Evidence has been increasingly emphasised as key in the modernisation of social welfare in an accountable and cost-effective manner. At EU level, the European Commission has acknowledged the potential of research for evaluating practices in the social field. In 2014, the European Social Network (ESN) launched a Panel on Applied Evidence in Social Services.
The first meeting brought together applied researchers from various ESN member organisations. On the basis of two case studies from Denmark and the Netherlands, experts looked at the concepts of evidence and impact, how to apply evidence in public social work and how to use it to inform policy and decision-making. A paper based on the outcomes of this meeting was published in April.
ESN is now working with Professor Ann Buchanan, Department of Social Policy and Intervention of the University of Oxford, to gather a comprehensive collection and analysis of existing European and national evidence-based social work databases. Based on this analysis, a suggestion for a common framework/guideline to assess social services interventions will be developed.
Next steps and call for expression of interest from practitioners/directors
The next meeting will take the form of a forum between applied researchers and senior practitioners/directors of social services and will take place in London on 9 October 2015.
At the meeting, practitioners and applied researchers will have the opportunity to discuss the main elements and usefulness of social work databases and evaluation frameworks, and will review the suggested framework/guideline to assess social services interventions from a practical and scientific perspective.
The forum will be very practical with focus groups consisting of applied researchers and practitioners and led by an applied researcher. There are only 10 funded places available for ESN members, who are senior practitioners or directors. The representative selected by your organisation should have knowledge across different target groups and possibly experience related to the evaluation of social services.
If you would like to participate on behalf of practitioners/directors, please send me an email describing your role and experience in evaluating social services in 6-8 lines by July 23rd.Places will be allocated on the basis of relevant expertise and geographical representation.
For more information on ESN's work on Evidence and Innovation, please consult our dedicated webpage.
Please note that this communication is now going out to all individuals in your ESN member organisations. In order to avoid multiple applications from one ESN member organisation, please get in contact with your ESN main representative in your organisation that can be found in this directory.