• “Successful innovation involves working creatively and caringly to improve lives through user-centred approaches”.

    John Halloran CEO of the European Social Network
  • “The opportunity for the digital revolution in social services is about transforming social policy, not just service delivery”.

    Brian Lee Archer Director, SAP Institute for Digital Government, Australia
  • “Cities and governments need to create new opportunities and the only way to do that is stimulate innovation”.

    Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • “Integration, through devolution, is what drives local innovation…our ultimate goal is user-centred innovation that engages citizens and enables communities to flourish”.

    Janet Menard Deputy Minister of Community and Social Services, Ontario, Canada
  • “In order to gain real innovation you need to start outside… from the stories of people. Focus on new interactions. Stories can help people to be empowered”.

    Chris Sigaloff Director of Kennisland, The Netherlands


Building on the key messages from the 2017 conference, the 26th European Social Services Conference (ESSC) will explore how we can improve services by empowering the people and communities which are at the heart of social welfare.

Last year’s conference showcased a growing appetite to introduce new innovations and welfare technology in service planning and delivery. It showed how the empowerment of service users and innovative approaches such as co-production are transforming the way services are provided across Europe. It also demonstrated how public services across Europe are active in incorporating and developing new technology to respond to increasing needs.

As we look forward, it is important to use these new initiatives to invest wisely in building a sustainable welfare ecosystem that empowers people and their communities in the longer term.

With this in mind, the 26th ESSC will explore the following questions:

  • How can we use public budgets, tools and human capital more efficiently?
  • How do we best invest in the empowerment of service users in the longer term?
  • How do we best develop a professionally trained, agile and supported workforce equipped for future social needs?
  • And how do we work better in partnerships and across sectors to design services that promote economic and social investment?

Building on the 2017 edition, the conference will inspire, empower and equip all those who share a commitment for a social Europe to invest smartly in our future – one that is people-centred, fully inclusive and sustainable.

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