TSEN/CSV/SOLIDAR comparative seminar
The Third Sector European Network (TSEN), Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and SOLIDAR organised a conference in London on the 13 March on Commissioning from the Third Sector in the EU and lessons to be learnt from Europe. The context of the conference is that throughout Europe public authorities are increasingly commissioning personal social services from the third sector. There is a clear tendency towards contract-based models based on public tenders and comprehensive assessment and reporting obligations. In this context the British government is implementing a National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning. This whole process within Member States is framed by European directives on public procurement and policy initiatives on social services of general interest (SSGI) and the internal market.
At the comparative seminar, representatives of SOLIDAR members from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy as well as from a Swedish NGO gave presentations on the usage of public procurement in different sectors of personal social services which seems to be most widespread in the fields of labour market integration, professional training, social integration and long-term care. The speakers highlighted positive objectives (for example, more transparency on usage of public money and social policy objectives) and negative experiences (for example, usage of technical specifications in public tendering not adapted to specificities of social services and their users) encountered with public procurement so far. Strategies were discussed on how to improve public procurement policies and procedures in the field of social services to support the organisation and delivery of needs-oriented high quality services.
A Conference Report is currently being elaborated and will be circulated in the Weekly Roundup when availabile.
Read more on the UK National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning and its baseline report