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Contemporary Issues in the Public Management of Social Services in Europe - Leadership and management in social services
The European Social Network’s (ESN) working group on Leadership, Performance and Innovation was set up in the wake of the economic crisis in Europe. It brought together senior managers of public social services at local and regional level to evaluate both the impact of and the responses to the crisis, and to explore what this experience might mean for the future of the welfare state and for the leadership and management of social services. The aim of this paper is to explore the perceptions, challenges and opportunities for leadership and management in the social services sector. To do this, the paper draws on established theories of public leadership and management, as well as the expertise and experiences of leaders and managers within ESN’s Leadership, Performance and Innovation working group. Firstly, it explores the meaning of the concepts of leadership and management in general and also, specifically, in the context of social services. Next, it looks at the learning and development culture for leaders and managers in social services, drawing on examples from the United Kingdom and Austria. Finally, the paper touches on the issue of ethical limits and outlines the importance of having the right support as a leader and manager of social services.