In many developed states regional and local authorities are given more powers in the field of the development and management of social security and welfare. The background of this decentralisation trend is diverse. Local authorities are thought to be in close contact with the citizens and their organisations, which makes them suitable actors to involve civil society in the running of the welfare state. Also constitutional devolution may play a role, as some states are actively redefining the balance of power between central state and regional government, a process which also affects the architecture of the social security system. The background may also be financial; it is not unusual for central governments to involve local administration in realising budget cuts in exchange for more powers for the latter.
On 28th and 29th September 2017, the European Institute of Social Security (EISS) organises together with the University of Groningen an international conference which is devoted to the trend of devolution and decentralisation in social security. The conference is aimed at bringing together academics, policy makers, social security administrators and client representatives. It has an outspoken ambition to present research from multiple disciplines, thereby contributing towards a more global understanding of the devolution and decentralisation trends in social security.