The SIIS Documentation and Studies Center was created in 1972 within the Eguia Careaga Foundation, in response to a significant shortfall in disseminating scientific and technical information existing in the social sphere.
In that year it was decided to create an international information service specialized in the field of disability. With this service, closely linked to the associative movement of the time, an answer was sought to the need felt by those working in this field to access the growing volume of documentation and information, focusing on mental deficiency in its inception and -since it was obvious that this could not be dealt in isolation mainly in its social aspect- opening to disability as a whole and, finally, to social services in general.
Since its founding, the SIIS has played a leading role in the development of social policies in the Basque Country. From its documentation center and in line with think tanks or Anglo-Saxon idea-laboratories, the SIIS has been configured over the years as a tool for improving social integration policies, the organization of Social Services and the practice of professionals of social action. During these years, the SIIS has contributed to enhancing reflection and practice relating to social policies, disseminating and introducing issues -such as labor and educational integration of people with disabilities, care for carers, individualization of care or the pursuit of quality in service rendering, always from a normalizing and community concept of social services- that today seem obvious but that on those days needed to be explained, discussed and accepted. In addition, it has done it in its own, rigorous style, apart from extreme positions, and respectful of the various options, that from a technical or political level, have been adopted in the planning and management of social services.
The staff of the SIIS, with centers in San Sebastian and Madrid, consists of twenty professionals specializing in documentation, sociology, demography, law, journalism, anthropology, economics and social work. In line with their international vocation, SIIS professionals, besides the Basque and Castilian languages, are fluent in other languages like French, English, German, Swedish or Danish.
One of the basic guidelines of the SIIS, and their initial raison d’être, has been to serve as a documentation center and library specializing in the field of political and social services. Currently the SIIS Documentation Centre is, at European level, a major bibliographic collection specialized in the field of political and social services.
Another major work area of the SIIS is research. Over the years, the SIIS has conducted studies, researches and reports on various aspects of social service policies: needs assessments, planning work in the field of social services, best practice manuals and implementation of quality programs, international comparative studies, literature reviews, observatories and indicators banks, regulatory technical drafts, etc.
In addition to its activities in the field of documentation and research, the SIIS carries out other parallel lines of work like editing specialized periodicals and themed documentary newsletters, managing web pages or making computer applications as directories or tools for planning and estimation of expenditure on social services.
The Center works through funding, mainly by the Eguia Careaga Foundation and public administrations with which annual cooperation agreements are established. Institutions regularly financing the activities of CIIS are:
In addition, and in a timely manner, the SIIS undertakes documentation and research tasks for the following organizations: Basque Ombudsman, Basque Economic and Social Council, Basque Institute for Women, all of them within the Basque Government. Board for Training and Innovation in Labor, of the Gipuzkoa Territory Chartered Assembly. Territory and Environment Planning, Euskadi-Aquitaine Region, etc.