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. Interim Director is Ricardo Rodrigues.


New publication: Quality in the "24-hour care sector"

Publication: 24h Service

More than 50,000 people work as so-called "24-hour carers" in private households in Austria. Mostly understood as a cost-efficient alternative to formal care services, and misleadingly regarded as a 24-hour service, the political and social context in which this form of care to older people takes place is often neglected. In an article (in German) for the journal "Soziale Sicherheit" the pros and cons of this arrangement with respect to quality assurance in the Austrian long-term care sector are discussed by Andrea E. Schmidt and Kai Leichsenring.

New Eurofound report: Families in the economic crisis - Changes in policy measures in the EU


The report describes the experiences of families in the aftermath of the crisis up to present and analyzes how welfare states responded to it. Key findings suggest a shift from universal support measures for families to means tested benefits in many countries. It furthermore shows that especially countries with limiting family policy regimes often face difficulties to sustain support for families and to fund pre-crisis services and measures on the local and national level. Katrin Gasior contributed to the analysis on profiles of disadvantaged families in the EU. More on the project and the full report can be found here.

Evidence in focus: Measuring Active Ageing

The European Commission's latest issue of the "Evidence in focus" series features the Active Ageing Index. The Active Ageing Index measures the untapped potential of older people for active and healthy ageing across EU Member States. It offers a tool to policy-makers and stakeholders to compare the situation in different countries and to disentangle the effects of different dimensions as well as single indicators on the overall composite result. Together with Asghar Zaidi, the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research was responsible for the methodological and analytical work of the index. More information here. For further questions please contact: aai@euro.centre.org.

Präsentation der Studie "Gute Pflege aus Sicht der Beschäftigten"


Die aktuelle Studie des Europäischen Zentrums für Wohlfahrtspolitik und Sozialforschung im Auftrag der AK Wien wurde am 21. Januar 2016 offiziell präsentiert. Die Veranstaltung war ein Diskussionsforum in Richtung zukünftiger Gestaltungspotenziale zur Realisierung „Guter Pflege“, unter anderem durch die Orientierung an innovativen Organisationsformen in den Niederlanden, die von Jos de Blok ('Buurtzorg') vorgestellt wurden. Den Abschlussbericht der Studie finden Sie hier.
Presentation of the study "Good Care from care workers' perspectives"
The latest study of the European Centre was officially launched on 21 January 2016 at an event hosted by the Vienna Chamber of Labour. Kai Leichsenring presented the main findings of the study, paving the way for a discussion of the current situation and potential future developments. A presentation by Jos de Blok, founder of the innovative care provider 'Buurtzorg' from NL, followed. The German report of the study is available here.

From care in homes to care at home: European experiences with (de)institutionalisation in long-term care

The December Policy Brief, by Stefania Ilinca, Kai Leichsenring and Ricardo Rodrigues, focuses on identifying a series of core principles for deinstitutionalisation in long-term care, by analysing European experiences in different care regimes. Four case studies are used to exemplify: Austria, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic. Drawing on an analysis of the complexities and challenges involved in maintaining a sustainable balance between different care settings the Policy Brief synthesizes the dos and don'ts of deinstitutionalisation. The necessity to support the development of alternatives to residential care both in the family and in the community and the need to integrate and coordinate across settings, emerge as key drivers. The full text is available here.

New report released: The Dilemma of Integrated Care, Choice and Competition

This study, commissioned by the Swedish Ministry for Health and Social Affairs, investigated on the apparent conflict between two concepts that aim to improve outcomes for users in long-term care: Are market-oriented governance mechanisms that underline choice for users and competition between providers compatible with efforts to integrate health and social care that call for cooperation and guidance? Different coping strategies of integrated care initiatives in competitive environments were analysed in a comparative perspective, based on a literature review and empirical fieldwork in selected municipalities in Sweden and Germany. The report offers many salient lessons and recommendations for policy-makers interested in public governance and reforms in health and long-term care. Read more
Contact: Kai Leichsenring, Ricardo Rodrigues

Pre-Conference Workshop: Long-term Care in Austria between Quality Management and Financing

Public policy-makers often struggle with keeping a balance between high-quality care and containing costs in long-term care for older people, especially with a view to rising care needs in the population. As a member of the Working Group on Long-term Care (AG Pflege) within the Austrian Health Economics Association (ATHEA) the European Centre is co-organising a Workshop for practitioners, policy-makers and researchers in Austria interested in long-term care economics on 25 February 2016, ahead of the 2nd ATHEA Conference. Key note speakers include Ricardo Rodrigues, providing a European view on financing schemes for long-term care systems, and Kai Leichsenring, who shares his expert knowledge on quality management in the long-term care sector from the perspective of (formal and informal) caregivers. More information here

International Seminar Series: Improving and measuring dementia care in OECD countries - Francesca Colombo (OECD)

Dementia prevalence increases dramatically with age, so increasing life expectancies have made dementia a key issue for health policy in OECD countries. In her presentation, Mrs. Colombo will start by outlining what we know about how well health and care systems currently serve people with dementia, and which strategies seem to be the most effective in improving this. Drawing on the 2015 publication Addressing Dementia: the OECD Response, she will identify ten key objectives that all countries should consider and look at some of the policies that can help to achieve these aims. Looking forward, she will explore some of the areas where it might be possible to develop indicators of the quality of dementia care, what they might tell us, and the challenges that we will face. More information and a registration form to the seminar are available here.

