The final day of this year’s European Social Services Conference in Seville will feature four thematic panels discussing key issues in the sector with a wealth of experts from across Europe.

Technology, integrated social services and new forms of evaluation are three of the topics – the other is about listening and learning from service users themselves, in this case young people and children.

This panel – Incorporating the voice of children and young people in social services – is being hosted by conference partner the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS).

The voice of the beneficiary and their experience is key to developing and improving social services delivery. Ahead of the panel, which is on Wednesday 30 May, CELCIS have provided delegates with an insight.


Service user involvement represents a shift in how social services are provided, going from seeing users as beneficiaries to recognising them as experts by experience who should be involved in the development and evaluation of services.

This session will showcase innovative examples of how children and young people are being involved in the planning and evaluation of social services with contributions from Scotland, Malta, and France. They will present and discuss how staff and working methods have adapted to include the voices of young people and children in their services, and the difference that has made for children and for organisations.


This parallel panel discussion will be hosted by Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director, Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures and the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children in Scotland (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. CELCIS is a member of ESN.

‘Inspiring Children’s Futures’ is a joint venture within the University of Strathclyde, between the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ), the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children (CELCIS) and the wider research community, with a collective vision of ensuring that children and young people have what they need to reach their full potential, particularly those who face adversity.

CELCIS is committed to making positive and lasting improvements in the wellbeing of Scotland’s children living in and on the edges of care. Ours is a truly collaborative agenda; we work alongside partners, professionals and systems with responsibility for nurturing our vulnerable children and families. Together we work to understand the issues, build on existing strengths, introduce best possible practice and develop solutions. What’s more, to achieve effective, enduring and positive change across the board, we take an innovative, evidence-based improvement approach.

Our panellists will present their case studies on programmes and initiatives before an interactive debate on the topic. The presentations have been specifically ordered so that the importance of the voices of children and young people in social services is heard, before, exploring how this is applied in preventative, community work, then within residential care. The presentation will then consider how young people can influence and lead how this work is quality assured and improved.


CELCIS, Scotland. The Voices of Children and Young People in Social Services; Paul Sullivan, Stakeholder Engagement Lead, CELCIS, alongside a young person with care experience.

Agenzija Appogg, Malta. Taking a Community Development Approach to Safeguarding Children; Catherine Fleri Soler, Services Manager.

Observatoire national de la protection de l’enfance (ONPE) National Observatory for the protection of children, France. Collective participation of children in care: a space for learning; Flora Bolter, Researcher at ONPE and Léo Mathey, Development and Projects Officer at Grancher Foundation

Care Inspectorate, Scotland. Young inspectors and a new national programme of joint inspections; Karen McCormack, Strategic inspector and Melissa Young, young inspection volunteer.


Delegates interested in attending the panel discussions must register their attendance prior to the start of the conference.