Social services are a social policy field with a rapidly growing political and theoretical importance in Europe. These services enhance human welfare and the overall well-being of people, but in different ways and through different mechanisms. In this chapter, social services – with specific attention to care for older people – are evaluated from three perspectives. First, social services are examined in connection to risks people meet during their life course. Becoming old and fragile is one of such risks. However, there is a large variety in the ways life-cycle risks are taken into account by national care service policies. Second, the universality of service provision – or lack of it – is considered. From this perspective, a general weakening of universalism is observed throughout Europe. Finally, there is a distinctiveness in social service provision related to the complexity and complementarity of these services. Complexity and complementarity are at the same time strengths and weaknesses in social services provision and might explain the low status these services exhibit even today.
Anneli Anttonen and Jorma Sipilä
Anneli Anttonen and Olli Karsio
The last thirty years have witnessed a significant change in the ethos and organisation of public services. There has been a profound market shift in the provision of publicly funded services in different types of welfare states. This chapter looks at the avenues and mechanisms through which in the Nordic countries an increasing proportion of publicly funded care services for older people is being removed from the entirely public sphere of state and municipal provision and is increasingly shifted to private for-profit providers. There are clear signs of intensified marketisation developments, most particularly in Finland and Sweden. Marketisation refers to the growing presence of private for-profit providers and the increasing influence of market ideas, logics and mechanisms within public service delivery. In this chapter the concept of ‘marketisation from within’ is used to characterise the marketisation shift typical of the Nordic countries, as the state and municipalities are important actors in the marketisation process by regulating and financing services that are outsourced to for-profit providers through competitive bids and customer choice models.
Anneli Anttonen, Liisa Häikiö and Kolbeinn Stefánsson
Edited by Anneli Anttonen, Liisa Häikiö and Kolbeinn Stefánsson
Flavia Martinelli, Anneli Anttonen and Margitta Mätzke
Publicly provided in-kind social services are a key component of the welfare state in most of Europe, albeit their development trajectories, coverage and legal status still vary considerably among countries. The way such services are provided and made available to people bears significantly on social and territorial cohesion, on the gender balance and, ultimately, on the wealth of any society. On the other hand, while much is discussed and written about social policy and welfare systems, social services are somewhat neglected. Although they have progressively gained a stronger foothold in national legislations and social policy agendas, their status remains weaker compared to health or education services. Moreover, because of the austerity measures brought about by the 2008 financial crisis, they have been the primary object of cuts and reorganisation. And yet, from a social capital and social investment perspective social services should earn much more attention. Cuts in the social service systems have, in fact, very severe consequences on older people and people with disabilities, as well as on households – women – with small children or living in poverty, i.e. on people whose labour market position is weak. The public provision of in-kind services, more than monetary transfers and benefits, represents a social investment that not only generates welfare, social inclusion and jobs, but also reduces future social risks. The theoretical debate on social policy and welfare states needs thus to be enriched by comparatively informed research on the restructuring of social services. This is also a field where national, regional and local variations are large and greater empirical evidence is needed.
Changes, Challenges and Policy Implications for Europe in Times of Austerity
Edited by Flavia Martinelli, Anneli Anttonen and Margitta Mätzke
Anneli Anttonen, Liisa Häikiö, Kolbeinn Stefánsson and Jorma Sipilä
Margitta Mätzke, Anneli Anttonen, Peter Brokking and Jana Javornik
There is great diversity in social service arrangements across countries. Some offer broadly accessible social services for their citizens, while in others social transfers and social services are fragmented and not available to everyone. Some care services are targeted or conditional, and therefore selective, while others are universally available. Institutional features such as these shape the extent and the ways in which citizens access care services and affect people’s well-being and way of life. They have a part in defining what role public policies play in societies and how states relate to their subjects. The design of social services is in that sense normatively consequential, and this chapter seeks to identify their overall character and conceptual underpinnings. It explores the core ambitions and policy goals underlying social service designs and identifies differences in normative commitments across policy fields and countries and over time. Ideal-typical policy conceptions are identified, which capture the goals and priorities informing the design of social service institutions. Two evaluative dimensions are then introduced, which map the diversity of public policy conceptions: priorities and core commitments and main orientation and targets. The framework is then put to use by analysing social service developments in three different policy fields and countries: care for older people in Finland, childcare in the UK, and housing services for asylum seekers in Sweden. These illustrations show that political rhetoric often strays far from institutional realities and underscore the need to investigate deeds, rather than words.
Bettina Leibetseder, Anneli Anttonen, Einar Øverbye, Charles Pace and Signy Irene Vabo
Welfare pluralism, in its initial conceptualisation, sought to bring together the best welfare providers, including families and the community, while lowering expenditures. Ideally, a plurality of providers would ensure better quality, consumer choice, and universal but at the same time more individualized services. In this chapter, we raise questions about recent transformations in the welfare mix, which we call the ‘re-mix’ of social care, based on the empirical material shared within the COST Action IS1102, which points to a high degree of disarray. Compared to earlier decades that had witnessed a stable or growing level of state intervention, the current re-mixing among service providers is characterized by fragmentation and differentiation, while there is no attempt to address the question of how best to provide social care. In the end, we argue that: (1) the current organisation of care services is reinforcing inequalities between less and more affluent users; (2) the current division of responsibility in the provision, regulation and financing of care services is favouring for-profit and self-employed caregivers, without enabling collaboration and synergies among providers; (3) the current re-mixes are hindering both equality among service providers and universal provision.