It is now understood that economic growth alone is not sufficient to lift the poorest and most vulnerable households out of poverty. Social protection is an essential investment, not only to protect households from transient poverty due to ‘shocks’ such as drought, but also to promote the livelihoods of the chronically poor. Well-targeted social protection contributes to economic growth, and makes that growth more pro-poor by providing a spring-board out of poverty and into productive livelihoods.
Governments need to provide for their citizens – it is not simply good governance, but also important to maintain stability. Where a government is able to support its citizens through an effective social protection system, the likelihood of violent conflict or demonstrations is reduced. In terms of governance, it is a clear indication of progress if a state can provide its citizens with a coherent social protection system. However, the resources of governments in developing countries are under great pressure, and social protection adds to this burden. All too often, pension and social assistance programmes are unsustainable as they rely too heavily on donor support.
We take pride in working directly with government ministries and agencies to design and develop fully-costed and affordable systems that will last long after donor funds have moved on. Often this includes targeting – with finite resources (human and financial) social assistance must be targeted to those individuals that really need support.
HTSPE’s work in the sector of social protection is focused in two main areas: social insurance (contributory systems where individuals can cushion the risks of unemployment, ill health, disability, injury or old age); and social assistance (non-contributory social services for the most vulnerable groups). Our work in these areas focuses on the government level, where we have worked in a variety of environments, including the former Soviet Union (Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine), emerging and conflict-affected states (occupied Palestinian territories, Southern Sudan, Afghanistan), and developing countries (Lesotho, Kenya).
The scope of our work in social protection has included:
Afghanistan: Social Protection Feasibility Study
In Afghanistan, years of civil conflict and hardship have led to a weakened social infrastructure that can no longer provide the traditional safety nets and many socio–cultural traditions offer no protection to the most vulnerable especially in urban areas. The result is ever-increasing marginalisation of certain vulnerable groups. One particularly visible group is the street children, elderly and women beggars, homeless and drug-addicted.
A number of factors relating to the dismantlement of community support networks increasingly make vulnerability in urban centres a prominent issue. Factors such as the collapse of public services, shortage of housing, insecure employment opportunities, frequent movement of households and ever-increasing levels of hard drug consumption have led to a higher number of vulnerable groups in urban areas.
HTSPE worked with the government of Afghanistan and the EC in the following areas:
- in co-ordination with other actors involved in the sector, assessed the targeting of vulnerable groups, with an analysis of the specific support;
- assessed the feasibility of providing emergency support to the people living/wandering/begging with regular patrolling especially during winter months;
- identification of the best international agencies to act as implementing partners for the various actions;
- investigated the educational needs of certain vulnerable groups;
- assessed the institutional and operational capacity of government actors and NGOs within the sector; and
- researched the best links with the EC programme for mental health.
South Sudan: Support to Southern Sudan Pension Fund
Through this project, HTSPE is providing technical assistance to the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to recommence the payment of pensions to retired civil servants. These pensions have not been paid since January 2008.
The project is working to deliver two main outputs: pension policy development and drafting of pension legislation regulating the Southern Sudan public servants pension scheme (SSPF); and institutional support to the Southern Sudan Pension Fund to enable them to manage the pension scheme effectively.
Significant programme components include:
- reviewing the various phases and institutional arrangements with regard to pension policies and systems;
- providing detailed advice with regard to options for a unified or segmented pension system;
- delivering practical training to Fund staff on various functions related to benefit administration; and
- providing technical assistance to support the process of restarting pension payments.
Palestine: Development and Implementation of Social Protection Systems
Social assistance in Palestine is provided through a complex web of organisations. This has inevitably led to wastage of resources and poor targeting of assistance. The Ministry of Social Affaris (MoSA) is the regulatory body and the implementing agency for the Social Protection System in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The two main objectives of the project are:
- To improve the capacity of the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) to carry out its mandate regarding social protection, including modernisation of its administration and putting in place means by which capacity can be continuously updated and maintained beyond the lifetime of the Project, in full cooperation with key stakeholders (i.e. General Personnel Council);
- To support the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) in implementing its responsibilities, particularly regarding reform of social safety nets and development and implementation of an integrated and comprehensive strategy and policy for a more effective social protection system covering all poor and vulnerable segments of the Palestinian population.
