PRISSM: Newsletter #2

PRISSM: Newsletter #2

Promotion of integration in the planing and provision of social services within Local Authorities through municipal staff vocational training - A Lever for Local Development

Almost fifteen months have passed since the official launching of PRISSM and we are now in the core part of the implementation of the project. PRISSM is evolving fast and its scope and methods become clearer through the various activities both planned and already accomplished. An essential step for the consolidation of the PRISSM consortium was the educational trip to Northern Ireland which took place in the beginning of September. It was essential for experiencing a live example of integration in the field of Health Care along with sharing information with municipal agents practicing it. A second important step was the preparation and implementation of the workshop for training the trainers, which took place in mid-November. It was a painstaking stage, as it required careful planning and preparation along with the production of all relevant documents and a board-game helping future trainees get in the position of users of municipal services in an integrated environment.

Finally, the participant municipalities have started carrying out the training workshops for their employees. At the time of writing this newsletter the municipalities of Agia Varvara and Trikala have already accomplished their workshops and Alytus is just about to accomplish it.

Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) located in Northern Ireland provides a broad range of health and social care services for people across the local council areas of Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Cookstown, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle and Newtown Αbbey. It serves 459.000 people in total, functioning from about 150 different locations, including hospitals, day centres, health centre, hospices, even people's houses.
The strength of the integrated model is its client-centered character, especially in circumstances of economic crisis where there is a strong increase in demand for both health and social services at a local level. It is also worth mentioning that for NHSCT integration offers care workers new perspectives in career and professional development.
The Study trip


The study visit to Northern Health & Social Services Trust (NHSCT), Northern Ireland took place from Tuesday 10th September through to Thursday 12th September 2013.

It was a very dynamic trip, including presentations by members of NHSCT, meetings with employees working on integration as well as with local councilors. (The exact programme and the day-by-day schedule features in the 1st newsletter).

Here we will present the basic points of the evaluation process.


Evaluation was an important step of the educational activity. At the end of each day an evaluation questionnaire was distributed to the participants, who were thus asked to evaluate their experience and the educational aspects presented during the training.

The results of the evaluation revealed that the participants evaluated positively the educational trip (the objectives were met, interaction was encouraged, the content was clear, the material that was sent to Athens was helpful, the trainers were very knowledgeable etc).

The participants felt that after the trip they could achieve integration in projects they will lead, although they would probably seek for further guidance and support.

At the same time the participants felt that they needed a more structured presentation on how the new service become functional and that they would like to be more directly involved in decision making for setting up services in Greece and Lithuania.

Furthermore, they thought that they would like to spend more time with staff and discuss further some of the issues related to integration in practice.

From the point of view of NHSCT the experience was judged positive as well. In particular the organizers thought that networking with other teams from across the EU was an invigorating experience, that a Helping Hands approach empowering nurses would have more positive results on patients, that they should facilitate participants in their own development and that they should support a culture of trust across the nursing family.

A general sense was that the work achieved during the training had to be directly applied in the respective countries.


Fig. 1. D’Amour’s dimensions of collaboration between health professionals and organisations

Fig. 2: The participants at the workshop at Antrim

Fig 3: Trainers in action at Antrim

Fig. 4: Trainees and trainers in the study room
Aim and scope of the Trainers' training

Training of trainers is an essential step to the PRISSM project, as the trainers will be able to train municipal staff afterwards. This training programme came to fulfill a need stemming from the general lack of structured training courses on promoting Integration Strategies, particularly at the Local Authorities' level. The aims of the trainers' training were:

  • to provide specialized knowledge on different aspects of integration to the trainers, who don't necessarily have any prior knowledge on such issues
  • to standardize a trainers' training course
  • to entice the trainers' further training
  • to facilitate an active linkage between theory and action.
Fig.5: Trainers and trainees at Vitry-le-François
Methodology of the training of trainers

The training methodology included a theoretical and an experiential part through the half-day-long visit to the French municipality of Vitry-le-François. Furthermore, the University of Reims prepared a video and a board game to help trainees experience what is experienced by a person or a family who requires social services in a context of fragmentation of services. In order to design and implement the trainers' training, the team of the University of Reims took in account the following:

  • The research results as well as literature on integration, particularly the findings of the CARMEN project.
  • The special features of Local Administration in Europe and particularly in the participant countries (namely Greece and Lithuania)
  • The special features of Social Services which are provided by Local Administration
A face to face training methodology was used, including a visit to a French municipality during the last half-day and exercises and instructions for trainers.
Preparatory activities for the implementation of the Training Courses for the municipal employees

The training material was tested following a discussion with the Municipality and Community of Communes of Vitry-le-François (Marne, Champagne-Ardenne). A special meeting was organized in advance (in September) with employees of the municipality. Together with the heads of municipal staff, the trainers from University of Reims worked on some examples illustrating the methodology towards integration and the various degrees of integrated services. This process made methodology much clearer and examples more eloquent.

