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 of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (OSB)

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Ricardo Rodrigues is one of the co-authors (together with Stephanie Kumpunen and Lisa Trigg, of the LSE) of the newly published OSB Policy Brief, which reviews the literature on the measurement and reporting of quality information to aid the public in choosing health and long-term care providers, provide insights to support future investment in public reporting systems, and summarize strategies aiming to increase the use of reporting by patients and users. This Policy Brief was published as part of a European Commission Seventh Framework Programme project, the European Union Cross-Border Care Collaboration (EUCBCC), in which the European Centre was a partner. The Policy Brief can be accessed here.

New project started: SAVE

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The European Centre's new project with funding from DG Employment, SAVE (Social Protection Assessment for Values and Effectiveness), is the first project in the Serbian framework of PROGRESS that deals with the cost-effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the social welfare system. The Centre's first stage of involvement with its Serbian partners has kicked off with a one-week study visit by Pieter Vanhuysse and Stefania Ilinca to visit diverse institutions and experts in Serbia to analyse the structure of care delivery and the progress in deinstitutionalization. For more information contact: Pieter Vanhuysse

New Project: Scoping study on communication for successful cross-border public health information campaigns

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The European Centre is part of a consortium that has been selected by DG SANCO to carry out a Scoping study on communication to address and prevent chronic diseases. The consortium is lead by ICF GHK and aims to provide an overview of the key issues on communication to address and prevent chronic disease; identify the differences in communicating about the major risk factors; and identify the characteristics of existing good practice. The focus of the study is on cross-border public health information campaigns regarding the most important risk factors for chronic conditions: tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diet. The study will be completed in the first half of 2015. Contact: Ricardo Rodrigues

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.

International Seminar Carsten Jensen: Cognitive Bias and the Politics of Health Care

Carsten Jensen (University of Aarhus) gave a seminar on patterns of employment in social services and the public sector in different EU Member States. He argued that citizens’ social policy opinions are strongly influenced by a simple heuristic: Are the recipients of social benefits deserving or not? There is strong evidence that the deservingness heuristic does not treat all social benefits alike, but especially tags recipients of health care benefits as deserving. This effect produces broad-based support among the public for health care – across levels of self-interest, media frames, ideological divides, and national cultures. Read more

Ireland is preparing for a now rapidly ageing society

NHI

Demographically speaking, Ireland is currently in a position which could still be called a ‘window of opportunity’ to pro-actively plan for a now rapidly ageing society. Whilst many European countries have tried to use their ‘window of opportunity’ during the 1990s (but many did not), Ireland could learn a lot from success, but also from failure. Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) is therefore promoting a public debate to decide how to plan and implement the ‘right’ care to individuals at the right time and at the right place, and how to secure resources for long-term care in a fair society. At the NHI Annual Conference Kai Leichsenring gave a keynote speech about challenges, experiences and innovations in long-term care in Europe. His talk was also featured in the NHI News.

Article in Literarni Noviny: 25 years of Czech welfare

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Pieter Vanhuysse, contributed an article on twenty-five years of Czech welfare state development, 'Past successes, but trouble ahead', to the Czech news and arts weekly magazine Literární Noviny, in its special section on 25 years of Czech capitalism, reflecting on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Keynote at International Social Security Association research conference

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Pieter Vanhuysse gave a keynote address in Jerusalem at the International Research Conference 2014 of the International Social Security Association. Entitled 'Ensuring adequate and sustainable social security', the conference included presentations by Eldar Shafir (Princeton), David Gottlieb (National Insurance Institute, Israel), Hans-Horst Konkolewsky (ISSA Secretary General) and Errol Frank Stoové (ISSA President)

Original guidance on continence care for people with dementia living at home

Dementia and incontinence are among the key factors driving older people to move to a nursing home, but an increasing number of people with these symptoms – often not even diagnosed – are cared for at home. On 22 October Alzheimer Europe released a guideline for improving continence care for people with dementia living at home. This report closed an important gap as no such guidance had existed hitherto for the different stakeholders involved in this area of long-term care. Kai Leichsenring was among the experts who contributed to this original work that was compiled by Dianne Gove (Alzheimer Europe) in collaboration with experts in the fields of dementia, continence, general practice, psychology and policy development, as well as informal carers and people with dementia.

Palliative care to improve quality of life

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The 2014 EU Declaration on Palliative Care was presented at the final conference of two EU FP7 Projects (impact and EURO-impact) on 15 October in Brussels. Kai Leichsenring participated in a panel discussion to highlight palliative care as an important component in constructing integrated long-term care systems across Europe. The Declaration promotes among other issues a paradigm shift in health and social care towards basic palliative care skills for all health care professionals and the establishment of mechanisms to continuously monitor and improve quality of and access to palliative care.

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.

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.

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

Symposium

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.

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