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Two new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent social policy initiatives in the United Kingdom.
The Active Ageing Index (AAI) measures to what extent the potential of older people is used to contribute to the economy and society through paid and unpaid activities and through living independent, healthy and safe lives.
Belgium introduced the ‘Housing First’ (HF) model in eight cities to support homeless people with special needs: homeless people move into permanent housing as quickly as possible, and receive intensive social support in their homes whenever needed.
Ireland is in the process of developing a more coordinated and integrated approach to children’s services, aimed at tackling the complex problems of disadvantaged families in a more joined-up and holistic way. This Peer Review looked at Irish good practice and harnessed learning from other EU Member States.
The Dutch government’s declared aim is to move from a welfare state to a “participation society” built on citizens’ self-reliance and networking. Large parts of the social security system have been devolved to the municipalities, which are expected to follow an integrated approach to social services, while offering solutions tailored to each individual case. In response, most municipalities have set up Social Community Teams. This Peer Review, held in The Hague, discussed the use of SCTs to combat poverty.
This Peer Review, held in Prague, discussed Czech family policy at a time of change, and more specifically the future shape of the country’s early childhood education and care. Drawing on the experience of peer countries, international experts, the European Commission as well as local and European stakeholder organisations, it identified a number of practical lessons both for the Czech Republic and for the EU as a whole.
Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) are payments to people who meet certain conditions. CCTs are increasingly being used to encourage families to invest in their children. However, there is limited scientific evidence on the effects of such programmes. The Peer Review in Budapest gave policy-makers thinking of introducing or reforming CCTs the opportunity to share experience and exchange views.
The Belgian government’s Children First initiative has been funding a pilot project to set up local ‘consultation platforms’ on child poverty. The platforms engage a wide range of local actors – from e.g. anti-poverty associations to child daycare centres, schools, sports clubs and student support centres.
Italy’s Programme of Intervention to Prevent Institutionalisation (P.I.P.P.I.) is a blend of evidence-based research and action to prevent children being taken into care. P.I.P.P.I. focuses on families that face multiple, complex difficulties. It gathers the views of parents, children and concerned professionals; then, placing the child at the centre, it designs a plan to help the family and sets up an interdisciplinary team to implement it. An online system allows the workings of the plan to be monitored modified, if need be.
Quantitative models which simulate the probable effect of changes in taxes and welfare benefits can provide policy-makers with a useful evidence base, and can enable stakeholders such as NGOs to play a more active role in policy formation. Austria has broken new ground by creating an easy-to-use public website that enables any citizen to calculate the effects of tax and benefit changes on different sections of the population.