City dialogue on digitalising social services: Challenges, opportunities and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis

  • knowledge society
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The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the trend of digitalising public services. To minimise the virus spread, cities have been quick to move online many social services such as healthcare, employment services and social assistance. Many cities set up extra services online to provide counselling and tailored support to the most vulnerable target groups, and many reinforced online skills trainings with a focus on digital skills. However, the crisis has also deepened the digital divide, which needs to be addressed as part of cities' efforts to build resilience. Digital solutions for delivering public services, especially given the increasing demand for social services in cities, are essential to ensuring a fair, inclusive and sustainable recovery from this crisis.

EUROCITIES is bringing together city experts from social services and digital services to discuss jointly the common challenges and opportunities related to digitalising social services during the COVID-19 crisis. We will share know-how and good practices on digital solutions from cities to move social services online and lessons learned for the recovery post-COVID.

Join our city dialogue to discuss:

  • digital solutions to deliver and adapt social services online
  • innovative approaches from cities to e-inclusion and digital rights
  • how to deal with the GDPR law
  • how to tackle the digital divide and support the digitally excluded
  • lessons learned from COVID-19 on how to build resilience in digital and social services

Questions for discussion

  1. Which social services has your city moved online since the COVID-19 crisis started? How? Do you have any good experiences to share? Which lessons did you learn in the process?
  2. Which implications (positive and negative) does digitalising social services have for a) your city, b) service beneficiaries, and c) for all citizens in your city?
  3. Which challenges have you met in digitalising social services? How did you overcome them?
  4. How are you addressing the digital divide and digital exclusion affecting some people in your city? What extra support is there available for them to access digital services?
  5. What is the vision for (digital) social services in your city post-corona crisis? Are there any changes your city is considering in view of building their resilience? 


14.00 – 14.10 Welcome and introduction by EUROCITIES

14.10 – 14.30 Presentation of the findings from our survey on digitalising social services 

14.30 – 15.15 Interactive discussion on challenges, opportunities and lessons learned

15.15 – 16.00  Good practices from cities on digital citizenship and access to social services

16.00 – 16.15    Takeaways and follow-up 

Registration and further information

Registration is mandatory. Please register here: You will receive an email with the link to connect after your registration.

The city dialogue will take place online on Wednesday, 22 September, from 14.00 - 16.30 CET via Microsoft Teams.

Please find further information in the concept note below.

   EUROCITIES_city_dialogue_on_digitalising_social_services_22_September_2020_updateddownload/preview this file

EUROCITIES staff contact

Lodewijk NoordzijPolicy Officer Digital Transformation

EUROCITIES staff contact

Bianca Faragau-Tavares