Frequently Asked Questions
The section below provides simplified responses to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about EPR:
1. The concept of being 'leading' refers to the high quality of the service provision, as well as to the capacity in terms of expertise and range of services the organisations offer. The concept refers also to their experience in international cooperation and their impact at national level on policy-making and enhancing the sector.
2. EPR aims to represent 'best practice' in the rehabilitation sector rather than the entire sector. Over the years, EPR has proved to have both know-how and operational capacity to play a prominent role in service provision to people with disabilities and other marginalised groups. At the same time, EPR adopted a policy of cooperation with other umbrella networks of social service providers in its lobby and public affairs activities. Finally, the main mission of EPR as network of individual organisations is to support its members, and via those activities contribute to enhancing the sector.
3. EPR is most well known for its activities in the field of European quality systems in social services (EQUASS). Besides, EPR has actively engaged over the years in employment for people with disabilities, user-involvement in all its aspects, and modelling of disability policies at national level. Training professionals in the rehabilitation sector on these and many other issues is a key activity of the network.
4. The EPR membership currently comprises 28 organisations from 17 countries. EPR members are in principle single, private not-for-profit social service providers. Exceptionally, umbrellas or public providers can become a member. They operate services for people with disabilities and other socially disadvantaged groups. These services include vocational education and training, (re)integration, special and mainstream education and health and social care services.
5. EPR members offer a very wide range of services which include vocational education and training, (re)integration, special and mainstream education, medical rehabilitation and health and social care services. The main target group are people with disabilities in its widest sense, including adults, youths and children with congenital or acquired impairments of the psychological, intellectual physiological or anatomical structure or function.
6. The estimated annual turnover of EPR (in 2011) was about 950,000 Euro, and has been steadily growing over the years. Nearly half of the budget comes from membership fees, and since 2008, the EPR also receives structural funding from the European Commission. EQUASS activities, which are part of the budget, have a turnover of about 250,000 Euro, and the remaining income is generated from project and various service or consultancy contracts.
7. The EPR secretariat is composed of a core team of about eight people and benefits from the additional expertise of external consultants. It is headed by the Secretary General who reports to the Board of Directors. Other functions comprise a Project Coordinator and Assistant, a Communications/PR Officer, a Financial Administrator, the EQUASS Key Expert and Coordinator and an IT expert. In the light of the professionalisation of its activities, EPR increasingly makes use of external consultants.
8. The office is based in the heart of the European quarter in Brussels at 15, Rue de Spa. The office includes a nice, wheelchair accessible meeting room which can accommodate up to 25 people as well as some smaller-scale meeting facilities and full equipped working places. The facilities are mainly used for EPR activities, but are also at the disposal of member organisations and partners of EPR.
9. First of all, it should be noted that the project involvement of EPR is mission-driven, meaning that the main decision-criterion is whether the projects contribute to the wider strategic objectives of the network and its members. Over the last years, the EPR has become increasingly involved in EU funded projects, and the secretariat has built up substantial experience in project management and project administration. The principle is that EPR involves its members in its own projects, but the network sometimes also act as partner to strengthen the application of a member organisation. Finally, it should be mentioned that the EPR is increasingly approached by consultancy companies to provide specific expertise in their projects.
EPR is currently involved in projects on disability management (Reintegrate / LLL Programme) and accessibility of ICTs (AEGIS / 7th Research Framework Programme). A complete list of all project references can be downloaded here.
10. Offering value for money has for several years been the leading principle in the EPR strategic planning. EPR members are entitled to an individualised service package which is based on an in-house needs assessment and monitored on a permanent basis. The membership covers the participation in a wide range of professional development activities, and members are also entitled to a number of individual consultancy days. EPR activities have a very practical orientation, offering concrete solutions to day-to-day problems that service providers encounter.
Via EPR membership, service providers increase the quality of their service delivery and strengthen their competitive position. The organisations and their staff also become prepared for the ‘Europeanised’ rehabilitation market and receive direct access to EU funding. Finally, EPR membership provides organisations the international know-how and credibility they need to claim a leading role at the national level.