New Project: Non-Take Up of Minimum Income Benefit in Austria

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In 2016/17 the European Centre will carry out a project on the non-take up of minimum income benefit in Austria funded by the Anniversary Fund of the Austrian National Bank. For the analysis, we will use the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD/SORESI. It will be the first analysis of such kind for the minimum income benefit. The results will also be compared with a former analysis of the non-take up of monetary social assistance, which was replaced by the minimum income benefit in 2010/11.

Evaluation of the effects of deinstitutionalisation in the social protection system in the Republic of Serbia

Kai Leichsenring and Eszter Zolyomi participated in the International Conference "Evaluation of the effects of deinstitutionalisation in the social protection system in the Republic of Serbia" on December 17th 2015, in Belgrade. The conference was the final activity of the SAVE project, supported by the PROGRESS Programme and had the goal of informing policy-makers and practitioners on the results of research activities carried out over the last 2 years. In their presentation, the European Centre experts discussed experiences with deinstitutionalisation in EU countries, presented good practice examples and contributed to the definition of recommendations for further improvement of the deinstitutionalisation process in Serbia.

Families and family policy in times of crisis

A new Eurofound study shows how the situation of families with children has changed during the crisis years and how politicians responded to it. Together with Sonja Blum (ÖIF), Katrin Gasior presents a first teaser of the results for Austria. Although the overall situation of families in Austria has remained relatively stable, low work intensity leads to higher insecurity, especially in lone-parent or large-family households. Against this background, seemingly small financial support or benefits in kind may help to improve the situation of vulnerable families (e.g. free transportation of pupils). Read more: Policy Brief, Project

New project: Gender and Social Class Inequalities in Active Ageing


As active ageing crucially depends on the availability of opportunities and resources throughout the life course, some population groups face higher barriers than others in its achievement. The project aims to take a critical look at existing evaluations of active ageing policies and extend them with a view to gender and social class differences, a perspective largely neglected in the EU’s policy discourse on active ageing to date. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the European Centre team will propose an extended framework for the analysis of active ageing policies and will formulate policy recommendations for addressing inequalities in active ageing for present and future cohorts of older people. More information is available here.

European Quality of Life Survey

Katharine Schulmann participated in two expert workshops held at Eurofound's offices in Dublin in November, in preparation for the roll-out of the 4th wave of the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS). The workshops, two in a series, were convened to gather insight from specialists conducting research in areas related to the various modules of the EQLS, in this case: Participation in Society and ICT, and Work-life Balance and Care Responsibilities. The EQLS is a pan-European survey developed by Eurofound and dedicated to gathering information on Europeans' quality of life, with modules covering health and well-being, employment, income, work-life balance, and housing, among others.

New publication: The amazing rise of Buurtzorg and what we can learn for home care reforms

Buurtzorg (Care in the neighbourhood), a most innovative model that has revolutionised the organisation of home care in the Netherlands, was presented to the German-speaking public by Kai Leichsenring in an article published in "ProCare" (Vol. 20, No. 8), a journal providing information for health care workers in German-speaking countries. Contact and further information: Kai Leichsenring

Integrating services - A long-standing research focus of the European Centre is gaining grounds across Europe

A wide range of initiatives across Europe are currently emphasising the need for more integrated service delivery, an issue that has shaped the activities of the Health & Care Unit at the European Centre over the past decades. The European Social Network (ESN) promoted issues about service integration during a workshop in Manchester (UK), where Kai Leichsenring gave an input with a view on "Integrating health and social care services to provide long-term care" (5-6 November 2015). Contact and further information: Kai Leichsenring

Contributing ideas for good strategies to develop long-term care

Many European countries, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, are preparing strategies to enhance their policies to develop the delivery of long-term care. Kai Leichsenring contributed conceptual considerations, examples of good practice and policy recommendations to policy-makers and other stakeholders in Bratislava in the framework of a Policy Dialogue organised by the WHO Country Office Slovakia on 4 November 2015. In the context of similar endeavours to reform long-term care policies in Slovenia, Kai Leichsenring provided an overview of current trends and potentials for mutual learning in a Policy Workshop on long-term care, organised by the Ministry of Health, WHO Europe and the European Observatory for Health Systems and Policies in Ljubljana (25 November 2015). Contact and further information: Kai Leichsenring