CALL FOR TENDER – Subcontracting external expertise

Open call for tender for research on the role of social partners in preventing third-party violence and harassment at work

Date of publication on the project partners’ website: 02 March 2021
Deadline for submissions: closed

Download the Call for Tender


1. Background

The research being contracted is part of a project entitled The role of social partners in preventing third-party violence and harassment at work, which has received financial support from the European Commission under budget line and which runs until 28 February 2023.

The project is coordinated by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and involves HOSPEEM, CEMR, CESI as co-applicants and ETF, ETNO, ETUCE, EUPAE, UITP as associated organisations. The project aims to assess the effectiveness at the national level of the EU Multi-sectoral social partners’ guidelines to tackle and prevent third-party violence and harassment related to work (2010), hereafter the Guidelines.

It will identify areas for improvements and explore possibilities for reviewing the Guidelines’ content and nature considering recent legislative developments and the ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment (2019). It will also aim to be an awareness-raising tool on a gender-sensitive approach to violence and harassment at the workplace.

It will include a mix of capacity-building among EU sectoral social partners and evidence-based policy recommendations addressed to the project partners, their members, and public authorities. It will consist of two European conferences with sectoral break-out discussions and seven webinars. The project focuses on public services, i.e., government, hospitals, education, public transport, supported by examples drawn from the private sector (telecoms), allowing to compare sectoral specificities and produce general policy recommendations. All are signatories to the Guidelines except public transport and telecoms, which have their sectoral agreements.

2. Purpose of the contract

Support is being sought from a researcher or a team of researchers to help facilitate the project run by the EU social partners EPSU, HOSPEEM, CEMR and CESI (project applicants). The contractor(s) will carry out comparative research on the prevalence and causes of third-party violence and harassment in the targeted sectors across the EU, legislative and social partner responses and assessment of the Guidelines’ effectiveness. The research will help social partners draw up their conclusions on how to improve the Guidelines’ implementation and, if necessary, based upon evidence, the guidelines’ content and nature. They will be in close contact with the project applicants via the Steering Group to ensure that the appropriate initial research is prepared and presented in due course. The final research report is useful for European organisations and their affiliates to improve preventive and response measures. The researchers will also assist with the organisation of the project webinars and conferences and with the coordination of the project to ensure practical outcomes.

3. Tasks to be performed by the contractor

The role and responsibilities of the researcher(s) and the preferred methodology for executing the tasks will be described in the following sections:

3.1 Research outline

The research will provide an overview of the current situation and draw up recommendations in close consultation with the project partners. It will examine:

  • Effectiveness and usefulness of the Guidelines in the abovementioned sectors and comparing with the situation in the two sectors which apply other sectoral instruments;
  • Relevant legislative, collective agreements and other instruments such as the ILO Convention 190;
  • The relationship between external and internal violence and harassment and whether both should be tackled separately;
  • Risk factors, e.g., human and material resources, dealing with vulnerable citizens, handling cash, quality and availability of services, discrimination (real or perceived), type of employment contracts, social cohesion at the workplace, working alone, digitalisation, sparse social dialogue, outsourcing, broader socio-economic factors;
  • Protection of and compensation for victims of violence and harassment and sanctions of perpetrators;
  • Preventive instruments, such as legislation, collective bargaining, data collection, risk assessments, reporting and follow-up, training of workers and management, health and safety and labour-related bodies.

3.2 Description of tasks

  • Participating in the project partners’ Steering Group meetings, the seven webinars and two conferences;
  • Assisting in the organisation of the webinars and conferences. This may include the moderation of various sessions during the events.
  • Liaising with the project partners in exploring and finding direct or indirect potential contacts from relevant employers’ organisations and trade unions in targeted countries and sectors to conduct comparative research;
  • Contacting representatives from national social partner organisations in the targeted sector and providing information on the project in cooperation with the respective project partners;
  • Drafting the survey addressed to national social partner organisations in the sector in the targeted countries after liaising with the project partners;
  • Identifying good practices from national social partners after liaising with the project partners;
  • Conducting targeted interviews/ testimonials with key opinion leaders of targeted sectors after liaising with the project partners;
  • Collecting and organising responses to the survey;
  • Drafting the content of the research report based on three main outcomes: 1.) responses collected via the survey, 2) information provided by participants and speakers during the webinars and conferences and 3) desk research;
  • Presenting the draft research report at the first conference;
  • Finalising the research report in coordination with project partners;
  • Presenting the final research report at the second conference.

