MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL POLICY
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES IN BULGARIA
EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
SIXTH NATIONAL FORUM
OF SOCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
"MORE AND BETTER SOCIAL SERVICES FOR A BETTER LIFE"
IBEROSTAR OBZOR BEACH AND IZGREV HOTEL COMPLEX
In GOLDEN SANDS - VARNA
June 8th – 10th, 2011
The Sixth National Forum of Social Services Providers on "More and better social services for a better life" was held from 8 to 10 June, 2011 at Iberostar Obzor Beach and Izgrev Hotel Complex in Golden Sands – Varna.
The Forum was organized by the National Alliance for Social Responsibility /NASO/ with support and partnership of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria and the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities /EASPD/.
In view of the current European and national policies, the importance and responsibility for the development of social sphere, in particular the crucial role of social services, this year the Forum was aimed at a more complete, comprehensive, thematic scope of social services with emphasis on the work of municipalities. It brought together over 170 representatives and experts of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities, the State Agency for Child Protection, the Agency for Social Assistance, the Agency for Persons with Disability, Municipalities, the National Alliance for Social Responsibility, service providers, employers and others.
During the opening, Valentina Simeonova - Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy extended welcome greetings on behalf of Totyu Mladenov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Greetings also were extended by Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of EASPD, and Kiril Yordanov, Mayor of Varna.
As a part of the official ceremony was giving the NASO's Annual National Awards for contributions to development of social policies in Bulgaria:
1. In Municipality Category the award was given to Burgas Municipality
2. In NGOs Category the award was won by the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities
3. A special award, a plaque, of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy was given to Mr. Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of EASPD, for contribution to support of people with disabilities in Bulgaria and for his personal involvement in the development of network service providers for people with disabilities in Bulgaria, the active involvement of European institutions to support deinstitutionalization in Bulgaria, and the 15th Anniversary of EASPD
Speeches on "More and better social services for a better life" were delivered by Valentina Simeonova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Ginka Chavdarova, Executive Director of the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General of EASPD, and Elka Todorova, a representative of National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Bulgaria.
Reports and presentations were given during the Forum: Ms. Nadya Shabani, Executive Director of the State Agency for Child Protection, talked about deinstitutionalization of services in Bulgaria, and Ivaylo Ivanov, Executive Director of the Social Assistance Agency, reported on the status, problems and expected development of social services in Bulgaria.
Participants in the Forum gave presentations and participated in discussions about best practices, problems and development needs of social services.
In working groups on social services for people with disabilities, social services for children and social services for older people topics were discussed, such as delegation of services and partnership between municipalities and providers, deinstitutionalization, quality of services, standards, criteria and funding of social services.
Within the event, the participants had the opportunity to obtain information, exchange views and experiences, discuss and seek answers to questions to solve problems and implement national and international partnership.
The participants and visitors evaluated very high the organization, effectiveness and usefulness of the Forum. A discussion held in a professional way included a lot of presentations, shared experiences, discussed problems and formulation of recommendations and suggestions.
The main of these was related to the following:
1. For the first time, representatives of the state, municipalities, service providers, civil sector and their European partners worked together in one room.
2. The Forum was attended by all institutions involved in social services with no exceptions.
3. The participation of the state, municipalities and institutions was presented at the highest possible levels.
4. A conclusion was unanimously formulated that the state, municipalities, providers and society as a whole have a duty to care for this important sector.
5. In recent years, very good decisions and practices were made; good results were achieved, but needs are much more as a whole. Quality of life of persons in need for social services is unacceptably low.
6. The specificity of the legislation and practical arrangements require much better coordination and partnership between the parties responsible for the social services sector – the state, municipalities, civil sector, providers, employers and others. NASO's initiative for activation, implementation and effectiveness of this partnership is supported by all.
7. In this connection it was agreed in the aftermath of the Forum that NASO should summarize the material from the work of the participants and offer an option for a common document stimulating the process of accelerated development of social services in Bulgaria, including:
• Development of new and more social services funded by state and municipal budgets, structural funds and other sources
• In order to achieve European standards - over 90% of the services to be performed by personally and professionally motivated civil society organizations, municipalities to accelerate more strongly the process of delegating the implementation of services from external providers
• To develop a mechanism clearly defining relations and specifying municipalities primarily as contracting entities and civic organizations as responsible service providers
• To define more clearly the responsibilities of the state, municipalities and service providers
• To develop mechanisms to ensure equality of service providers
• To formulate more clearly autonomy and responsibility of social service providers, leaving the criteria for their work to be the results achieved
• To provide support for the development of social service providers in civil and social sector
• To put emphasis on discovery, delegation, negotiation, implementation and monitoring of services to be ensured the quality, productivity and results of service operation
• To develop standards for quality of social services which to be leading
• To expand the provision of services to clients at home such as supporting training, employment and social inclusion
• To support the successful start of deinstitutionalization and implementation of services in all areas, providing users a choice of services
• To ensure the active inclusion of people with disabilities and users of other social groups in the process of defining, regulating and implementing services
All participants in the Forum, the Social Assistance Agency, and the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, members of the National Alliance for Social Responsibility, organizations of people with disabilities in Bulgaria and all stakeholders will be involved to work on these points and a wide range of issues.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR