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Armenia

Accessibility of Integrated Social Services (AM0033)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Armenia’s Third National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.; World Vision Armenia NGO (upon consent), Harmonic Society Armenian Association of Social Workers (upon consent), Apaven NGO (upon consent), Mission Armenia NGO (upon consent), Full Life NGO (upon consent), Armenian Union of Deaf People NGO (upon consent), Armenian Association of the Blind NGO (upon consent), Bridge of Hope NGO (upon consent), Pyunik NGO (upon consent), Armenian Caritas NGO (upon consent), Armenian Association for the Disabled NGO (upon consent), SOS Children's Villages Armenian Charity Foundation (upon consent), Children's Support Center Fund (upon consent), Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) (upon consent), Armavir Development Center NGO (upon consent).

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia End-Term Report 2016-2018, Armenia Progress Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Issue subject to regulation: Nearly 80 state social protection programs are being carried out within the scope of integrated social services in the Republic of Armenia, and the procedures for protection vary. In this regard, there is a need to raise public awareness about business procedures of social services in a more accessible manner and with suitable instruments, as well as make social services more accessible. This will also ensure increase of transparency and confidence in state-citizen relations.; Main objective: The innovation instruments developed within the framework of the “Open&Social" commitment will ensure access to information on social services that is classified in detail and presented in an automated manner; participation of the public in the assessment of social services online; as well as rating of organizations providing these services, ensuring increase in accessibility and transparency of social services for the public.; Brief description of commitment: Introduction of "Open&Social" instrument based on collection, coordination, analysis and accessibility of data, and transformation of "114 Hot Line" Service into a Call Center.; OGP challenge addressed by the commitment: Improvement of public services Enhancement of public integrity; Relevance to OGP values: Under this committment, the quality of services provided by the State will be improved with the help of the processes ensuring public participation, and there will be more access to information and a higher level of public accountability.; Ambition: Through the feedback on the quality of social services, increase in the level of their effectiveness, access to information, ensuring of public participation.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Integrated social services and awareness raising

Commitment Text:

Title: Open and Social: Accessibility of integrated social services and awareness raising

Introduction of 'Open&Social' instrument based on collection, coordination, analysis and accessibility of data, and transformation of '114 Hot Line' Service into a Call Center.

The innovation instruments developed within the framework of the 'Open&Social' commitment will ensure access to information on social services that is classified in detail and presented in an automated manner; participation of the public in the assessment of social services online; as well as rating organizations providing these services, ensuring increase in accessibility and transparency of social services for the public.

The activities (milestones) under this commitment are as follows:

1. Introducing the 'Open&Social' instrument at http://www.esocial.am on-line information system of integrated social services for the purpose of ensuring access of the beneficiary to information on the social services that are available, ensuring automated provision of information on social services chosen by the beneficiary (Nov 16 – Jun 18).

2. Posting reports on the results subject to publication with regard to the monitoring and assessment of services provided in the social protection sector that are regularly carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, at http://www.elibsocial.am under the 'Knowledge Management System' of the social protection sector (Jan 17 – Jun 18).

3. Creating a platform where the public will be provided with an opportunity to give scores to the specific service and the organisation providing this service, and as a result of analysing these scores, such services and organisations functioning in the social protection sector will get a certain rating. Revision of services being provided based on opinions of the beneficiaries, simplification of working procedures and reduction of time (Dec 17 – Jun 18).

4. Extending the scope of services provided by Nork Technological and Awareness Center for Social Services Foundation (‘Nork Foundation’) by way of transforming the Hot Line Service into a Call Center, conducting internal investigation with regard to complaints and alerts received from the citizens (Jul 17 – Jun 18).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

Supporting institution(s): Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Diaspora.

Start date: November 2016 End date: June 2018

Context and Objectives

Nearly 80 state social protection programs are carried out within the scope of integrated social services in the Republic of Armenia, and the procedures for each program are different[Note147: OGP Third National Action Plan of the Republic of Armenia (2016-2018), http://ogp.am/u_files/file/3AP_ENG.docx]. In this regard, there is a need to raise awareness on procedures of social services in a more accessible manner and with suitable instruments, as well as to make social services more accessible. This is intended to be done through posting information on all state social protection services differentiated by location, beneficiary status, and type of service.

The commitment aims to introduce a comprehensive information platform presenting the eligibility for, and scope and mapping of, provided services. Thus, it promotes access to information and provides mechanisms for citizen participation.

The commitment text has medium specificity. The information to be provided at http://www.esocial.am and principles and criteria for rating organizations are not specified in detail in the descriptions of milestones 1 and 3. Milestone 2 clearly indicates that available monitoring and evaluation reports for services in this area, which are open to publication, will be posted. Milestone 4 entails the creation of a call center, but the difference between the call center and the Hot Line is not clarified.

The potential impact of the commitment is assessed as moderate. The representative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs noted that this commitment is carried out in the context of larger reforms in social protection and will contribute to changing the practice of social service delivery. Particularly, citizens would be able to learn about their rights and accessible services and procedures on application for specific services or benefits through a user-friendly internet platform. The staff of integrated service provision centers will also utilize the information and tools provided by the Open&Social initiative and thus increase the efficiency of services.[Note148: Arman Sargsyan (National Institute of Labor and Social Research, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 16 November 2017 ] Other stakeholders note that to effectively reach their objectives, the designed platforms should provide a user-friendly interface with accessible, regularly updated information. They should be widely promoted among the public.[Note149: Focus group discussion in Yerevan, 26 October 2017; Anahit Khachatryan (USAID), interview by IRM researcher, 8 November 2017; Suren Deheryan (Journalists for Future NGO) interview by IRM researcher, 28 November 2017.

]

Completion

The commitment is expected to be completed on time. The list of main legal acts and provisions related to social protection was drawn up by the National Institute of Labor and Social Research, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Certain detailed descriptions of services provided within the framework of state programs in the field of employment were developed. By the time of writing, http://www.esocial.am was fully functioning, providing mapping and description of the integrated social service centers, information on services and programs grouped by the category of specific social groups eligible for the given services, and the list of organizations providing services in each category, etc.

Within the framework of the second milestone, the monitoring and evaluation reports regarding the programs of the social protection sector implemented during
2012-2016, as well as related materials, were published in the electronic library of the online system http://www.elibsocial.am
. The system provides a free registration option with larger possibilities available for registered users.

Within the framework of the third action, the assessment of social services platform is still under development. The registered users of http://www.esocial.am will be given the opportunity to rate specific social services.

Technical problems were observed by the IRM researcher through usage of both platforms—esocial.am and elibsocial.am. The representative of the responsible state agency noted that the technical problems were due to a change of the hosting service.

Within the framework of the fourth action, no progress was registered. According to the representative of Pension System Awareness Center of Nork Foundation, technical enhancement of the 1–14 Hot Line center was carried out in early 2015, including the set-up of an online consultation service and a 24/7 hotline through registration of calls in non-working hours. However, since September 2017, the online consultation service is not available due to lack of financing.

Next Steps

The commitment should be completed in the remaining period of the action plan. The following recommendations are suggested by the IRM researcher based on discussions with stakeholders:

· Organize a large awareness-raising campaign to ensure the usability of the platforms by a wide range of social groups.

· Consider merging several different platforms operated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or a well-designed information brief (for example, on the Ministry’s websites) where purposes and possibilities of different platforms will be explained in an accessible and user-friendly manner.

· Ensure high technical capacity and proper functioning of the platforms.

· Provide accessibility and ease of reading text for average users. Short videos and images in graphical format can be considered for user-friendly presentation of information.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

7. Integrated social services and awareness raising

Commitment Text:

Title: Open and Social: Accessibility of integrated social services and awareness raising

Introduction of “Open&Social” instrument based on collection, coordination, analysis and accessibility of data, and transformation of “114 Hot Line” Service into a Call Center.

The innovation instruments developed within the framework of the “Open&Social' commitment will ensure access to information on social services that is classified in detail and presented in an automated manner; participation of the public in the assessment of social services online; as well as rating organizations providing these services, ensuring increase in accessibility and transparency of social services for the public.

The activities (milestones) under this commitment are as follows:

1.Introducing the 'Open&Social' instrument at http://www.esocial.am on-line information system of integrated social services for the purpose of ensuring access of the beneficiary to information on the social services that are available, ensuring automated provision of information on social services chosen by the beneficiary (Nov 16 – Jun 18).

2.Posting reports on the results subject to publication with regard to the monitoring and assessment of services provided in the social protection sector that are regularly carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, at http://www.elibsocial.am under the “Knowledge Management System” of the social protection sector (Jan 17 – Jun 18).

