European Social Policy Network
SPRU research team
- Fran Bennett, Oxford University
- Alan Maynard, Health Sciences, University of York
The European Social Policy Network (ESPN) was established in July 2014 on the initiative of the European Commission to provide high quality and timely independent information, advice, analysis and expertise on social policy issues in the European Union and neighbouring countries.
The ESPN brings together into a single network the work that used to be carried out by the European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion, the Network for the Analytical Support on the Socio-Economic Impact of Social Protection Reforms (ASISP) and the MISSOC (Mutual Information Systems on Social Protection) secretariat.
The new network will ensure that these components work closely together to produce timely and
high-quality information that is relevant to the EU policy needs, and that this information is presented in the most user-friendly way to various audiences, including for the Commission’s internal use and for public authorities, social partners, civil society, expert audiences and citizens.
The overall objective of this social policy network is to ensure expertise and provide rigorous
assessments of European and national social policies and to foster a high-quality debate on
innovative policy solutions in the spirit of the social investment approach. The network will be a
tool to assist the European Commission in the formulation of evidence-based social policies. It
will contribute in particular to the assessment of the National Reform Programmes and the
National Social Reports.
The ESPN is managed by CEPS/INSTEAD and APPLICA, with the support of OSE - European Social Observatory.
For the United Kingdom our national independent experts will be:
- Professor Jonathan Bradshaw as co-ordinator and expert in social inclusion,
- Professor Caroline Glendinning will advise on long-term care issues,
- Professor Alan Maynard will provide analysis and advice on healthcare and
- Fran Bennett will advise on gender equity and social inclusion.