Next 8-10 July, social services professionals from different countries will meet in Hamburg for the 28th European Social Services Conference (ESSC) to exchange on the latest developments in the field of community care. A strong social services workforce is key to support people to live in their communities. But first of all, what do we mean by ‘social services workforce’? With this term, at ESN we refer to the range of professionals who are involved in the care and support of vulnerable groups of people in their communities. They are responsible for implementing policies and provide all the support needed for people to live independently in their homes and their communities.
Effectively supporting the social services workforce entails putting in place policies and practices that promote effective staff training and orientation, supervision, mentoring and job retention. It also involves supporting professionals to work across different sectors (e.g., health, education, justice, employment) to provide integrated person-centred services.
These questions will be addressed in an exciting debate during plenary session 1 of the ESSC during which three well-known international speakers will share their research and insights on the topic. Shereen Hussein, Professor at the University of Kent in the UK, will introduce the latest research in the field of skills development and job retention of the social services workforce. Gianmario Gazzi, President of the Italian National Council of Social Workers, will provide some insights based on the professional experience of social workers in Italy, bringing some reflections on the need for social workers to work in partnership with all the stakeholders in the community to support the most vulnerable in the community. Finally, Karin Christiansen, Professor at Via University College in Denmark will share her latest findings on how the introduction of technological tools is reshaping roles and responsibilities, and how this transition towards digitalised social services can be achieved in a way that empowers people using services.
There will also be workshops specifically focused on developing skills and methodologies for the workforce in the provision of community care for different population groups, including:
- Measures to upgrade social professions (Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Germany)
- An ethical and personalised approach to social work practice (Social Care Institute for Excellence, United Kingdom)
- Improving outcomes for children in care in France: the role of professionalisation and training for managers and professionals (School for Child Protection, France)
- Family group conferencing: mediated formal meetings between family members and officials such as social workers (Gironde County Council, France)
- Konekti: Better together! (W13, Belgium)
- Addressing the needs of vulnerable families in our communities (Foundation for Social Welfare Services, Malta)
…and do not miss the parallel discussion on ‘Safeguarding’ on July 10!
ESN report – “Investing in the social services workforce”