The HTSPE team is providing comprehensive support to MoSA to address key issues including business plans for all departments; a communications strategy, an IT strategy aligned with the new business strategy and social protection strategy, will be designed, adopted and implemented; and capacity building within the MoSA to further develop the social protection system.
Kyrgyz Republic: Social Protection and Public Finance Management
The objective of this contract is to support Government structural reforms in areas related to social protection and public finance management.
Reforms in the area of social protection should lead to changes in the existing legislation. The project will also have a fiscal impact, assisting the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MoLSD) to cost the budget for social benefits after the existing legislation is redrafted. Social transfers need to be targeted to maximise the impact from the constrained budget. In addition, the team is working to ensure the targeting system avoids disincentive effects (reduced labour supply and hiding of income to meet the eligibility target). As the EC has provided technical assistance to the MoLSD to redesign the social assistance scheme and is currently piloting a new scheme in selected regions, the advice in social protection reforms will take into consideration the achievements already made by the MoLSD.
For effective implementation of the reforms in social protection, HTSPE is:
- Assisting the MoLSD in its efforts to redesign the social assistance scheme;
- Assisting the MoLSD to draft the new legislation on social benefits;
- Assisting the Government to improve the management of vulnerable families and deprived children;
- Monitoring the proper execution of payment of social transfers ('state benefits').
Ukraine: Social Insurance Revenue Collection
This project assisted pension reform in Ukraine by reforming the social insurance administration to improve the capacity to collect revenues and award benefits. Revenue collection was split between four social insurance funds and the intention was to develop a unified collection service serving the collection needs of all four (and any future additional) funds.
The project had two main objectives:
- To identify the variations between the four funds in all aspects affecting the administration of the revenue collection system, including, but not restricted to, the legislation, the information flows, the cash flows and the enforcement procedures that would require unification;
- To advise on recommended administration designs that would best suit the proposed new revenue collection agency and fulfil the needs of the funds, allowing flexibility for changes in the future.
The work provided the background knowledge and recommendations to enable the subsequent development of a business plan, project plan, staffing plan, training plan, a detailed user requirement for IT, and a detailed list of amendments required for the legislation.
The project also dealt with social revenue collection policy reform issues, with the aim of improving collection levels and increasing the numbers of working people captured by the four insurance programmes. The intention was to make the new collection agency responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of compliance and to introduce a modern proactive approach to collection.
Lesotho: OVC Situation Analysis
There is currently no established comprehensive database on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in Lesotho. The registration of orphans, and the communication of those numbers to the Department of Social Welfare, is currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship (MoLGC). The Department of Social Welfare is meant to register ‘needy’ or ‘vulnerable’ children, but this process currently works by referral only, and is therefore very incomplete. Four development partners (EC, Global Fund, USAID/PEPFAR and UNICEF) joined forces to assist the Lesotho Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) in conducting a comprehensive OVC Situation Analysis
HTSPE is carrying out the data collection component of the analysis and specifically focusing on collecting, analysing and presenting data related to OVC in Lesotho. This will feed into the global OVC situation analysis. The objective of this work is to develop a national baseline study driven by empirical data and complemented by more qualitative measures (for example, through focus group discussion with various stakeholders, including OVC and caregivers), in order to provide firm empirical thresholds from which progress can be measured over time. This will include sound data disaggregated by age, gender, district, status of vulnerability and household status. It will provide the basis for the national OVC database and the MoHSW Monitoring and Evaluation system.
To view more detail or additional projects please click on the links below:
Social Protection and Public Finance Management
Development and Implementation of Social Protection Systems
Public Servants Pension Scheme Development & Technical Support to the South Sudan Pensions Fund
Fragile & Conflict Affected States Framework Agreement (FCAS)
South Sudan Electronic Payroll System