European cities leading on social policy innovation


A European Commission conference on social policy innovation in Brussels on 19-20 May emphasised the role of local authorities in developing social policy innovation and delivering positive social outcomes for European citizens

The event, which gathered representatives from the European institutions, European governments, civil society organisations, local authorities and academia, emphasised the importance of innovative partnerships between social enterprises, public institutions and commercial enterprises.
In his opening speech, László Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, cited examples of how municipalities and the private sector have successfully worked together to secure positive social outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable in society.
Both The Hague and Barcelona made presentations on social innovation at the event. Henk Kool, vice mayor of The Hague and chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, spoke about the importance of supporting social innovation at local level and the need to coordinate social policies in order that they are as effective as possible. Jordi Tolrà i Mabilon, director of social services in Barcelona, presented his city’s experience in developing innovative social services in a range of areas; from the integration of migrants to youth employment.
The conference emphasised that within the new programming period of the European Social Fund there will be a minimum allocation of 20% towards projects that support social innovation. Michel Servoz, director general of DG employment, social affairs and inclusion also announced that the first call for proposals on social services and innovation under the European Commission’s Employment and Social Innovation programme (EaSI) had now been launched; providing an important opportunity for local authorities and civil society organisations.