Servicios Sociales Integrados Sociedad Cooperativa (S.S.I.) aims to empower home care providers, who are for the vast majority women. The cooperative, addressing the needs of its members, has thus been particularly active in the field of women’s rights and access to work.
The origins: organizing solidarity among care workers
S.S.I. was set up by 35 home care workers, specializing in the delivery of home care services in the municipality of Bilbao.
The history of SSI cooperative is similar to that of other social economy companies in Spain. In the 1980s, the welfare state was implementing an active policy to develop social services: consequently, self-employed people providing home care or other services, generally in an informal way, created collective organizations allowing them to coordinate their action and address the pressing need for formal care providers.
S.S.I. has thus acquired a long experience in work-sharing and promoting women’s rights and interests: it claims to be the unique large Spanish social cooperative managed exclusively by women.
A company rooted in its local community
S.S.I. has since then expanded, to become a cooperative business group composed of three entities: Aurrerantz (non-profit association), Euskarri (social cooperative), and HomeCarelab (R+D+i Unit).
Grupo S.S.I. is active in 15 municipalities within the provinces of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, with a staff of 470 workers (99% women). It provides assistance to 2,200 older people and their families. Its “home help service” adopts a broad approach of home care, integrating prevention and rehabilitation aspects.
Since its creation, Grupo S.S.I. has aimed to analyse and address older people’s needs and requirements. For this purpose, it set up a R+D+i unit (affiliated to the Basque Network of Science, Technology and Innovation), and established partnerships with important actors of technological and social innovation.
Improving quality and efficiency of elderly care through ICT
All the activity related to the managing of Grupo S.S.I. is supported by ICT tools. In this perspective, to improve its staff’s capacities, the cooperative developed an innovative professional training (CARER+) focusing on the use of ICT in home-care, acknowledged by Basque and Spanish governments.
Since modernization and experimentation is an ongoing process, the group is involved in several ongoing projects. An illustrative example is the MIDER Project (Model for remote home-intervention): 100 older people with no ICT competences nor computers were provided psychological support, cognitive stimulation or accompaniment at home, thanks to tablets and adapted software.
To go further:
S.S.I. website: www.grupossi.es
iCareCoops project, Best practices report on care cooperatives: project.icarecoops.eu