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Innovative responses to the social impact of the crisis

Innovative responses to the social impact of the crisis

A ministerial conference of the Polish Presidency, to be held in Wrocław (Poland) on 26 September 2011, will discuss responses to the social impact of the crisis and how to intensify the support to innovation within social policies.

Ten social experiments implemented in Member States will be presented by their practicioners and evaluators. These projects cover the fields of education, employment, homelessness, minimum income benefit and youth policy.

The economic crisis has put social protection systems under strong strains across Europe. On the one hand it has considerably increased the need and the demand for social interventions (unemployment benefits, social housing, social services and social assistance in general). On the other hand, it has exacerbated the need for fiscal discipline and sustainability.

The ongoing debate on social policies after the crisis and the Europe 2020 strategy have highlighted a number of urgencies, in particular the need:

  • to explore innovative approaches to address current and emerging social challenges (involving new actors, defining renewed content, changing delivering mechanisms);
  • to improve the cost-effectiveness of the employment and social policies;
  • to make better use of evaluation for policy-making.

The conference will:

  • discuss the impact of the crisis on the European societies and on social protection schemes, and the need to intensify innovation for ensuring high level of protection to citizens. A ministerial panel will be dedicated to this;
  • promote social experimentation as a key tool to improve the quality and the cost-effectiveness of social policies, and provide an overview of the best knowledge and expertise existing at EU level in this field. Social experimentation consists in testing innovative solutions at a small scale. They are then scaled up depending on their capacity to get a positive impact on the beneficiaries. The European Platform against poverty and social exclusion, which is one of the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy,  develops an evidence-based approach to social innovations.

The conference is hosted by the Polish Presidency of the European Union and is organised in partnership with the European Commission. It happens the day before an informal meeting of the Social Protection Committee of the European Union. The 160 participants will include ministers, other policy-makers at national or sub-national levels, experts in social policies and evaluation as well as other stakeholders, including social service providers, social partners and civil society organisations.


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