ISCH COST Action IS1102
Social Services, Welfare State and Places. The restructuring of social services in Europe and its impacts on social and territorial cohesion and governance.
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In the last 20 years social services have experienced significant restructuring throughout Europe, involving cuts in public funding, devolution (from central to local governments), externalisation (from public to private providers). Among the reasons for such changes have been stressed the fiscal crisis of the State (on the supply side) and the need to ensure greater efficiency, wider consumer choice and more democratic governance (on the demand side). Although relevant research is available on such processes, the recent global financial crisis and the awareness that, among services of general interest, social services are a major vehicle of social and territorial cohesion, have brought social services back on the EU agenda. This Action seeks to involve institutions that are already carrying out research on these themes, in different nations, from different disciplinary points of view, and with different emphases, to jointly assess the effects of the restructuring processes, from five points of view: efficiency (cost/quality); democratic governance; social and territorial cohesion; labour; gender. The COST frame will allow existing knowledge to be shared and valorised within a structured comparative framework, with a view to i) disseminate findings at the local and international scale; ii) identify inputs for a European social policy platform.
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