Today, many European governments are searching for new ways to involve their citizens in the provision and governance of publicly financed social services. At a general level, the reasons are similar throughout Europe. First is the challenge of an aging population; second is the growing democracy deficit at all levels, local, regional, national and European; and third is the semipermanent austerity in public finances, made more acute by the recent global economic crisis. The response to these three challenges will, of course, vary between countries and across sectors of service provision, but some general trends are nevertheless observable. First is the promotion of greater volunteering. Second is the growth of new and different ways to involve users of social services as co-producers of their own and others' services. Third is the spread of new techniques of co-management and co-governance of social services, where the third sector plays a more prominent role in various European countries. Fourth is the development of user councils or other forms of functional representation at the local level to engage users in a dialogue about public services and to facilitate user participation in the provision and governance of such services. Taken together, they represent a major social innovation in the provision of public services and imply a different relationship for the third sector vis-a-vis the state.