This project will be driven by a consortium that brings together key representatives of the research, practice and policy communities in the field of social service planning and delivery to mutually assess recent trends in science, practice and policy, identify knowledge gaps and propose research questions and agendas to address them.
An important feature of our project is the use of innovative, low-threshold communication means, such as films/podcasts/visual sociology to overcome the communication gaps between these worlds and reach out to a wide audience of scholars, practitioners, policy makers and service users.
The platform will be organised around four aspects
Investigating, identifying, evaluating and reflecting upon innovative practice in the provision of social services across Europe,
Identifying and systematising the theoretical discussion on innovation in service planning and delivery,
Linking up the empirical evidence and theoretical discourse to identify gaps, inconsistencies and demand for further research,
- Assessing the issues identified and proposing research agendas for various aspects of service planning, provision and evaluation.
The approach of the platform
• Diagnosis of the current trends and directions from literature research about social services in the fields of health, education, and welfare and the analysis of policy documents concerning social services in Europe. This will identify innovative social services that have been developed across the boundaries of these sectors.
• The study and communication of innovative practice is managed through case studies which combine theoretical insights of the literature research with practical aspects of innovative service ideas already put into practice. The case studies shall be used to initiate discussions among and with stakeholders about innovative services in many different contexts in Europe. Each case will display at least one innovative service aspect or principle or a combination of several aspects. The cases will be disseminated using new information technologies.
• Using methodological tools to facilitate and guide the discussion, the reflection with diverse stakeholder groups will identify key issues, gaps, demands, and give indications for further research. A wide range of varying stakeholders (professionals, users, policy makers) at different levels (local, regional, national, European) will discuss examples of innovation provided in the case studies. Exploiting different perspectives through a methodologically grounded way is one of the heuristic approaches of the platform.
• The consortium will manage the process of developing of new insights on innovative social services: this will be ensured through the application of methods for leading discussions and problem solving, for managed intervention in cases of conflicts, and for reaching a consensus on specific issues. The whole process will be observed and guided by the advisory board.