Rethinking Recovery : Reshaping Social Services with New Tools

For frontline social services professionals, Covid-19 has brought incredible disruption. At ESN we have been documenting the challenges that social services working with children and families, youth, people with disabilities, the homeless and older people have faced since March 2020, as well as how heroically they jumped into action to care for those in need.

However, Covid-19 has also led to several transformative changes which have been spoken about for years. Quoting Rahm Emanuel “never want a serious crisis to go to waste”, it became necessary to implement new and innovative, digital, agile, and remote ways of working; the crisis was the impetus to fast-forward turning these discussions into action.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further encouraged social services authorities to explore innovation with the third and private sectors as well as digitalisation and its benefits, whether back-end improvements, predictive analytics, demand forecasting and remote monitoring. Many public authorities are looking further at partnerships, the integration of health and social care, advance case management that provides for the opportunity to develop new and integrated services across sectors, amongst many other examples of innovation.

In the framework of our working groups on digitalisation and European funds, we have been discussing a series of proposals for reform to transform social services into modern and resilient services for a recovery that works for all and leaves no-one behind with ESN members working in social welfare services across Europe and beyond

The European Union’s financial budget for 2021-2027 and national funds for resilience and recovery are a fantastic opportunity to invest in the transformation of social services, through new methods of working and digital systems. With their focus on innovative transformation and on digital transition, this is a chance for social services to invest in their modernisation and reform.