Civil Society and New Forms of Governance : the Case of Childcare Services in a European Perspective
Contributor(s)Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail (LEST)
Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille 1 - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2
[SHS.DEMO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Demography
[SHS.SOCIO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Sociology
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In spite of divergent responses in the different European countries, common trends may be observed in the development of social services: the decentralisation of authority, the diversification of stakeholders in the conception and implementation of public policies, with an increasing role played by the third sector, and the diversification of public-policy instruments. As a result, the modes of governance are becoming more complex while the possibilities for participation are still limited and territorial inequalities are increasing. These trends also pose serious challenges in terms of the quality and accessibility of the services themselves. Therefore, building upon these common trends observed in Europe, we shall have a closer look at the role played by the various actors, in local governance structures in the case of childcare services. Participation of civil society is a central issue in the design of new welfare mixes in the provision of these services across Europe. The role of civil society in childcare provision is real both in terms of innovative capacity and complementary supply to public services, but its participation in local governance structures remains, in general, limited. It is thus important not to confine the third-sector organisations to a role of care providers but rather, to encourage their involvement in local government bodies in order to bolster their capacity for innovation and experimentation in face of changing social demands.