New Activities for Improvement of System of Contracting of Provision of Social Services of Public Benefit with Civil Society Organizations

Office for Cooperation with NGOs, in accordance with its responsibilities of monitoring of the system of financing of civil society organizations from the State Budget and from part of the revenue of the games of chance, coordination of work of state and local administrative bodies concerning the improvement of cooperation with non-governmental, non-profit sector in the Republic of Croatia and encouraging implementation of the National Strategy for the Creation of an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development from 2006 to 2011, has launched a process of more intensive coordination and consultations with the administrative bodies and other relevant stakeholders with regard to the improvement of the system of contracting of social services of public benefit with civil society organizations.

One of important components of the process of cooperation and consultations is related to the formation of Working Group for Drawing Out of the Proposal for Improvement of the System of Contracting Social Services of Public Interest with Civil Society Organizations, according to the proposal of responsibilities and the framework plan of work of the inter-ministerial Working Group. The latter will be comprised of representatives of relevant ministries (bearers of the Operational Implementation Plan of the National Strategy), international organizations (World Bank and UNDP), active promoters of changes in the field of social policy, which are advocating the development of social services in communities and diversification of service providers, as well as representatives of civil society organizations.
 
Improvement of the system of contracting social services of general interest with civil society organizations is important for effective implementation of a set of public policies and is of particular significance for combating social exclusion and poverty and a greater effectiveness of public investments. Social and medical services represent the greatest part of the EU economy, particularly in the framework of employment since they are labor-intensive and do therefore importantly contribute to the creation of new working places, including those for women and elderly. Consequently, the significance of services of public interest is growing in the context of modern social policies, whist they play a central role in implementation of the new EU social program which rests on equal opportunities, equal access and solidarity. This is confirmed also by the European Commission’s Biennial Report on Social Services of General Interest.
 
The first meeting of the inter-ministerial Working Group was held on 7 April 2009, in the premises of the Ministry of Family, War Veterans and Inter-generational Solidarity which figures as one of the largest providers of supports in the area of social care (for beneficiary groups of people with disabilities, children, youth and the entire field of inter-generational solidarity). The practice of organization of meetings will be carried on in the future, until the duties of the Working Group will be finalized.
 
More information could be found in the Framework Plan of Work (in Croatian) of the Working Group as well as in the minutes (in Croatian) from the 1st meeting.