3.Creating a platform where the public will be provided with an opportunity to give scores to the specific service and the organisation providing this service, and as a result of analysing these scores, such services and organisations functioning in the social protection sector will get a certain rating. Revision of services being provided based on opinions of the beneficiaries, simplification of working procedures and reduction of time (Dec 17 – Jun 18).

4.Extending the scope of services provided by Nork Technological and Awareness Center for Social Services Foundation (‘Nork Foundation’) by way of transforming the Hot Line Service into a Call Center, conducting internal investigation with regard to complaints and alerts received from the citizens (Jul 17 – Jun 18).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Diaspora.

Start date: November 2016 End date: June 2018

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to post information on all state social protection services differentiated by location, beneficiary status, and type of service. The commitment introduced a comprehensive information platform presenting the eligibility for, and scope and mapping of, provided services. The commitment includes four milestones:

1.Introducing automated provision of information on social services based on the beneficiary information at http://www.esocial.am platform,

2.Online publication of monitoring and evaluation reports related to social protection sector,

3.Providing possibility for rating services and organizations functioning in the social protection sector,

4.Creating a call center through enhancement of Hot Line service responding to inquiries and complaints related to social protection services.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

By the midterm, the http://www.esocial.am platform was functioning, providing mapping and description of the integrated social service centers, information on services and programs grouped by the category of specific social groups eligible for the given services, and the list of organizations providing services in each category. However, automated search of information based on the eligibility criteria was not available. Within the framework of the second milestone, the monitoring and evaluation reports regarding the social protection sector programs implemented during 2012-2016, as well as related materials, were published in the electronic library of the online system http://www.elibsocial.am. The system provides a free registration option with larger possibilities available for registered users. Within the framework of the third action, the assessment of social services platform was still under development. The IRM researcher observed technical problems through usage of both platforms—esocial.am and elibsocial.am. The representative of the National Institute of Labor and Social Research of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, responsible for this commitment implementation, noted that the technical problems were due to a change of the hosting service.

Within the framework of the fourth milestone, no progress was registered. According to the representative of Pension System Awareness Center of Nork Foundation, the Center carried out technical enhancement of the 1–14 Hot Line center in early 2015, including the set-up of an online consultation service and a 24/7 hotline through registration of calls in non-working hours. However, in September 2017, the online consultation service was not available due to lack of financing. For more information, see the Armenia IRM Progress Report 2016–2017. [Note55: IRM Armenia Progress Report 2016-2018 (Year 1), 07 Accessibility of Integrated Social Services, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/commitment/07-accessibility-of-integr... ]

End of term: Substantial

There was no significant progress in commitment implementation during the second year of implementation. According to the commitment’s responsible person, representing the National Institute of Labor and Social Research of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the registered users of http://www.esocial.am were provided opportunity to rate specific social services. [Note56: Arman Sargsyan (National Institute of Labor and Social Research, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 03 September 2018] However, by the time of writing the report (September 2018), no ratings were available, mostly due to the website technical problems in user registration, as well as lack of awareness of potential users about the rating possibility. [Note57: Arman Sargsyan (National Institute of Labor and Social Research, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 03 September 2018] The online consultation service of the 1–14 Hot Line is also still not available.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Information on all social services, including description of allowances, links to relevant legal acts, and contacts of relevant organizations is available online at the http://www.esocial.am platform. However, the information is not user-friendly, as it provides extensive texts and legal terms while the option of receiving automated information by entering information on the user according to the defined criteria is not yet available yet. With the second milestone, the monitoring and evaluation reports are provided on elibsocial.am, which makes information related to monitoring and evaluation outcomes open to public.

Overall, the change in the access to information is marginal due to the provision of information on social services in one place, as well as making monitoring reports available online. However, this improvement could be more significant if the planned solution (provision of user-friendly information on social services and eligibility criteria in accessible manner tailored to the needs of the user) is completed, thus providing new mechanisms facilitating access to information.

