COST Action IS1102 SO.S. COHESION - Social services, welfare state and places


In the 1st year, activities concerned:

  • Task 1 - Comparison of national/regional regulatory frameworks and organisational trajectories in social services (WG1)
  • Task 4 - Dissemination and capacity building (WG4)

The last two months of the year were also dedicated to the preparation of Task 2, to be carried out in the subsequent two years.



(Source: Memorandum of Understanding)

Task 1/WG1 - Comparison of national/regional regulatory frameworks and organisational trajectories in social services

As stated in the MoU, the objective of Task 1 was to assemble the state of the art and compare the regulatory frameworks, the institutional geometries (i.e. division of responsibility between national, regional and local government) and the organisational configurations (i.e. division of labour between state, market, third sector and family) in the funding, planning, production and delivery of social services, as they resulted from the 20-year-long restructuring of welfare systems in the different countries and regions represented in the Action. Particular attention was devoted to care services and to the way national ‘Welfare traditions’ influence differences in trajectories and outcomes

In order to optimise the comparability of regional and national contexts, a template was designed (and finalised in the 1st WG Steering Committee meeting in Month 2) to frame the collation and presentation of existing knowledge on the above features. 

This structured comparison provided the background for Task 2 (analysis of concrete experiences and practices – in-depth case studies – in the area of care services), to be carried out in the second and third years.

The knowledge gathered in the course of Task 1 actively contributed to two of the three inter-related goals of Action IS1102, as stressed in the MoU:

  1. scientific advance, (through the sharing and comparison of the different regulatory frameworks and organisational trajectories of social services across countries);
  2. capacity building and dissemination of knowledge in both academic and non-academic circles, through the involvement of national and local stakeholders (policy makers, service administrations, service providers and workers, users), in local networks and seminars. The trans-disciplinary knowledge gathered in Task 1 was also conducive to the third task and goal, i.e. the formulation of policy recommendations in the fourth year of the Action.

Task 4/WG4 - Dissemination and capacity building

This was a ‘transversal’ task, the purpose of which was precisely to socialise the knowledge assembled during the Action within both the academic community and the external audience of stakeholders. During Year 1, dissemination especially focused on socialising among the involved researchers and academic institutions the Action’s conceptual framework and comparative assessment of the regulatory environment, the institutional geometries and the organisational configurations of social services, as they emerged from the 20-year long restructuring of the welfare state. The Action also aimed at socialising this knowledge among local actors in each territorial context, by setting up wherever possible local stakeholders networks. Interaction with these local networks occurred through the Action’s website (see below) and through local outreach seminars organised locally.



(Source: Work & Budget Plan for 1st year, approved in 1st MC meeting in Brussels)

A) Meetings

Management Committee meetings (2)

Two MC meeting were held in Year 1, after the 1st (‘kick-off’) MC meeting that took place in Brussels.

  • The first was in June 2012, in conjunction with the first WG1 Workshop. It was dedicated to an intermediate assessment of activities and to the adjustment of the work plan and budget allocation.
  • The second was in October 2012. It was dedicated to the 1st year self-evaluation exercise, the approval of the 1st year draft financial report and the discussion and approval of the 2nd year work and budget plan.

Working Group meetings (3)

Three meetings of the WG Steering Committee were held.

  • The first concerned the activities of WG1 and was held in February, with the purpose of finalising the ‘Template’ for the national/regional reports and coordinate the activities for the first WG1 Workshop scheduled in June.
  • The second also concerned the activities of WG1 and was scheduled in June 2012, in conjunction with the first WG1 Workshop, with the purpose of coordinating the final national/regional reports and the comparative syntheses reports.
  • The third concerned both the closing of WG1 activities and the launch of WG2 activities in the 2nd year, and was scheduled in conjunction with the second WG1 Workshop in October 2012.

Workshops and Conferences (2)

Two Workshops were held.

  • The first, was scheduled in June in Oslo (Norway) and involved parties and researchers that actively participated in WG1 activities, as well as some external experts. In this workshop the draft national/regional reports on the regulatory frameworks and organisational trajectories in social services were presented and discussed.
  • The second Workshop involved the overall Action and a few invited experts. In this workshop the final national/regional profiles were presented and draft comparative syntheses were discussed.

B) Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

4 STSMs were programmed, for a total duration of 10 weeks. Gender and country balance, as well as the involvement of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) featured prominently among the criteria for the evaluation of applicants. A STSM Committee had been appointed at the 1st MC Meeting, which issued the call(s) and evaluated and assigned the grants.

C) Pubblications, dissemination, outreach, website

Dissemination was a major dimension of the Action, attributed to a specific Task (Task 4), transversal and built-in, rather than ex-post. A Dissemination Board was appointed at the 1st MC Meeting, to coordinate and monitor this Task’s activities, throughout the Action.

The website

A major dissemination and outreach tool was the Action Website, conceived as the ‘hub’ of the network, with different sections and functions, some for internal communication (‘intranet’) and others for the broader public. It provided info on the Action’s aims, structure and activities, Action news and calendar of events, and a library with the Action methodological, intermediate e final reports, as well as any paper the MC deemed useful to upload. Sections devoted to the local stakeholders networks were also established.

The local stakeholder networks

Further dissemination, outreach and capacity building was planned through the establishment of Local Stakeholders Network (LSN). Each party/institution was invited to set up a national/local network of actors and stakeholders – i.e. public service administrations, policy makers, private suppliers, non-profit organisations, users associations, families, etc. engaged in the planning, production and delivery of social services. 

Output for Year 1

In the 1st year of Action the following output was produced:

  • the Action website;
  • the set up of local stakeholders networks;
  • national/regional reports on the regulatory framework and organisational trajectories in social services;
  • comparative syntheses drafts.

Yearly Financial Report 2012

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