Publications on Social Policy subjects


The Social Policy Department produces a wide range of publications in every field of its activities. Here you find a short  presentation for each subject.

To order any of these books please visit the Bookshop online



Social Security

Guide to the concept of suitable employment in the context of unemployment benefit (2010)

The involuntary nature of unemployment and the unemployed person's availability for work are basic conditions for the award of unemployment insurance benefits. This is why the unemployed are obliged to accept offers of suitable employment and face penalties if they fail to comply with this requirement.

What criteria must employment meet in order to be considered suitable? What kind of employment can workers be required to accept on pain of losing their entitlement to unemployment benefit? Information collected from 31 Council of Europe member states in reply to these questions is set out in table form in this guide.

This publication also lays down guidelines to help member states to formulate or revise their policies concerning cases in which job seekers may refuse an offer of employment without incurring penalties. These guidelines are intended to offer practical assistance and reflect current practices in many European states. They do not claim to be exhaustive nor to be applicable in every member state, but they have been deliberately devised in a sufficiently general manner to allow member states to take account of their legislation and their national, social and economic context when incorporating them into their policies and administrative procedures.

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Social security - Protection at the international level and developments in Europe

What international and European legal instruments protect the right to social security? What are the obligations which states have assumed under these instruments? How is their application monitored? What are the trends in national legislation in relation to the standards of the European Code of Social Security and its protocol, the main Council of Europe instruments in the social security field? Is social security considered as a human right and how has the case law of the European Court of Human Rights developed in this area?

These are some of the key issues addressed in this publication, where the code and its protocol are viewed against the background of other standard-setting instruments, developments at national level and human rights.

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Social Security as a human right - the protection afforded by the European Convention on Human rights (Human rights files, N 23)

There is no mention in the European Convention on Human Rights of rights in the field of social security. Nevertheless, the Convention does protect certain of these rights which come into its area of application and this study sets out to explain how.
It also examines recent developments in the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights which, as well as affording procedural
guarantees, has widened and strengthened the material protection of specific rights.
In addition, examples are given of measures taken in the member states following judgments of the Court in cases concerning social security.
This sort of judgment is becoming more common, giving the Convention an ever-expanding social aspect which has an important impact at national level.
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European Code of Social Security - Short Guide

This publication prepared by Jason Nickless is meant to inform about the contents and meaning of the social security standards of the Council of Europe, to explain the ideas behind them and to situate them in the context of the different approaches to social security.

This short guide aims to provide a comprehensive concise and accurate information on the European Code of Social Security, the Protocol to the European Code of Social Security and the European Code of Social Security (Revised), which are the basic standard-setting instruments of the Council of Europe in the field of social security, as well as to explain the technical and complex provisions in an understandable manner and thus to help promoting these important legal instruments especially in the new member states of the Council of Europe.
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Co-ordination of Social Security in the Council of Europe: Short guide

This short guide aims to provide its readers with a detailed introduction to the social security co-ordination instruments of the Council of Europe. It describes the basic philosophies behind social security co-ordination; why it is needed and how it may be achieved. It deals also with social security co-ordination in practice by looking at the range of legal instruments available and briefly introducing some of the agreements that are currently in force in Europe. The following Council of Europe provisions on social security co-ordination are reviewed in this guide:
-The European Convention on Social and medical Assistance
-The European Convention on Social Security
-The Model Provisions for a bilateral Social Security Agreement
-The European Social Charter.
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Model provisions for a bilateral social security agreement and explanatory report

The aim of this book is to assist states (in particular, Central and Eastern European countries having joined the Council of Europe recently) with the drawing up of bilateral agreements on social security. The model provisions incorporate the basic principles of co-ordination: equal treatment, determination of applicable legislation, retention of acquired rights and of rights in course of acquisition and provision of benefits abroad.

The book is divided into four parts - general provisions, applicable legislation, special provisions concerning the various categories of benefits and miscellaneous provisions -and followed by an explanatory report, which aims to make suggested provisions easier to understand.
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Social security: a factor of social cohesion - Proceedings, Limassol, May 2004

Social security is an important tool to reduce poverty and to promote social and economic development. It is also a necessary complement to globalisation and structural adjustment policies.
This publication contains the proceedings of the Mediterrannean Conference "social security: a factor of social cohesion" which took place in Limassol on 27 and 28 May 2004.
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Social security and related issues - English French glossary

This glossary will be a privileged tool of translators, experts and all those working in the field of social issues. About 15 000 primary entries and a total of 28 500 terms contribute to make this glossary a comprehensive compilation in the field of social security.
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Social protection in the European Social Charter (Social Charter Monographs No. 7)

The European Social Charter is the only treaty in European law to apply to all the aspects of social protection which are the core of the European social model. It guarantees the right to social security, the right to social assistance and the right to benefit from social services.
This book explains the content of these provisions and the case law of the European Committee of Social Rights in the light of recent developments in Europe. The study gives further insight into the scope of the Charter's protection and the fundamental social rights of individuals confronted with various risks, such as illness, old age, poverty, etc.
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Access to Social Rights


