COST Action IS1102
SO.S. COHESION - Social services, welfare state and places
The restructuring of social services in Europe and its impact on social and territorial cohesion and governance
In the last 20 years social services have experienced significant restructuring throughout Europe, involving cuts in public funding, devolution (from central to local governments), and 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 has involved institutions that were already carrying out research on these themes, in different nations, from different disciplinary points of view, and with different emphases, with a view to jointly assess the effects of the restructuring processes, from 5 perspectives:
- efficiency (cost/quality)
- democratic governance
- social and territorial cohesion
The COST Action provided a structured comparative framework to share and valorise existing knowledge with a view to:
- disseminating findings at the local and international scale
- identifying inputs for a European social policy platform.