Guus van Beek

Website www.equass.be

Guus van Beek has had the position of Key Expert of the European Quality in Social Services (EQUASS) and has been involved in the development of the system since its foundation in 2000. As Key Expert of EQUASS, he is responsible for system development, capacity building, information and promotion and training of auditors and consultants within the EQUASS organisation. As project leader of the EU-project “Prometheus” (2010), he acted as external adviser to the Social Protection Committee for the development of the European Quality Framework for Social Services. He has an academic and practical educational background within educational psychology, pedagogic, organisational change, management and administration of vocational rehabilitation and total quality management and he has extensive project experience in education, vocational rehabilitation and quality management.

 

Abstract

Quality in Social Services need for a paradigm shift?

Social services are considered an economical activity (European Court of Justice, 2005) and therefore treated in all cases as any other economical activity: in its management approach, in its business approach and in its quality approach. In many aspects socials services also differ from other economical activities. The quality of the service is mainly determined in the delivery process: the interaction and activities between professionals and clients, are driven by the individual needs of service users , who are diverse disatvantaged group, and less in the production process. Those who are responsible for enhancing and managing quality in social services have the expectations that, by applying the traditional quality management systems, the se systems substantial contribute to the quality of the service. If quality management systems intend to contribute to the quality of the service, the essential differences between products and social services must have consequences for the management of q uality and quality management systems. Traditional quality management approaches may be well accepted but they may be not ‘fit - for use’ in their contribution to specific individual needs of the clients of social services. The European Quality in Social Se rvices (EQUASS), a quality approach designed for the social sector, has shown to be an appropriate instrument to contribute to the modernisation of the social sector by introducing a quality system. for various social services and based on the characterist ics of these social service. The EQUASS Certification Programs have adapted the specific characteristics of social services, the requirements stated in the European Quality Framework for Social Service (Social Protection Committee, October 2010) and requir ements of the Common Quality Framework for Social Services of General Interest (CEN workshop 51, 2010). Feedback from certified social service providers in Lithuania and throughout the Europe shows that the implementation of the EQUASS criteria has brought them benefits. EQUASS implementation created a more client - focused approach, an increased awareness of service users’ rights, an increased involvement and empowerment of service users in 2 provided services, a systematic enhancement and promotion of quality of life and an increased motivation of staff to contribute and to improve the quality of their daily work . Above all, EQUASS enhanced the strong focus on business management aspects and on proving the outcomes, benefits and results by measuring them with indicators. In many European countries EQUASS certification holds social service providers accountable for their actions and for the funding they receive. A recent scientific study by Nor dland sfors kning on the impact of the implementation of the EQUASS system in Norway , showed increased awareness and improved im pact on quality of the provided service by Norwegian social service p roviders. The core question which will be addressed in the presentation is: Do traditional quality management systems, which originally are applied in a manufacturing environment, also contribute to the quality of the service or is it time for a paradigm shift?

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