Experts ask for communication strategies to prestige the Social Services system
In a debate organized by the iSocial Foundation, the invited experts agreed on the importance of developing and promoting national and local communication strategies to explain and value Social Services, mainly primary care from the world local The lack of a clear identity, invisibility, or even a distorted and stigmatized image, are now a burden for responsible administrations and for professionals working in Social Services.
This was the main conclusion of the debate, held at the Pati Manning in Barcelona on October 10 with the title “Communicate better to change the image of Social Services.” Led by Víctor Puig, professor of communication at Pompeu Fabra University and expert in reputation management, the debate was attended by the Director General of Social Services of the Generalitat, Meritxell Benedí; the Basque expert in Social Services, Fernando Fantova; and the journalist responsible for social issues of the ARA Newspaper, Natàlia Vila. Among the public, there were mainly Social Services professionals from city councils and county councils.
The speakers spoke of the lack of definition of the Social Services system itself; of its lack of prestige, even inward doors, which causes professionals or some areas of the system to not feel it as their own; or a distorted social image that reduces it to charity or action against poverty. An image that is very far from the robust and universal system that it intends to be, designed to ensure that no one is left behind. The low economic value and the little social prestige of healing tasks, strongly feminized, are surely the origin of this collective imaginary. At the same time, communication deficiencies may also have to do with wanting to go unnoticed because an increase in demand is not sought.
The solution is to develop and implement communication plans for Social Services, both aimed at the professionals of the system, as well as to the general public, to explain what the system does and to provide prestige. The new Strategic Plan of Social Services of Catalonia is an opportunity to advance in this objective. The Social Services do very positive things and impels important advances (the example of the “social supercases” of Barcelona is put) that are not enough to know, the media do not speak to them, and society does not put them in value
This should allow social services to be seen by society as assets to preserve, at the same level as the health system or the educational system, and that it was so attractive for a political leader to photograph himself before a New Social Services equipment, as it is done in front of a new school or a magnetic resonance device of a hospital.
In the course of the event, some examples of communicative campaigns that were made in other places were shown to highlight the Social Services. Fernando Fantova provided three examples: a 2018 campaign of the Generalitat Valenciana; a video by Sara Buesa, Councilor of the City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz, explaining what Social Services are; and a spot for the dissemination of the Social Services of Bilbao. On the other hand, Swedish-Catalan social worker Astrid Linström, a contributor to iSocial, contributed some examples of Sweden, as a campaign to prestige among young people the professions linked to Social Services; or a video to explain to the schoolchildren what Social Services do.