnership between different actors; emphasising equality, rights and non discrimination; fostering the participation of those affected by poverty and social exclusion; emphasising the autonomy and empowerment of the users of services; and emphasising a process of continuous improvement and the sustainability of services.(Joint report on inclusion, 10.10.2001)
1. To facilitate participation in employment and access by all to resources, rights,goods and services
1.1. Facilitating participation in employment
In the context of the European employment strategy, and the implementation of the guidelines in particular:
(a) To promote access to stable and quality employment for all women and men who are capable of working, in particular:
– By putting in place, for those in the most vulnerable groups in society, pathways towards employment and by mobilising training policies to that end;
– By developing policies to promote the reconciliation of work and family life, including theissue of child- and dependent care;
– By using the opportunities for integration and employment provided by the social economy.
(b) To prevent the exclusion of people from the world of work by improving employability, through human resource management, organisation of work and life-long learning.
1.2. Facilitating access to resources, rights, goods and services for all
(a) To organise social protection systems in such a way that they help, in particular, to:
– Guarantee that everyone has the resources necessary to live in accordance with human dignity;
– Overcome obstacles to employment by ensuring that the take-up of employment results in increased income and by promoting employability.
(b) To implement policies which aim to provide access for all to decent and sanitary housing, as well as the basic services necessary to live normally having regard to local circumstances (electricity, water, heating etc.).
(c) To put in place policies, which aim to provide access for all to healthcare appropriate to their situation, including situations of dependency.
(d) To develop, for the benefit of people at risk of exclusion, services and accompanying measures which will allow them effective access to education, justice and other public and private services, such as culture, sport and leisure.
2. To prevent the risks of exclusion
(a) To exploit fully the potential of the knowledge-based society and of new information and communication technologies and ensure that no one is excluded, taking particular account of the needs of people with disabilities.
(b) To put in place policies which seek to prevent life crises, which can lead to situations of social exclusion, such as indebtedness, exclusion from school and becoming homeless.
(c) To implement action to preserve family solidarity in all its forms.
3. To help the most vulnerable
(a) To promote the social integration of women and men at risk of facing persistent poverty, for example because they have a disability or belong to a group experiencing particular integration problems.
(b) To move towards the elimination of social exclusion among children and give them every opportunity for social integration.
(c) To develop comprehensive actions in favour of areas marked by exclusion.
These objectives may be pursued by incorporating them in all the other objectives and/or through specific policies or actions.
4. To mobilise all relevant bodies
(a) To promote, according to national practice, the participation and self-expression of people suffering exclusion, in particular in regard to their situation and the policies and measures affecting them.
(b) To mainstream the fight against exclusion into overall policy, in particular:
– By mobilising the public authorities at national, regional and local level, according to their respective areas of competence;
– By developing appropriate coordination procedures and structures;
– By adapting administrative and social services to the needs of people suffering exclusion and ensuring that front-line staff are sensitive to these needs.
(c) To promote dialogue and partnership between all relevant bodies, public and private, for example:
– By involving the social partners, NGOs and social service providers, according to their respective areas of competence, in the fight against the various forms of exclusion;
– By encouraging the social responsibility and active engagement of all citizens in the fight against social exclusion;
– By fostering the social responsibility of business.