Implementation of the trainers' training

The training of trainers took place in Reims and in the nearby municipality of Vitry-le-François (80 klms distance from Reims) on 14-15 November 2013. The training of the trainers was undertaken by Dr. Fabrice Thuriot (coordinator of the PRISSM project on behalf of the Research Centre on Territorial Decentralization of the University of Reims-Champagne-Ardennes) and Laurent Bouquet (researcher for the PRISSM project in the same research centre). Some heads of offices and elected representatives of Vitry-le-François joined the half-day-long workshop at the aforementioned municipality and focused on activities such as the one-stop service centre of the Communal Centre of Social Action, the organization of extra-curricular activities for schools with the support of several municipal and inter-municipal services and the formation of a cultural structure, which was the result of the merging of two structures for music and performing arts.
A training handbook had been produced in advance and given to the trainers along with complementary documents. The partner municipalities had chosen some experts, specialized in the field of social services, to undertake the role of trainers. Training was based on the training material resulting from the collaboration of the University of Reims-Champagne with Vitry-le-François which provided examples from a one-stop service centre (Communal Centre of Social Actions), and with NHSCT, which provided guidance and information on the health part of the training handbook. The implementation of the trainers' training has been judged very satisfactory by the trainers.


Fig. 6: Training in action at Vitry-le- François

Τhe training workshop at the municipality of Agia Varvara took place on January 30th and 31st, 2014. The main trainer was mrs. F. Katsouli, who had participated at the traines' training in Reims and Vitry - le - François. On the first day Integration was linked to the general notion of Total Quality Management (by mrs. A. Siapera, Head of Social Policy); furthermore the following topics were covered: notion and aim of integration, various levels of integration, the importance of needs' analysis, the planning of communication policy at the beginning of integration processes, as well as some proposals for the reorganization of the social services of local administration. The content of the second second day was marked by a hands-on, more experiential approach. After the presentation of the example of Vitry le François on the integrated services of local administration, the trainees were divided in groups and prepared a project based on integrated services which could be implemented in the municipality of Agia Varvara. The project proposals were presented during the second half of the day and discussion followed.

Fig. 7-8: Workshop at Agia Varvara

The PRISSM workshop of the municipality of Trikala took place on the 4th and 5th of February 2014 in the City Hall. Leading trainer was Mrs. C.Karaberi, who had attended the trainers' training in Reims and Vitry-le-François. Maria Mavromatidou and Athanasios Ballis also gave presentations on selected topics. Employees of major Municipal enterprises, such as the city library, the social services, the social welfare and Urban planning participated at the workshop, responding to an electronic invitation. The workshop had a total duration of 18 hours and it was covered by and shown at the local media, particularly the local TV and newspapers.

The topics covered included a thorough presentation of the notion and function of integration at the services' level and the effective human resources management, a presentation of the different levels of integration, complemented by examples of integration from France and Greece. Furthermore, Mrs. Karaberi presented examples of integration in the public sector and summed up the main characteristics of integration. Mrs. Mavromatidou then presented a potential integration action in a regional nursery school and Mr. A. Ballis referred to the aid of technology in applied integration services as well as to the linkage between theory and practice of integration. The last phase of the workshop included a brainstorming on Integration during which the trainees were asked to present their sectors' needs and weaknesses and also to plan an integration action.

Fig. 9: Training workshop in the City Hall of Trikala
At the end of the second day an evaluation form was administered to the attendants in order for them to assess their level of understanding as well as the training material. According to the completed forms the overall experience was positive. Finally, e-Trikala created an on-line library including the powerpoint presentations of the workshop, an integration proposal form, a self assessment questionnaire and several documents about integration.
E-learning platform

The electronic platform for e-learning through which employees of municipalities, organizations, municipal services as well as professional in the social services will have the opportunity to be trained in integration issues will be launched very soon. The e-learning will be in English, thus enabling participation by several european countries.

Dissemination activities

Within the next few weeks, E.G.T.C. Amphictyony will reinforce the dissemination activities, in order to increase visitability to the programme's internet site and particularly to inform on the launching of the e-learning platform. Dissemination activities will now on aim at increasing the participation of municipalities and other agents at the e-learning programme, so that large section of the employees of local administration can impart the notion of integration.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.