In June 2015, the International Monetary Fund issued a Staff Discussion Note named: “Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global perspective”. Whilst at first sight it may appear as not particularly linked to support services for persons with disabilities due to its focus on income inequality, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities nonetheless believes that it leads to interesting conclusions for our sector, for instance that current EU fiscal and economic policies are failing to address the importance of investing in the human capital and skills of many Europeans.
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On the 15th June 2015, in the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, policy makers and experts will come together in Riga to discuss de-institutionalisation (DI). In view of this timely event, the European Expert Group wishes to reiterate the importance of promoting DI in all European policies and financial instruments.
During the 8th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN CRPD in New York, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) organised a side event in cooperation with the European Commission. Debating on co-production, participants agreed that cooperation across sectors is essential to apply values such as freedom, choice and control of life and stressed that society needs to prepare for the fundamental change.
EASPD urges the European Union to self-evaluate how co-production is reflected in existing legal frameworks
Commitment, structural collaboration, mutual respect, willingness to make progress, better choice, autonomy and advocacy. All these elements are essential to comply with the principles set forth in the UN Convention and to implement co-production, which is an inclusive working practice between experts by experience (users) and organisations being of support. EASPD organised a Hearing in the European Parliament with key stakeholders to exchange the best way to develop co-production processes in Europe and warned that the existing EU and national legal frameworks do not always follow the realities and needs on the ground.
“Much more needs to be done to combat the unacceptably low levels of people with disabilities in our workforce”. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen addressed this message to the audience during the 2015 EASPD annual conference on Employment in Zadar (Croatia). The conference focused on the implementation of article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities whilst showcasing best practices of inclusive employment and employment support from across Europe.
The secret has been revealed in Zadar during the EASPD conference “Persons with Disabilities in Employment: Inclusion through Jobs - Making it Real”. The winners of the 2015 Emloyment for All awards are Elite Supported Employment Agency, Ltd (United Kingdom) as a best practice on providing support services in employment for persons with intellectual disabilities and La Fageda Fundació (Spain) for their work in facilitating quality job opportunities for individuals with mental disabilities.
Self-Advocates, inclusive development experts, and European policy makers convened at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 20 April to present and discuss the self-advocates manifesto for accessible development education and how to make development more inclusive.
The European Commission (EC) has recently launched a public consultation asking for recommendations to tackle long-term unemployment in Europe. In view of contributing as early as possible into the EC's work, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has developed a position paper presenting the key factors needed for support services to effectively contribute to tackling long-term unemployment in Europe; not only of persons with disabilities, but all disadvantaged groups. EASPD calls on the EC to implement measures which provide a win-win situation for both the employee and employer and recommends the “STAR” holistic approach.
Social service providers and policy makers convened at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 26 March to work together on how to put social investment back on the European Commission’s agenda. The breakfast session was organised by Social Services Europe, which brings together eight Europe-wide networks of not-for-profit social service providers. Through its membership, Social Services Europe represents over 100,000 organisations throughout Europe.
EASPD has sent a report to the United Nations (UN) compiling the views of service providers for persons with disabilities on the progress made towards ensuring compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the European Union (EU). The report stresses the European Disability Strategy’s lack of recognition of the role played by support services, whilst calling on the EU to adopt a “social investment approach”, overhauling its perception of services as a “cost”.