Social Services have become an increasingly important and complex economic and social reality and now cover many different sectors. Social Services employers are uniquely identified with their objective to provide social services of general interest. As such they can better address their complex reality by negotiating at the highest level of collective bargaining at cross-industry level, not being resumed to one or several sectors.

To address this issue, CEEP, together with its partners UDES, UNISOC, ALAL, HOSPEEM and with the support of STRATOSZ, the Romanian Ministry of Public Consultation and Social Dialogue, and thanks to the financial support of the European Commission’s DG Employment, started a project in 2017 named “Social services in European cross-industry Social dialogue: towards a strong and deeper involvement”. This project, concluded in December 2019, built on previous efforts undertaken by CEEP to foster a European network of social services employers. The intention was therefore to address countries not covered in the previous study. Consequently, CEEP focused its work on the following 6 Countries that were not explored in the 2014 project: Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Cyprus, Romania. Other countries already covered in previous CEEP researches were called-upon during the national seminars and for further expertise, as one of the final objectives was to create lasting connections between national organisations facing similar challenges. CEEP intended to work particularly on the identification and capacity building of Social Services employers representatives in several Member states not previously covered.

This capacity building exercise was enshrined in the 2015-2017 Work programme of the European Social partners’, Title 8 on “Committing to promote capacity building and better implementation outcomes” which plays a central role for further supporting strong, independent and representative social partner’s organisations. CEEP also intended, through this project, to prolong the commitment taken in the tripartite statement signed on the 27 June 2016.

This project, aimed at ensuring a better representation of social services employers in the cross-industry social dialogue, was also meant to reinforce the shared commitment to improving the framework conditions, the effectiveness and the quality of social dialogue at all levels. The project delivered the following outcomes:

  • a database of providers of social services, main players in social dialogue and social dialogue structures;
  • a survey of social services providers focusing on individual perceptions of the main challenges, financing, employment and the role of social dialogue;
  • a final report analysing the structure of service provision and players in social dialogue in 6 EU Member States, covering the most important trends, developments and outcomes from both the survey research and the project activities.

The final report, together with a short political report, translated in 5 languages (FR, BG, RO, LT, HU), were disseminated in a final dissemination conference held in Brussels on the 21 November 2019 to give an overview of the findings of the project research.

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