Welcome to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

The European Centre is a UN-affiliated intergovernmental organization concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy and research. Executive Director is Prof. Dr. Bernd Marin.

News

New Policy Brief: To Make or to Buy Long-term Care? Part II: Lessons from Quasi-markets in Europe

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This Policy Brief reviews evidence on the experiences of four selected countries in the introduction of quasi-markets. By tracking countries’ individual pathways we show how choice and competition were regulated by means of contracts, competitive tendering and purchaser-provider split in certain care sectors. The Policy Brief provides lessons for policy-makers on the impact of the ‘make or buy’ decision on outcomes for users, on quality of care, and on the organisation of care markets and reveals lessons on benefits and unresolved tensions of mixed care economies. This Policy Brief is the second part of a trilogy dedicated to the reliance on markets for the delivery of long-term care. The first Policy Brief appeared in August, the third will follow in November. Read more

Article in Social Policy & Administration: Choice, Competition and Care – Developments in English Social Care and the Impacts on Providers and Older Users of Home Care Services

Long-term care has undergone a series of transformations in England since the early 1990s with an increased reliance on market mechanisms, underpinned by discourses of user choice. More recently, care markets have undergone further reforms through the introduction of direct payments and personal budgets. Drawing on evidence from two recent empirical studies, Ricardo Rodrigues and Caroline Glendinning describe how the new emphasis on choice and competition is being operationalized within six local care markets in England. The article presents early evidence on changes in the commissioning and contracting of home care services; and the experiences and outcomes for individual older people using home care services. The article can be accessed via early view here.

New Project: What is “Good Care” from a Care Worker’s Perspective?

AK Wien

The Chamber of Labour for Vienna has commissioned the European Centre to undertake an explorative study about how the various categories of professional care workers perceive quality of care. Qualitative interviews and focus groups will be carried out to elaborate on an inventory of key issues to define structures, processes and results in the context of professionals’ current working conditions in long-term care. The empirical results of this study (Summer 2015) will underpin the ongoing debates about reforms in vocational education and practice with tangible recommendations for improvement. Contact: Kai Leichsenring

Spanish and Portuguese working papers at the Inter-American Conference on Social Security

CISS

Pieter Vanhuysse's European Social Observatory essay on intergenerational justice in Europe has been translated into Spanish and into Portuguese, for publication in the Working Paper Series of the Inter-American Conference on Social Security (CISS) in Mexico City. The CISS groups social security organizations from Canada, the USA, and most countries in Central and Latin America.

Electronic discharge summaries in cross-border care in the European Union: How close are we to making it happen?

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Cross-border care in the European Union still faces various challenges, in particular when it comes to communication and transfer of information between care providers in different Member States. The European Union currently aims to improve care coordination and to ensure seamless care across borders via electronic discharge summaries (Directive 2011/24/EU). This article explores the extent to which European Union level policy and practice on electronic health records address issues pertinent to the development and implementation of electronic discharge summaries for patients treated outside their own country. The research for this article that was co-authored by Juliane Winkelmann under the lead of Nora Döring was conducted in the context of the FP7 project 'Evaluating Care Across Borders' (ECAB). You can download the article here.

International Seminar Tomas Sirovatka: Innovation in Social Services

on October 9th, Professor Tomas Sirovatka (Masaryk University Brno) gave an international seminar on patterns of employment in social services and the public sector in different EU member states. He showed how EU countries pursue their fiscal policies in social services, how they develop modes of governance and the change in the public/private mix in social services, and what new patterns of employment in social services are seen in recent years. He showed a variety in social service development and employment patterns, with two contrasting scenarios: ‘the low road’ and ‘the high road’, both very much influenced by political choice.

Media coverage symposium „The Future of Welfare in a Global Europe“ Sept 12-Oct 10, 2014

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In response to the European Centre's Symposium, held in the Austrian Academy of Sciences on September 12, a great media echo was received. For the full media coverage, click here.

Conference “From an Ageing Society to a Society for All Ages in Russia”

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Life expectancy has increased to over 70 years also in Russia, in particular for women. The challenges of the ageing Russian society reach from combating ageism to the expansion of long-term care services. First steps are currently debated, including the development of a market of social services and an ‘ageing strategy’. A recent conference, organised by the Timchenko Foundation, served to discuss the issues at stake with 400 participants representing various stakeholders. Kai Leichsenring presented social innovations to support quality of life and a preventative approach in the area of long-term care.

Working towards a more inclusive Europe -How health and long-term care systems are coping with the impact of the crisis

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The financial crisis has put many European countries under great economic, political, and social pressure to reform their labour markets and welfare systems. Budget cuts and subsequent cost-saving measures, including the re-definition of benefits and the establishment of new funding schemes, have strongly affected the health and social care sectors. Juliane Winkelmann and Katharine Schulmann presented findings from two studies; the first on the introduction of New Public Management in European long-term care systems, and the second on the impact of the crisis on access to healthcare in Europe, respectively, as part of the conference ‘Towards Inclusive Employment and Welfare Systems: Challenges for a Social Europe’ on 9-10 October in Berlin.

FORMAT interview Kohli/Vanhuysse: older and younger generations in Europe

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In its series around the future of the welfare state and the Centre's 40th anniversary symposium, the news weekly FORMAT has published a double interview between Martin Kohli (EUI Florence em.) and Pieter Vanhuysse (European Centre Vienna) on public policies for improving the relative welfare of older and younger generations in Europe today. For more on this topic, click here.

Expert Workshop with the Swedish Social Ministry

Swedish Social Ministry

On September 24th, the European Centre hosted a delegation of experts from the Swedish Social Ministry for a workshop on our social policy research. European Centre researchers presented on human capital policies (Pieter Vanhuysse), poverty in Europe (Orsolya Lelkes) and ICT innovations in long term care (Katharina Schulmann)

"Damit der Sozialstaat Zukunft Hat": Der Standard on the Centre's Symposium

The Austrian quality daily newspaper Der Standard has published an article summarizing some of the main messages of the European Centre's 40th anniversary Symposium on the future of welfare in a global Europe.

New Policy Brief: To Make or to Buy Long-term Care? Part I: Learning from Theory

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This Policy Brief reviews some of the theoretical insights offered by economic theory (e.g. transaction costs) and other fields of social sciences (e.g. psychology, disability rights) regarding the make or buy decision as applied to long-term care. The theories reviewed here provide useful guidelines to policy-makers about how best to use market mechanisms to deliver long-term care, but also on the limits of the use of markets in the context of care for older people. While the decision whether to make or buy long-term care is arguably best answered empirically, considering insights from different strands of theory could help prevent adverse outcomes when setting up care markets. This Policy Brief is a first part of a trilogy dedicated to the reliance on markets for the delivery of long-term care. Two other Policy Briefs will follow in October and November. Read more

New book: Welfare in an Idle Society

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A Primer on Re-Designing Social Security to Cope with Global Ageing and 21st Century Pension Future: Austria as a Case in Point.
„With his Welfare in an Idle Society? Bernd Marin has set a ‘gold standard’. Congratulations! Nobody who will give new thoughts to re-designing Social Security can go past this encyclopaedic opus.“ Bert Rürup For more information see the book's website