The commitment has not contributed to any change in the opportunities and mechanisms of civil participation. When the platform is fully functioning, that is when users can rate social services provided, and in the case that the ratings are taken into account in the decision-making processes, it is possible that the commitment could contribute to the improvement in civic participation dimension.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report (September 2018), Armenia’s fourth action plan has not been finalized. During consultations for the fourth action plan, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has suggested carrying forward some components of the commitment to the next action plan. Based on the discussions with relevant stakeholders carried out for the development of the IRM Progress Report for Armenia’s third action plan, the IRM researcher reaffirms the following recommendations for more effective implementation and impact of the commitment:

·Organize a large awareness-raising campaign to ensure the usability of the platforms by a wide range of social groups;

·Consider merging several platforms operated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or preparing a well-designed information brief (for example, on the Ministry’s websites) where purposes and possibilities of different platforms will be explained in an accessible and user-friendly manner;

·Ensure high technical capacity and proper functioning of the platforms;

·Provide accessibility and ease of reading text for average users.

For Commitment detail, see Armenia End-Term Report 2016-2018.


Commitments

  1. Open Data in Official Declarations

    AM0035, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  2. Government Grant Transparency

    AM0036, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  3. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Modernization of Community Website

    AM0038, 2018, E-Government

  5. State Water Cadastre

    AM0039, 2018, E-Government

  6. Land Cadastre

    AM0040, 2018, E-Government

  7. Integrated Social Services

    AM0041, 2018, E-Government

  8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

    AM0042, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Exploring Medical Assistance Program

    AM0043, 2018, E-Government

  10. Platform for Submitting Petitions

    AM0044, 2018, E-Government

  11. Public Service Dashboard

    AM0045, 2018, E-Government

  12. State Travel Transparency

    AM0027, 2016, E-Government

  13. Accountability for Grants of the Government

    AM0028, 2016, E-Government

  14. Transparency of the State Budget

    AM0029, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  15. "Open Data" in Official Declaration:

    AM0030, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  16. Portal for Community Decisions.

    AM0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Accountability Licensing

    AM0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Accessibility of Integrated Social Services

    AM0033, 2016, E-Government

  19. "One-Stop-Shop" Pilot Project Within Military Registration Offices

    AM0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Digitization and publication of data in the “Republican Geological Fund” SNCO

    AM0016, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Ensuring Transparency in Mining

    AM0017, 2014, Extractive Industries

  22. Ensuring Public Awareness About Health Care Financing

    AM0018, 2014, E-Government

  23. Ensuring Transparency of Asset and Income Declarations of the RA High-Ranking Officials

    AM0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  24. Online Broadcasting of the State Procurement Appeals Board Sessions

    AM0020, 2014, E-Government

  25. Community Microsurvey Introduction in 10 Communities

    AM0021, 2014, E-Government

  26. Ensuring Open, Transparent, Participatory and Accountable Process of State Policies and Legislative Reforms

    AM0022, 2014, E-Government

  27. Public Awareness on the Lawmaking Activity of State Governance Bodies

    AM0023, 2014, E-Government

  28. Ensuring Transparency of the Election of Governing Boards of the RA General Secondary Education Institutions and of the Annual Budget Planning and Expenses of Ra General Secondary Education Institutions

    AM0024, 2014, Education

  29. Knowledge and Capacity Building of Public Servants in the Freedom of Information and Anticorruption Field

    AM0025, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Ensuring Transparency of Local Self Government Bodies of Large Communities

    AM0026, 2014, E-Government

  31. Reviewing the Regulatory Normative Legal Acts (Regulatory Guillotine Project)

    AM0001, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Improving Internal Audit System for the Public Sector

    AM0002, 2012, Audits and Controls

  33. Improving Procurement Procedures

    AM0003, 2012, Capacity Building

  34. Improving Budget Planning and Reporting Systems Through Full Utilization of Program Budgeting

    AM0004, 2012, Audits and Controls

  35. Promoting Transparency and Objectiveness in Tax Administration

    AM0005, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  36. Fight Against Corruption

    AM0006, 2012, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Introduction of a Unified Payment System (Portal)

    AM0007, 2012, E-Government

  38. State Car Inspection Improvements

    AM0008, 2012, Infrastructure & Transport

  39. Implementation of an Electronic System for Consular Services

    AM0009, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  40. Implementation of Mail-Armenia System

    AM0010, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  41. Introduction of e-Statistics System

    AM0011, 2012, E-Government

  42. Introduction of e-Documentation Sharing System in Urban Communities

    AM0012, 2012, E-Government

  43. Ensuring Transparency of Asset Declarations

    AM0013, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  44. Standardization of Offical Websites Content

    AM0014, 2012, E-Government

  45. Improvement of Knowledge and Skills of Public Servants on Access to Information

    AM0015, 2012, Capacity Building