Social services in Europe: Adapting to a new reality
This report addresses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on social services in the EU. While the pandemic negatively affected social services, it nevertheless provided lessons on how to adapt them in response to new challenges and social risks. One lesson, for instance, is that policies should be developed to make better use of digitalisation in the sector, to improve access to new technologies and training for both workers and services’ target groups. And, most importantly, there is a need for clear contingency plans and funding for adaptation in times of crisis.
An increase in public expenditure on social protection, healthcare and education was a critical part of the pandemic response. However, there is uncertainty about the future development of social services in the context of the overarching policy interest and investment in the green and digital transition. This implies that the contribution of social services to the resilience of European societies needs to remain in the policy debate and that policies should be further fine-tuned.
Buitrago, Miguel; Scheuer, Renaud; Corbi, Angela; Kozlowitz, Nina; Bignal, Thomas; Ghilain, Timothy; Leončikas, Tadas (Eurofound).
Eurofound (2023), Social services in Europe: Adapting to a new reality, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.