Three substantive areas to the common objectives for the second round (2003 – 2005) of National Action Plans should be further highlight their importance:
The first NAPs/inclusion, based on the objectives by the Council Employment and Social Policy on 17.10.2000, are published in the Joint Report on Social Inclusion in December2001:
Eight core challenges stand out from the NAPs/incl:
(Draft joint report on social inclusion, december 2001)
The Social Protection Committee has given practical requirements for the structure of NAPs 2003/2005:
Principles for effective strategy for combating poverty and social exclusion
Values underpinning the strategy:
End of May the Commission has published a communication on „Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy: Streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection“ [COM(2003) 261 final from 27.5.2003]
“This communication sets out concrete proposals with the goal of making the coordination of Member States' policies in the field of social protection more effective, thereby contributing to the necessary modernisation of social protection systems and strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy. The key instrument for this goal is the Open Method of Coordination. While this method is already implemented for some strands of social protection, it needs substantive streamlining and simplification, which include a more clear definition of its scope.Streamlining of policy coordination on social protection should enhance the quality and the coherence of the overall socio-economic governance of the EU. Therefore, it should be undertaken in coherence with the Treaty-based instruments for economic and employment policy coordination in the EU –and thus to provide input for the Annual Spring Report which prepares each Spring European Council. Thus, this communication addresses how the streamlined policy coordination process can complement and add value to existing Treatybasedmethods and coordination processes.” (P.4)
This streamlining approach and the idea of the policy triangle involving the creation of a viruous circle of economic, employment and social protection policies will may lead to strategic changes in policies over the next next years. The development of NAPs/incl. 2005 will not go ahead. The key instrument of the new streamlined process will consist of a Joint Social Protection Report, which will document and assess progress across the full range of common objectives. Starting in 2006 the memberstates will feed into the preparation of this Report by means of a national report setting out the strategy for reaching the common objectives to be agreed earlier in that year.
The SPC recommends that further work be carried out in particular on:
- Identifying further indicators on living conditions, including social participation, recurrent and occasional poverty, access to public and private services, territorial issues and indicators at local level, poverty and work, indebtedness, benefit dependency and family benefits;
Questions in the following section to mark the areas and the further discussion in the project Qu/A/Si can well contribute to their elaboration.
Choice and Openness: Who is actually providing the service and to which extent does this guarantee
The latter can be translated into the question if there are specific, very particular needs and wishes, which are not met otherwise.
Do the values as they underlie the services, match the values of the people concerned and the social system in general? – In actual fact, there might well be a mismatch between the values of the system in general and the values of the people concerned. And if this is the case, this should allow for the question if the values of «the system» are the only relevant ones. The question has to be asked with view on the individual level (religious values etc.) and of the functions of the system, the social fabric itself.
There is not necessarily a fixed standard to determine coherence. What is important in first instance is to differentiate between coherence of certain programmes and measures on the one hand and on the other hand the question how far these meet the coherence of society. What can be seen from both the individual’s perspective and the perspective of the society at large as acceptable pattern of distribution of wealth and participation? Is the individual’s life plan compatible with societal expectations and vice versa?
In political debates it is more and more emphasised that flexibility is a major factor in regard of the integration of people experiencing poverty. In particular with view on labour market integration it is highlighted that flexibility – then labelled as employability and adaptability – are major steps on the way to success, the way out of the poverty trap. However, the requirement of social policy to be flexible is largely forgotten. If it at all, questions in this regard only consider administrative aspects and related issues of accessibility. It is not understood, however, that creative potentials on the side of those
living in poverty are undermined by the inflexibility of social policy. Help to enable people to help themselves cannot be taken as excuse to blame the victims. Are the interests of those experiencing poverty sufficiently respected when it comes to measures of integration? How far is socially meaningfulness a standard that is prioritised compared with standards as employability, adaptability and the like.
What are the actual opportunities for individuals to elaborate their own plan of «integration»? How far is integration ex ante defined by the service offered?
Is the service organised only around the satisfaction of the immediate needs of- the «user» or does it entail the creation of a relationship between «user», «provider» and in particular «social environment». What is of particular interest is the fact that at the intersections between different actors different modes of solidarity can be found.
Are the needs, interests and abilities of the people experiencing poverty and being socially excluded sufficiently respected? How far does the organisation and management of the service provision allow the «user» to develop solutions outside the usual range of the particular services offered? In the view of Armatya Sen poverty is not just an economic condition, characterised by a lack of the basic necessities of life. He
emphasised that poverty is also the absence of capacity or opportunities to change this situation. This can be reformulated into the requirement that organisations that provide services have to be receptive in regard of the «users» demand to change the «offers» of the organisation. Simpler and formulated as question: Is the service a «ready made offer» or a space of negotiation, self-realisation and participation for the user?
Is this service providing a high quality in terms of the above, being available and accessible for all – irrespective of social status, location etc.? Is the service directly linked to social protection and the provision of rights