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  • Wednesday, September 13, 2023 (09:30 - 15:00)
  • Events

UNIC European Conference - Personal budgets: a human rights-based way to fund and organise support

Picture of four piles of coins which grows bigger from left to right. Buds grow from the top of the first three piles, with a hand placing one more coin on the last pile, which is the right.

Join the UNIC project’s final conference in Brussels hosted by EASPD on 13 September.

On 13th September, EASPD will host the UNIC project’s final conference in Brussels entitled 'Personal budgets: a human rights-based way to fund and organise support'.

For the past 3 years, UNIC has aimed to capture the momentum user-centred funding models are gaining around Europe. Since UNIC's conception, project partners have worked to support public authorities in developing, implementing, and evaluating the Personal Budgets system as an example of such models. With this final European conference, UNIC strives to bring together personal budgets holders and their families, public authorities, and service providers to discuss the role and functioning of user-centred funding models and how best to support them.

The UNIC conference will take place in person at the Courtyard by the Marriot Hotel, Avenue des Olympiades 6, Brussels, Belgium on 13 September 2023. The aim of the conference is:

  • to present our 3 years work to support public authorities in developing, implementing, and evaluating a user-centred funding model, such as a personal budgets model;
  • to bring forward people's experiences of user-centred funding models, such as personal budgets holders, their families, public authorities, and service providers;
  • to capture the momentum of user-centred funding models across Europe and promising initiatives from Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom.

10:00 – 10:15


  • James Crowe, EASPD President (Belgium)

  • MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (video message)


10:15 – 10:30

Keynote speech

  • Simon Duffy, Citizen Network (UK)


10:30 – 11:30

People's experiences with personal budgets

  • Fionn and Jonathan Angus, Fionnathan Productions (Ireland)

  • Maggi Woods, Áiseanna Tacaíochta, AT Network (Ireland)

  • Viviane Sorrée, Onafhankelijk Leven (Belgium)

  • John Dalrymple, Radical Visions (Scotland, UK)

Moderation: Magdi Birtha, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (Austria)

11:30 – 12:00

People's experiences with the UNIC toolbox piloting in Flanders

  • Moderation: Dries Bleys, VAPH (Flanders, Belgium)

12:00 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:15

Scaling up personal budgets across Europe: opportunities and challenges in different countries

  • Brian Higgins, Disability and Mental Health Service (Ireland)
  • Jiří Bína, Social Services Department, Region Vysočina (Czech Republic)
  • Lluís Torrens i Mèlich, Secretary of the Department of Social Rights of the Catalan Government (Spain)
  • James McNulty, Unit for Improvement, Scottish
    Government (Scotland, UK)

Moderation: Petra Rantamaki, KVPS (Finland)

14:15 – 15:00

Policy panel: What are the next steps for Personal Budget advocates in the EU? 

  • Susanna Ulinski, European Commission
  • Kurt Asselman, Flemish Ministry of Welfare (Belgium)
  • Teodor Mladenov, European Network of Independent Living and University of Dundee
  • Jiri Horecky, European Ageing Network and APSSCR

Moderation: Karin Astegger, EASPD Vice President, Lebenshilfe (Salzburg, Austria)


Concluding remarks

  • Pep Solé, EASPD Board Member, SUPPORT GIRONA (Catalonia, Spain)