3.3 Guidance and indications on tasks execution and methodology

The project will consist of comparative research on the prevalence and causes of third-party violence and harassment at work in the targeted sectors across the EU, legislative and social

partner responses and assessment of the Guidelines’ effectiveness. The researchers are expected to conduct quantitative research, such as a working-population based survey taking into account national specificities of the various sectors, as well as already

existing European databases, such as the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks.

The project partners foresee that the targeted countries be spread across the European Union, with two countries per region (North, East, South, Central and West). The targeted sectors correspond with those covered by the project partners, such as education (i.e. secondary schools), hospitals, prisons, employment services, urban public transport and administrative functions in local regional governments, after consultation with the researchers. Further to the quantitative analysis, the researcher should conduct at least four semi-structured or open-ended interviews with key opinion leaders in their respective sectors, which will provide direct examples of affected sectors. The interviews will be for communication purposes of the project applicants.

4. Expertise required

  • At least three years of experience in the fields of occupational safety and health, including psychosocial risks, third-party violence and harassment at work, and gender equality, preferably with an understanding of national and European social dialogue;
  • Familiar with the Multi-sectoral Guidelines, ILO Convention 190 and other relevant  European and international instruments regarding prevention of violence and harassment at work;
  • The researchers should be or be able to become familiar with the project partners’ publications on third-party violence.

5. Timetable

The project duration is from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2023. The draft research report must be made available no less than two weeks before the first conference. The researchers will present and test initial findings at the mid-term technical conference on 19 November 2021 (date TBC). They will use them to finetune research angles and carry out targeted interviews of project delegates. The researcher should finalise the draft of the research four weeks before the political conference on 25 November 2022 and finalise the report by 1 December 2022, taking into account the proceedings of the webinars and both conferences.

6. Price

The total budget for the research is 35 000,00 EUR (all taxes and charges included). The contractor’s travel and accommodation expenses to attend any of the project events and meet with the project partners will be covered separately from the project’s overall travel and accommodation budget.

7. Payments

EPSU will sign a contract with the subcontracted researcher(s). Payments will be made in three instalments depending on the contractors carrying out the relevant stages of the work in accordance with the contract. The first payment of 20% of the contract value on the contract’s signature, a further payment of 40% of the contract value on completion of initial findings of the research two weeks before the mid-term technical conference on 19 November 2021, and a final payment of 40% upon completion of the research report by 1 December 2022.

8. Selection criteria:

  • Verifiable expertise, experience and skills, as required and described above;
  • Proven knowledge/ evidence/track record of research (supported by publications, academic articles etc.) on sectoral social dialogue, in particular focusing on the targeted sectors;
  • Respect of the budgetary constraints and timeline.

9. Award criteria

The contract will be awarded to the tenderer whose offer represents the best value for money – taking into account the selection criteria. The principles of transparency and equal treatment to avoid any conflict of interest will be respected. It should be noted that the contract will not be awarded to a tenderer who receives less than 70% on the selection criteria.

10. Content and presentation of the bids

Tenders must be written in English. They must be signed by the tenderer or duly authorised representative and legible so that there can be no doubt about words and figures. Tenders must be clear and concise, demonstrating that they are able to meet the requirements of the specifications. All tenders must include at least two sections:

i) Technical proposal

The technical proposal must provide all the information needed for awarding the contract, including:

  • Description of relevant professional experience with an emphasis on the specific fields covered by invitation to tender;
  • All information and documents necessary to enable the project partners to appraise the bid based on the selection and award criteria set out above;
  • A detailed CV of the expert(s) involved in the project activities;
  • Specific information concerning the proposed methodology for delivering the tasks listed in part 2.

ii) Financial proposal

Prices of the financial proposal must be quoted in euros, including if the sub-contractor is based in a country that is not in the euro-area. As far as the tenderers of those countries are concerned, they cannot change the bid’s amount because of the exchange rate evolution. The tenderers choose the exchange rate and assume all risks or opportunities relating to the rate fluctuation. Prices shall be fixed and not subject to revision during the performance of the contract.

11. Selection of the bids

Offers must be received within 30 days of the date of publication of this call for tender by EPSU, i.e., by 2 April 2021. This call for tender is closed.

EPSU also has set up a page for this call for tender.

This project has received financial support from the European Union

*** Back to the main project webpage ***

HOSPEEM replies to the European Commission public consultation on the EU Strategic Framework for Occupational Safety and Health (2021 – 2027)

In the joint response to the public consultation, HOSPEEM and SGI Europe stressed that the Framework needs to grasp opportunities and anticipate challenges for working life in constant development, for the common good of employees, employers, citizens, and the operations, for long-term sustainable workplaces and society. It is to consider the role of digitalisation: While it could enhance productivity and create safer work processes’, its associated risks need to be assessed. Risks range from mental health due to adaptation to new working methods and increased work-related diseases due to a shift to sedentary work.

Download the HOSPEEM-SGI Response to the European Commission public consultation on the EU Strategic Framework for Occupational Safety and Health 2021 – 2027 (.Pdf)

HOSPEEM-EPSU Webinar on MSD in the health sector

From evidence to practice – Exchange between social partners and the way forward, 25 February 2021, 11:00 – 13:00 CET

The Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital and Healthcare Sector put its work and commitment on occupational safety and health (OSH) and in particular musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the top and centre of its Work Programme 2020-2022. Firstly, by updating its Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention with findings and practices from national social partners in the field of OSH, secondly by becoming EU-OSHA Healthy Workplace Campaign partners focusing on MSD; and thirdly by continuing to exchange on the relevance of the current regulatory framework on MSD at European level. Besides, HOSPEEM and EPSU have facilitated the development of the EU-OSHA discussion paper on MSD in the healthcare sector, which outlines the latest findings on MSD in the sector.

The webinar, organised jointly by HOSPEEM and EPSU, aims to exchange practices and discuss ideas with national sectoral social partners from the health sector across Europe to prevent MSD at the workplace. It will also look into the future, by enabling participants to provide input to the EU level social partners on the envisioned update on the Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention.

Watch the webinar video

Draft agenda (.pdf)

Presentation and background material:

Keynote on the discussion paper “Musculoskeletal disorders in the healthcare sector.” Lars L. Andersen, Professor, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark

Presentation of EU-OSHA Healthy Workplaces Campaign: Lighten the Load (2020 – 2022) Lorenzo Munar, Project Manager, EU-OSHA

Interactive break: how to use the TilThermometer – Nico Knibbe, Co-founder, LOCOmotion, Netherlands

Interventions from national social partners

Manual handling policy and training for the reduction of MSD in health care workers Nick Parkinson, National Health and Safety Manager, HSE, Ireland

Sotergo project – Anne Ranta, Work Environment Officer, JHL, Finland

ERGOPAR – Yolanda Gil Alonso, International and Youth Secretary, FSS-CCOO, Spain – in ES

Development and evaluation of risk assessment and interventions promoting safe patient manual handling in the Swedish healthcare sector – Strategies to prevent MSD – Charlotte Wåhlin, Associate Professor, Ergonomist, Linköping University, Sweden.

HOSPEEM-EPSU response to road map consultation on Cross-border healthcare – evaluation of patients’ rights (Directive 2011/24) 

HOSPEEM and EPSU were active in the process leading to the establishment of the Directive 2011/24, which regulates parts of the fundamental cornerstones of Member States’ health systems, such as the capacity to plan for the current as well as future needs within their respective systems. Reiterating the main messages from our joint letter from 15 December 2010, we would like to take the opportunity to underline that the Directive should aim to contribute to the quality and accessibility of patients’ care. Equal access to health care is a fundamental human right, which must be facilitated – to the extent possible – in the proximity of patients’ living surroundings or directly at the patient’s home, including through the use of digital solutions.

 It is paramount to support Member States to strengthen their national health systems, address the existing challenges and identify opportunities to create resilient health systems to improve patients’ cross-border healthcare access: This includes investment in health workforce and healthcare infrastructure comprising investment in working conditions to address health workforce shortages and medical deserts, access to continued professional development and life-long learning, coherent occupational safety and health prevention practices and guidelines as well as to reinforce equality in the access to healthcare between Member States and within them, taking into account the concept of integrated care. 

Download the HOSPEEM-EPSU response to road map consultation on Cross-border healthcare – evaluation of patients’ rights (Directive 2011/24)

HOSPEEM January newsletter is published

In this January Newsletter edition, you find a collection of challenges and lessons learnt in light of the COVID-19 outbreak by hospital and healthcare employers  well as a call for political support from European institutions to strengthen capacity building of sectoral social partners to be represented in the European sectoral social dialogue in the light of the recent publication of the Eurofound representativeness study for the Hospital Sector.

This newsletter also includes news from our Members in the U.K. and in the Netherlands, EU news, events and publications relevant for hospital employers.

15 January 2021: HOSPEEM Newsletter 2021 – Issue 1

Collection of challenges and lessons learnt by hospital and healthcare employers on COVID-19

The document provides a first insight into challenges and lessons learnt by hospital and healthcare employers, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. First commonalities between HOSPEEM Members are presented, followed by detailed information on the respective countries. The information collected ranged from May 2020 – 16 December 2020. Links to resources and references can be found in the footnotes.

The challenges and lessons learnt are clustered around four areas:

  1. Organisational challenges in terms of health workforce and shortages;
  2. Organisational challenges related to Personal Protective Equipment;
  3. The organisation of training for health workforce usually not working in the ICU setting;
  4. Risk assessment for the health workforce to assess their health status and “being fit for work”.

HOSPEEM’s summary on European Commission Expert Panel Opinion on Effective Ways of Investing in Health on the organisation of resilient health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic

Following the publication of the Expert Panel’s opinion on Effective Ways of Investing in Health on the organisation of resilient health and social care following the COVID-19 pandemic, HOSPEEM drafted a summary focusing on the health workforce.

About the opinion

The opinion identifies the building blocks of resilient health and social care, explores the elements and conditions for capacity building to strengthen health system resilience, addresses healthcare needs of vulnerable patients at times of crisis, and defines a blueprint for health systems’ resilience testing.

Download the HOSPEEM summary

Download the European Commission Expert Panel’s opinion

Download the European Commission fact sheet

Commitment to the WHO Charter on Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety

Brussels, 16 November

HOSPEEM expresses its commitment to the World Health Organizations’ Charter on Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety. We agree that the health, safety, and well-being of health workers is a prerequisite for an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides the already mentioned key measures, HOSPEEM commits to the following:

1. Establish synergies between health worker safety and patient safety policies and strategies.

Aim to ensure the health workers’ safety when implementing the HOSPEEM-EPSU Joint Declaration on CPD and LLL for All Health Workers in the EU, which has been adopted in 2016.

2. Develop and implement national programmes for better occupational health and safety of health workers.

Updating the HOSPEEM-EPSU Framework of Actions on Recruitment and Retention (2010) with lessons’ learnt from COVID-19 and previous joint projects on occupational safety and health.

3. Protect health workers from violence in the workplace.

Promote the implementation of the Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work, signed in 2010 and reaffirmed in 2020.

4. Improve mental health and psychological well-being of the health workforce.

Collect lessons learnt from national sectoral social partners in the hospital sector in the context of COVID-19 and create space for the exchange of good practices on improving mental health and the psychological well-being of the health workforce.

5. Protect health workers from physical and biological hazards.

Monitoring the developments of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive 2004/37/EC concerning the inclusion of hazardous medicinal products and cytotoxic substances as well as the development of non-binding measures in this regard.

Active participation as Official Campaign Partner in the EU-OSHA Healthy Workplace Campaign Lighten the Load (2020-2022).

Promoting the implementation of the Medical Sharps Directive 2010/32/EU in the European Member States by strengthening synergies with other relevant stakeholders.

Aim to ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity, of appropriate fit and acceptable quality.

Download the HOSPEEM committment to the WHOs’ Charter on Health Worker Safety (Pdf)

Nb: WHO invites all Member States, intergovernmental organizations, international organizations and relevant stakeholders to support and endorse this charter by signing up.

WHO technical resources – useful links:

Image credits: Courtesy of the World Health Organisation, 2020

Input for new initiatives at EU, national, regional or local level in the frame of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights

Brussels, 13 November 2020

The European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM) welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the envisioned Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular on Principle 8, which encourages the EU Member States to support the increased capacity of social partners to promote social dialogue.

Since HOSPEEM’s recognition as European sectoral social partner in 2006, we have been active in capacity building of national employers’ organisation in forms of EU-funded projects, focusing among others on East Central and Southern Europe, including accession countries [1],[2],[3] and by participating in the Eurofound research study on capacity building for effective social dialogue in the European Union. Besides HOSPEEM’s recruitment efforts, we met with former European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen’s cabinet staff, raising awareness and inquiring support from the European institutions. Likewise, we have sent meeting requests to various Permanent Representations to the EU to discuss this very topic.

As the recently published Eurofound representativeness study for the human health sector revealed, there are nine EU Member States[4] where employer organisations exist and active in collective bargaining but are not affiliated to HOSPEEM. As a direct consequence, those organisations and countries do not have the opportunity to represent their national interest and contribute to the agenda-setting and decision-making in the frame of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees. Additionally, their voices are not being heard when, for example, European sectoral social partners close framework agreements which can be transposed in binding legislation across the EU (cf. Council Directive 2010/32/EU). The study also noted that there are seven EU Member States[5] where “there is no sectoral employer organisation”.

Whereas HOSPEEM sees Eurofound’s findings as an excellent opportunity to increase its membership and hence its representation at European level, we also believe that European institutions and Members States miss the opportunity to draw on the full potential of EU legislation, such as TFEU Art. 154, further strengthening the delivery of a strong social Europe for just transitions.

We are aware that the existence of autonomous employer organisations, with the mandate to negotiate collective bargaining at the national level, is still limited in various EU Member States among others due to historical and organisational national structures. We, therefore, welcome the European Commission Communication on the 2020 European Semester: Country-specific recommendations highlighting that “a well-functioning social dialogue is key to ensure that measures taken are successful, inclusive and sustainable” and that “in some Member States there is clearly room for a better functioning social dialogue”.

To echo the quadripartite statement on the Relaunch of Social Dialogue[6], HOSPEEM would like to stress that trust, formal and timely consultation with the social partners as well as support through robust EU-funding is a pre-requisite for a well-functioning social dialogue. Furthermore, the independence of social dialogue and social partners from the national government and political influence is essential, to fully representing the interest of workers and employers alike.

We, therefore, call upon the European Commission, in collaboration with EU Member States and consultation with European social partners to develop coherent structures and implement robust mechanisms as well as initiatives for:

  • the formation of employer organisations on a national level; and
  • encourage already established employer organisations to become actively involved in European sectoral social dialogue structures while respecting national specificities and autonomy.
[1] HOSPEEM (2008) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector in the new Member States and candidate countries
[2] HOSPEEM (2011) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector in the Baltic countries
[3] HOSPEEM (2019) HOSPEEM-EPSU Project on Strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector
[4] Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal (The Bulgarian employers’ organisation left HOSPEEM in beginning of 2020 and the Belgian employers’ organisation joined HOSPEEM mid-2020.)
[5] Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Malta, and Poland
[6] co-signed by the European Commission, the European Council, and the cross-sectoral social partners in June 2016

Download the HOSPEEM response to the EPSRS (Pdf)

Press Release on the Representativeness of the European Social Partner Organisations: Human Health Sector


Brussels, 12 November 2020

HOSPEEM welcomes the findings of the Eurofound representativeness study for the human health sector.

HOSPEEM calls for political support by the European Union and the Member States to promote social dialogue at the national level and to create an enabling environment for sectoral social partners in fostering capacity building processes.

HOSPEEM continues to be the most representative European hospital employers’ association, a leading voice in the EU sectoral social dialogue also initiating Council decision’s[1]. HOSPEEM’s members facilitate the most efficient provision of services while ensuring healthcare professionals and patients’ safety alike. Unlike any other sector, the COVID-19 pandemic is massively impacting the hospital sector, ranging from reorganising healthcare services and putting mental and physical strains on the health workforce and hospital employers, as highlighted in HOSPEEM’s statement on COVID-19. The European Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital Sector (SSDC HS) continues to be the primary European forum for sectoral social partners to address these and other relevant and challenging topics on both national and EU health agendas.

HOSPEEM believes that the political support by European institutions and Members States is needed to deliver on the envisaged Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular, the capacity building of social partners to promote social dialogue as well as on the Country-Specific Recommendations of the European Semester.

The European Commission and European Parliament indeed recognise the increasing importance of health, by proposing to build a European Health Union, to include health services in the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Critical Infrastructure Directive. Together with the European Council, the institutions also agreed on a EUR 5.07 billion EU4Health budget[2].

The role and active involvement of sectoral social partners at EU level are therefore essential to ensure that their voice is heard.

[1] Eurofound (2020) European sectoral social partner organisations and their representativeness

[2] Amount in 2018 prices

Download the Press Release (Pdf)