Access to social rights in Europe

This book analyses the obstacles impeding access to different social rights within and across a range of fields. It also gives examples of how obstacles are being overcome, examines integrated measures implemented in the member states of the Council of Europe and identifies the principles on which measures to improve access to social rights should be based. Finally, the report develops cross-sectoral policy guidelines aimed at facilitating access to social rights.
It is divided into four parts - general provisions, applicable legislation, special provisions concerning the various categories of benefits and miscellaneous provisions -and followed by an explanatory report, which aims to make suggested provisions easier to understand.
Download (also available in Croatian - Czech - Latvian - Lithuanian - Portuguese)
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Access to social rights for people with disabilities in Europe

The report Access to social rights for people with disabilities in Europe describes general principles and measures designed to give people with disabilities access to social rights in Europe. However, it also identifies those obstacles that still impede access for people with disabilities to social rights and consequently to full participation in society. It gives numerous concrete examples of good practice, i.e. action taken by European states to overcome those obstacles. Finally, the report issues cross-sectoral recommendations for integrated policies aimed at facilitating access to social rights for people with disabilities in Europe.
This report is one of the main Council of Europe contributions to the European Year of Persons with Disabilities 2003.
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Social Policy for Families and Children


Parenting in contemporary Europe: a positive approach

This publication is an important element of the Council of Europe's recent work in the field of positive parenting leading up to the Committee of Ministers' Recommendation Rec(2006)19 on policy to support positive parenting. The authors review and analyse the major changes affecting parenting in Europe, arising from legal situations, research and practice. This work addresses the core issues related to positive parenting and non-violent upbringing, with particular emphasis on parents' entitlement to support from the state in carrying out their parental tasks.

Five themes are focused upon:
1. the legal situation and the results of research: what it means to be a parent according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe and new scientific knowledge;
2. current thinking on the use of violence and corporal punishment against children;
3. responses to family policy, especially in terms of support programmes and services for parenting and families;
4. the particular problems and needs of parents and children in situations of social exclusion; and
5. the relationship between parenting and drug-related behaviour among children and teenagers.

The book also includes the text of the Recommendation Rec(2006)19, "Keys for parents" and "Guidelines for professionals".
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Rights of children at risk and in care

Children should grow up in their families. When confronted with crises or difficult situations, families should receive necessary, specifically adapted assistance from public authorities to help solve their problems.
This is sometimes not possible, however, for example when parents are unable to bring up their children or when they represent a danger to them. The child and the parents must consequently be separated, with the parents' agreement or on the basis of a court ruling.
Placement must always be an exception and a temporary solution - as short as possible - only foreseeable if all the right conditions are met and if the principal aim is the best interest of the child, including a successful and prompt social integration or reintegration. The main objective should be the development and fulfilment of the child. His/her views should be taken into account, according to the child's age and degree of maturity.
Child protection and welfare, based on the rights of the child -including those of children in institutions - is a priority for the Council of Europe, as stated in Recommendation Rec(2005)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the rights of children living in residential institutions.
The harmful effects of institutions on child development having been demonstrated, the aims are to prevent the institutionalisation of children and to reduce the number of children subject to such measures through the development of alternatives.
This publication, while showing the importance of the issue and the necessity of dealing with it in a sensible and cautious way, also opens perspectives for the future.
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Eliminating corporal punishment: a human rights imperative for Europe's children

"You can stop but you cannot take it back." This is how a group of children recently invited by the Council of Europe to discuss positive and non-violent parenting expressed themselves about corporal punishment. Regardless of how badly a parent feels afterwards, some wounds may never heal.
For the Council of Europe, children are not mini-persons with mini-rights, mini-feelings and mini-human dignity. They are vulnerable human beings with full rights and they need protection which always takes the best interests of the child into account.
Banning all corporal punishment, including within the family, in all its 46 member states is a major concern and commitment for the Council of Europe. The foundation for this commitment is provided by the human rights standards set by various legal instruments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by all member states), the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter and revised Social Charter.
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Protecting children against corporal punishment - Awareness-raising campaigns

Is smacking a child an acceptable form of punishment? The answer is no. However, research has shown that the vast majority of children throughout Europe have experienced some form of corporal punishment. This publication describes how to raise awareness, primarily through campaigns to reduce corporal punishment, and goes on to discuss how child abuse can be prevented.
Case studies of three successful awareness-campaigns in the United Kingdom, Poland and the United States are presented in detail and are used as a starting point to describe how best to carry out such campaigns. The case studies cover aspects such as working effectively with the media and pooling the work of the police, local authorities, teachers, parents and professionals.
Three useful model questionnaires aimed at support services, children and professionals are included at the end of this publication.
While this book will be of particular interest to specialists who work in the child protection field, it will also be of interest to teachers, parents and health-care professionals.
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