Social investment of social services: The role of private investment
The 2008 crisis and the coronavirus crisis have and will have a strong impact on the governance of social services in Europe. Although they are a key element in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and the European Pillar of Social Rights (2017) to enable full inclusion through homecare and community- based services, European member States have (more often than not) cut their budgets. Yet, it is not just about the numbers, it is also about how and through which mechanisms. New instruments and tools are needed to ensure the presence of quality care and support services, with well-paid staff.
Moreover, the demand for social care and support will increase in the future in particular for the elderly, will mean that complementary private investment instruments can help to better manage -not replace- public investment into the sector. This is particularly the case to help provide capital to build, innovate and implement community-based social infrastructure. The Annual Growth Survey 2018 highlights precisely this point arguing for “greater private sector contribution to human capital development and infrastructure projects (to) complement and leverage public sector support” and “establishing a financial framework conducive to investment and the mobilisation of private capital that allows the combination of financial instruments and grants to help projects get off the ground”.
What are the challenges for Private Investors and Social Services collaboration?
Many social service providers often struggle to get access to private finance for their activities. There are three main reasons for this: misconceptions and poor communication between social service providers and investors, an expertise gap and lack of capacity on both sides, as well as unsuitable tools and instruments. However, the way in which social care & support is delivered differs across the EU (three main patterns) and this also needs to be accounted for when considering capacity to secure and use social investment.
To tackle these challenges, the a4i project was created to develop a neutral platform to improve the relevance of teaching content in the professional development of decision makers. In a4i, Social Service Providers (SP), Private Investors (PI) and Higher Education Institutions (HEI) work together to create a new cross-sectoral teaching concept, based on integrated academic and adult training learning methods together with models and case examples of good practices. Therefore, thanks to this project, Social Services Providers and Private Investors can use common knowledge and tools to understand each other, communicate and collaborate more easily.
The partnership is composed of:
- Asociace poskytovatelů sociálních služeb České republiky (Czechia)
- Česká spořitelna (Czechia)
- CEVRO Institut (Czechia)
- Crédal (Belgium)
- European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EU)
- Fundacion ONCE (Spain)
- HCN (Netherlands)
- Laboral Kutxa (Spain)
- Mondragon University (Spain)
- UNIPSO asbl (Belgium)
- Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
- Université de Liège (Belgium)
Resources on social investment
Outputs from the a4i project:
- Social Investment in Social Care and Support in Europe: State of play
- European Guidelines on Quality Investment Principles for Social Investment
- Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on social investment [to be published]
- Community of Practice [to be published]
- Pool of mentors [to be published]
United Nations: Business and Human Rights: A Progress Report
United Nations: About the Sustainable Development Goals
Social care & Social investment
Federation of Social Employers: New report on the Social Services Workforce in Europe: Current State of Play and Challenges
Caritas: The future of the welfare state
EU financial instruments
European Commission: Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe - Report of the High-Level Task Force on Investing in Social Infrastructure in Europe
European Investment Bank: EaSI Guarantee Instrument
European Committe of Regions: Factsheet: Financing a city’s or region’s long-term capital investment programme - EIB framework loans
Use cases on social investment