Social Services and Healthcare Experts Discussed the New Roles in the Reformed Social Services System



The annual expert forums organized by the NAMRB traditionally attract many participants. Over the years they have become a platform for professional discussions and finding solutions for the implementation of municipal policies. Over 150 participants gathered during the third edition of the national meeting of social and healthcare experts, held from 20 to 22 November in Veliko Tarnovo. Participants from municipalities and municipal service providers discussed with representatives of the central government the approaches and partnerships for providing better and more effective social and health services.

As part of the discussion on the state budget for 2020 NAMRB presented its proposals for the state delegated services concerning municipal social and health services. In order to ensure adequate resources for covering the new responsibilities of the municipalities, as well as to preserve the scope and quality of the services already provided (services in home environment such as "personal assistant", "social assistant" and "home keeper") NAMRB proposed the general subsidy for the delegated social activities to be increased by a minimum of 143.6 million BGN. These will also provide for better payment and involvement of more qualified personnel. The Association proposed also a growth of not less than 35.1 million BGN for healthcare. That amount should cover the necessary increase according to standards for nurseries and health offices in kindergartens and schools.

The plenary session on the second day was dedicated to the personal assistance mechanism. First results and common challenges were presented. The participants also discussed the measures to improve inter institutional cooperation. NAMRB Executive Director Ms. Silviya Georgieva presented the new roles of the municipal councils and mayors in the implementation of the reforms in the field of social services, which turns out to be one of the most serious challenges in the new mandate of Bulgarian local authorities. Municipalities will have to carry out analysis of the needs of the population on the basis of which they will provide the services. Monitoring of the quality and effectiveness of services provided and the maintenance of the facilities will also be a municipal responsibility.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Mr. Lazar Lazarov, experts from the ministry, as well as the Deputy Executive Director of the Agency for Social Assistance Ms. Maya Vasileva and representatives of the National Social Security Institute participated in the discussion about the administration and provision of services in home environment for children and persons from vulnerable groups. The second plenary session was dedicated to the Social Services Act, which will enter into force next year. Preliminary results of the work on the regulatory framework and the new municipal responsibilities as of 1 January 2020 were presented to the participants by Deputy Minister of Labour and Social policy Ms. Zornitsa Rusinova and experts from the "Social Inclusion" Directorate.

Deputy Minister Rusinova participated also in the discussion forum dedicated to the ongoing implementation of the projects under the current programming period and the vision for 2021 – 2027. 

An important session of the forum was the presentation of good municipal policies and practices, as well as examples for successful local partnerships in the provision of integrated services.  The host municipality Veliko Tarnovo presented its activities in the field of social services and their experience in providing care to the elderly in small settlements. Participants visited social and healthcare centers and had the opportunity to monitor three services that complement each other and are based in one building – Center for public support for children and families; Center for Social Rehabilitation and integration for children and young people with disabilities and their families and Community center for Children and parents "Tsaregrad".

Good policies and practices in the social support sphere were also presented by Varna municipality. Plovdiv municipality presented how the social support for vulnerable groups is organized in social service complexes. Svishtov municipality presented their work in integrating the services of the Day care center for children with disabilities and the full-day kindergarten for better inclusion of children with special educational needs.



Photo: Annual Meeting of the municipal experts on social and healthcare services


Photo: Annual Meeting of the municipal experts on social and healthcare services


Photo: Annual Meeting of the municipal experts on social and healthcare services


Photo: Annual Meeting of the municipal experts on social and healthcare services


Photo: Annual Meeting of the municipal experts on social activities and health care