Administering social care in the European Union: moving towards one-stop shops?

Author:Branko Boskovic
Position:Faculty of Humanistic Studies, University of Donja Gorica, Podgorica, Montenegro
Administering social care in the European Union:
moving towards one-stop shops?
Teaching assistant Branko BOŠKOVIĆ1
Protection and inclusion have for long been some of the guiding principles of the
European welfare states. The crisis of 2008 placed social investment high on the social
policy agenda in the EU and specific policies that the new paradigm embraces have been in
focus. Unfortunately, little attention is paid to administering policies. Creating one-stop
shops, as a new way of easier and more efficient use of available resources for citizens, is
perceived as the most suitable way for administration of specific policies. This paper is a
contribution to this debate, looking at ways social policy is administered across the EU,
from a double perspective. First, having social investment as the theoretical but also
practical approach and second, looking at different welfare state regimes. This approach
should point to major differences in social policy administration but also present which
models perform the best. Most importantly, the paper aims to show how administering
social care influences implementation of policy changes across the European Union.
Keywords: one-stop shop, European Union, social investment, decentralisation,
JEL Classification: K23, K33
1. Introduction
Social care has been in focus of the public debate for a long time in
Europe, but is the last decade, after the 2008 crisis that has seen an increased
debate. Finding ways to improve efficiency of specific policies and improve quality
of life has been the key aim of the measures the European Union has undertaken.
However, it has been proved that unified approach is not possible, on the one hand
and on the other, measures has to be well coordinated between all of the actors
involved. Policies and their outcomes have been in the focus of the EU’s attention
but increasing awareness of the relevance of the way policies are administered has
paved a way towards thinking of one-stop shops. Permanent changes in the way
policies are organised and administered, in addition to already different social
models across the member states created a need of studying how social care
administration is organised and how they function.
The paper is looking into administration of social care, with the focus on
administering employment policies. It is a contribution to a missing debate, in
comparison to studies on policies and outcomes, on how to improve functionality
of the administration and enable citizens easier and more friendly use of services.
1 Branko Bošković - Faculty of Humanistic Studies, University of Donja Gorica, Podgorica,
Montenegro, branko.boskovic@
Volume 8, Issue 2, June 2018 Juridical Tribune 399
The paper is divided into four main parts. The first part is looking into relevance of
studying social care administration and provides the methodology and the research
question of the paper. The second part defines one-stop shops and focuses on their
development. The third part represents the study of the countries the paper uses and
fourth part is a discussion of the findings.
2. Welfare state in Europe: why study administration?
Welfare state has been one of the most recognisable features of the
European continent and it is especially after the Second World War that it has been
expanded and social rights were recognised2. There have been incommensurable
changes throughout the period of the golden age of the welfare state and up to now.
In other words, there is a significantly greater instability of the social
circumstances we live in, concerning both the individual and systemic level and
alterations became an essential part of everyday life. Sources of the change are
external (globalisation, introduction of service based economy, instability of
markets and unexpected labour market shocks, moving from cyclical to structural
risks)3 and internal (declining fertility, ageing population, new family forms)4, just
to name a few. This paper is interested in structural transformation of
administration of the social services as a response to these alterations.
The literature on the welfare state is in most instances focused on policy
effects and outcomes and a detailed research of social policy administration is
substantially less represented. Governance of social policy is crucial for providing
citizens with quality services, especially having in mind increasing unemployment
and a need for institutional support. Governance can here be defined in Rhodes’5
sense, as new processes, conditions and methods the society is governed. The focus
of the paper is on social policy, with stress on employment policies, due to
importance of the issue, rising unemployment and important policy changes in the
recent years. The European Union has recognised relevance of the issue on several
occasions6, especially having in mind the effects of the 2008 crisis, rising new
2 Marshall, Thomas Humphrey. Citizenship and Social Class. The University Press, Cambridge, 1950.
3 Clasen, Jochen., Clegg, Daniel. Beyond Activation: Reforming European Unemployment Protection
Systems in Post-Industrial Labour Markets. European Societies, 8, 4. 2006. pp. 527-53; Esping
Andersen, Gosta., Gallie, Duncan., Hemerijck, Anton., Myles, John. Why We Need a New Welfare
State. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2002; Hemerijck, Anton. Changing welfare states. Oxford
University Press. Oxford. 2013.
4 Esping Andersen, Gosta., Gallie, Duncan., Hemerijck, Anton., Myles, John. Why We Need a New
Welfare State. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2002; Hemerijck, Anton. Changing welfare states.
Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2013.
5 Rhodes, Roderick. The New Governance: Governing Without Government. Political Studies, 1996,
p. 653-4.
6 European Commission. An Agenda for new skills and jobs. COM(2010) 682 final, 2010.; European
Commission. Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. COM(2010)
2020, 2010.; European Commission. Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
COM(2013) 778 final, 2013.; European Commission. Towards Social Investment for Growth and

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