Ad-PHS project’s workshop in Slovenia
On March 10, Association Social Economy Slovenia organised the Slovenian workshop in Ljubljana, in the framework of the Ad-PHS project.
The purpose of this workshop was to highlight the characteristics, challenges and possible solutions in the personal and household services sector that are important for Slovenia, and to draw up a document of national and European importance for decision makers and service providers in this sector. To this end, a German project partner drew up a draft Country Profile for Slovenia, including the monitoring of Slovenia’s personal and household services sector, which, however, is incomplete and perhaps partly inaccurate.
The workshop started with a welcoming speech from Dorotea Daniel (Diesis Coop), Nace Kovač (President of Chamber of Social Services and Director of Šent) and Mrs. Lilijana Brajlih (General Secretary of Association Social Economy Slovenia).
Diesis Coop then gave a presentation of the project and the characteristics of the social vouchers. These are social benefits for:
- employers (public and private) to give to their employees so that they can access their specific goods and services needed to improve their working and living conditions;
- public authorities to grant to their (country/municipality) citizens as an additional benefit.
Some good practices were also presented, such as Spazio Aperto Servizi, a social cooperative that organises recreational and educational activities in 100 schools, and worker cooperatives because of the quality of their services and service providers. Key recommendations for promoting worker cooperatives in PHS were also given:
- Set a legal framework and tax benefits
- Use social clauses in procurement
- Implement co-planning in social policies
- Encourage support (financial and non-financial)
First panel of workshop and discussion focused on Care Services (Personal Services, Social Care, Long-Term Care…). Nace Kovač stated that social protection in Slovenia is well regulated. There are different approaches for different target groups: personal health services, social care, long-term home care, personal assistance, family assistance…). There is also a distinction to make between formal (e.g. public social care institutions, sheltered housing, health care) and informal services.
According to Anita Jacović and Zdenka Tičar (Ministry of Health), the payment for social care services is governed by the Disability and Pension Insurance Act (Zakon o invalidskem in pokojninskem zavarovanju) from Article 99 onwards, which sets out very clearly what long-term care services are, when a person is entitled to a care allowance and what this allowance can be used for. The local community is required by law to contribute at least 50% of the funding for social care services. However, the healthcare and social systems are not transparent.
Second panel participants discussed on commercial and informal non-care services (Household services), and panel 3 on topics related to legislation, labour law, vouchers… Participants presented their organisation and activities and raised several challenges they are currently facing, such as:
- legal shortcomings when it comes to part-time work
- stigmatisation (e.g. there are those who can pay for the cleaning service, want to make the most of their spare time, and fear what others will say)
- a large staffing shortfall for the provision of social care services at home
- customers want a lower price and service providers want fair pay
- older users, especially, sometimes do not want third-party help because they feel embarrassed
Anita Jacović and Zdenka Tičar (Ministry of Health) underlined various problems identified throughout projects they are managing, such as low pay, poor conditions, active user involvement, practice, field and social responsibility. They reminded the need to be aware that long-term care is needed not only by the elderly, but by all generations. The focus should be on healthy living, prevention, and health from the beginning (childhood). As a result, this would delay the use of long-term care.
Finally, Lilijana Brajlih (Secretary General, Association Social Economy Slovenia) urged social enterprises to become more involved in addressing the challenges pertaining to personal and household services. According to her, this is an opportunity, particularly for cooperatives.