Civic Initiatives: What Are the Prospects for the CSOs in Serbia as Social Service Providers?

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On November 13, 2014, Civic Initiatives organized in Belgrade an informative workshop dedicated to the presentation of social contracting concept (regarding social services), good practices from Scotland and Slovenia, as well as possibilities for introducing the concept in Serbia.

Tina Divjak, from CNVOS (Centre for Information Service, Cooperation and Development of NGOs), a member of BCSDN and ENNA, presented the system for financing CSOs delivering social services in Slovenia, while Lucy McTernan from SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations), another ENNA member, presented the Scottish system. While both countries are quite advanced from Serbia, where social services are still mostly provided by public institutions, there are also some significant differences between the two systems. Scottish system is based on project financing, leaving up to CSOs to define the services. Slovenian, on the other hand, is more structured, the ministry defines services and a minimum number of expert workers per certain number of beneficiaries, CSOs that have a licence granted by the Social Chamber, are financed on a 5-year contract basis.

“Participants agreed that Serbia can draw several useful lessons-learned from the presented cases; however, since there is a lack of trust towards CSOs, it would probably be better to start with a more defined system. Vladan Jovanović, an independent consultant in social policy issues, presented further interesting models for social service provision, such as public-private partnership. However, as Serbia is currently at the first steps of developing some sort of a system, the participants agreed that it is too early to expect public-private partnership. Since Serbian CSOs are also facing with the lack of political will for outsourcing social services to CSOs, a lot of efforts will need to be put into advocacy.” – said Tina Divjak.

For more information visit Civic Initiatives website.

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