The 10th meeting of the Thematic Network on Inclusion of the ESF Transnational Platform took place on the 6th and 7th May 2019 in Brussels (Belgium). The meeting was the second on the topic of Active Inclusion and focused on personalized pathways as a tool to enable people –and particularly the most disadvantaged ones- to participate in society, including through employment.
Emphasis was placed on the need to ensure coherence between personalized pathways and an active inclusion logic. In this regard, it is key that the implementation of pathways puts people at the centre and looks at their needs and potential in a holistic manner.
In a number of countries ESF funds are used to support the development of personalised pathways to promote active inclusion. The meeting of the Thematic Network on Inclusion aimed to create opportunities for mutual learning on how ESF funds could be a lever to develop such an approach in a more effective manner.
The meeting started with an introduction on the principles underpinning active inclusion, as defined by the 2008 EC Recommendation on the Active Inclusion of people excluded from the labour market, e.g. income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services. Subsequent EU initiatives have further developed these principles, which are crucial for the design and implementation of personalized pathways.
Several practices of personalized pathways were shared. In Belgium, individual projects for integration take the form of written contracts with rights and obligations that take into account the expectations, skills, capacities and needs of the concerned person and of the possibilities of the centre. Within this framework, approaches towards social activation have focused on a holistic approach beyond employment only and especially for those that are furthest away from labour markets.
In Belgium, the Protocol for the Elaboration and Evaluation of the Pathway to Integration (PEEPI) represents an innovative methodological approach to tailor support for each person individually by making resources and services available according to their needs.
In France, the Local Plans for Inclusion and Employment (PLIE) mobilize resources to reduce unemployment and poverty at local level, aiming to enhance coherence of all interventions involved in the field of inclusion and employment. The pathways created to support each individual are not limited in time, are voluntary without sanction or penalties and emphasize the quality of placements as their main measure of success.
In Slovenia, the ESF has enabled a new and comprehensive model of social activation that promotes an integrated approach to inclusion. Key elements of this are the signature of individual contracts and increased institutional cooperation between social welfare and employment service. A new pilot project has placed emphasis in the development of effective IT support in order to creates the right institutional synergies between welfare centres and PES towards active inclusion.
Building on the learnings from the practices presented, TN participants developed a checklist of the elements needed to reach an effective active inclusion approach. They also pointed out obstacles to achieve this. Finally, participants discussed how ESF regulation and implementation promotes active inclusion and how it could further boost it. To this aim, recommendations to support active inclusion through ESF were produced.
The next meeting of the Thematic Network will take in place in Brussels on the 17th and 18th of June and will address the topic of de-institutionalisation and how EU funding instruments to support the development of community-based services. In addition, topics and projects of interest to the TN on Inclusion will be addressed at the annual conference of the ESF Transnational Platform, which will take place in Brussels on 21st and 22nd of May 2019.