Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 11/02/2016

Peer Review in the Netherlands: Social community teams against poverty

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.

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Host country: The Netherlands

Date: 19-20 January 2016

Peer countries: Belgium - Czech Republic - Denmark - Finland - Ireland - Latvia - Lithuania - Malta - Poland - Romania

Stakeholders: European Social Network (ESN), European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN)

Social Community Teams (SCTs) generally include a broad range of professionals from both the public and private sector. The way they are organised varies considerably and may evolve over time, but the common aim is to provide a single entry point for people in need to help them efficiently.

Key learning elements

  • SCTs can be an economical, effective and sustainable instrument in the fight against poverty. The main advantages are flexibility, potential cost-effectiveness and accessibility via one stop shop.
  • Solutions should be sought in co-creation with the users, rather than through a top-down approach.
  • SCTs must be well embedded within the local community, which means that all relevant stakeholders, especially NGOs, employers and people in poverty, must be involved.
  • A legal framework for SCTs should provide a common context but leave sufficient leeway to adapt to local situations and needs.
  • Integrated approach to social work requires interdisciplinary teams composed of highly motivated and competent professionals.
  • More emphasis should be put on evidence with regard to policy making, service delivery and evaluation in order to identify the most effective and efficient approaches and scale them up.

Peer Review manager

Katja Korolkova (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)

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