Project Outline Objectives The EUROCITIES Network of Local Authority Observatories on Active Inclusion (EUROCITIES-NLAO) will investigate the role of quality social services within the Active Inclusion strategy. Particular emphasis will be put on quality assessment tools, governance arrangements for the implementation of services, and also for the integration of the service into city-wide social inclusion strategies. Based on local input, the network will provide evidence for further EU policy development. By involving a broad range of stakeholders from the local, national and European level the project will also contribute to better governance and to coordination between all levels of government within the social Open Method of Coordination (OMC). Project description The EUROCITIES-NLAO will deliver decentralised research in five European cities in five different countries and comparative research on the EU-level. EUROCITIES Partners Five partner cities have been selected, which present a balanced geographical spread and reflect the diversity of the EU Member States and their social welfare models. Each city provides relevant local experience and potential (promotion of quality in social services, local approach to Active Inclusion, relevant ongoing local policy development) and appropriate capacities in terms of staff, financial resources and support. The cities are: Bologna – Italy Prague – Czech Republic Rotterdam – The Netherlands Southampton – United Kingdom Stockholm – Sweden Research will either be carried out within the municipalities themselves or by a research institute that is contracted by the municipality as a ’Junior Partner’. The EUROCITIES Brussels office will act as coordinator and will deliver comparative research. Focus areas The EUROCITIES-NLAO will look into two focus areas: social and supported housing; and employment/training. These two areas were chosen because they are particularly relevant for the Active Inclusion concept due to their potential to provide for multiple and integrated approaches to tackle several disadvantages. Research will consider quality issues over the whole cycle of service provision, from procurement and commissioning to delivery and evaluation. Project Outline Research studies The Local Authority Observatories (LAOs) will produce national reports on each of the two focus areas. Each study will consist of three parts (Analysis – Case studies – Recommendations) and will be complemented by an introductory overview of the general situation of social services in the city aiming to put the analysis into context. The reports will build on existing research and will be based on practice examples complemented by interviews with stakeholders. On basis of the national reports, EUROCITIES Brussels office will deliver comparative research and produce the European reports on each focus area. Stakeholder involvement At local/national level, each study will be discussed with a wide range of stakeholders. To this end, the five observatories will establish advisory networks involving government representatives, the research community and NGOs. A kick-off seminar at the first stage of the project will be held in order to engage with relevant actors. Later, the LAOs will hold national review seminars for each of the two focus areas, where stakeholders will be invited to provide feedback on the studies. At European level, a mid-term review workshop will be organised to discuss and exchange experiences made so far, together with external stakeholders on national as well as European level. The results will feed into activities in the second stage of the project. A final conference will be held with the aim to widely disseminate the research results and to fuel further debate on the role of social services in the Active Inclusion strategy. Project outputs The five Local Authority Observatories will each produce/hold ‐ a National Review Study on Housing ‐ a National Review Seminar on Housing ‐ a National Review Study on Employment ‐ a National Review Seminar on Employment On the basis of the national studies, the EUROCITIES Brussels office will produce ‐ a European Report on Housing ‐ a European Report on Employment For discussion of findings and dissemination, the EUROCITIES Brussels office will hold ‐ a European Midterm Workshop ‐ a European Final Workshop and Conference For best possible dissemination, all reports will be published first in electronic form and subsequently in professionally printed versions. Additionally, a leaflet and website will be created at the outset of the project to be used as dissemination tools. Duration and Budget The project will run as pilot initiative with an initial duration of 18 months (1/3/2009 – 31/8/2010). After this period, there is the potential to further extend the network. The EUROCITIES-NLAO has a total budget of €1 247 000, with a European Commission grant of €1 000 000 and own contributions from Partner cities and the EUROCITIES Brussels office.