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Armenia

Integrated Social Services (AM0041)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

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

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and separated subdivisions Interested non-governmental organisations in the social protection sector, Armavir Development Center NGO

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

7. Open & Social: Access to integrated social services and raising awareness
Commitment Start and End Date: Commitment Start: November 2018
Commitment End: August 2020
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia
Person responsible from lead implementing agency Arman Sargsyan
Title, Department Director of the National Institute of Labour and Social Research
E-mail ceo.arman.sargsyan@nilsr.am; arman.sargsyan@mlsa.amPhone +374 10208344
Other actors involved Other state actors involved Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and separated subdivisions
Civil society, private sector Interested non-governmental organisations in the social protection sector, Armavir Development Center NGO
Issues subject to regulation Performance of the commitment is conditioned by the need to ensure continuity and logical end of the activities being implemented under Commitment 7 of the Third Action Plan of Open Government Partnership of the Republic of Armenia. Within the scope of provision of integrated social services, nearly 80 social protection state programmes are being carried out, which also imply various kinds of services with various preconditions and procedures. In this regard, there is a need for public awareness and a need to make social services more accessible, which will ensure transparency of state-citizen relations, raise the level of confidence and repress manifestations of corruption.
Around 80 social protection programmes operate within the system of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, which mainly presume services provided to the public, and each programme presumes, as a rule, a multiple-factor business process, information regarding which is not properly perceived by the public. In this respect, there is a need for ensuring sustainable, complete, accessible, targeted and manageable information on the sector of social protection among the public, which will, as a result, raise the public awareness and contribute to the suppression of corrupt practices within the social services due to the lack of awareness by the beneficiary, as the citizen will have a better knowledge of his or her rights. As a result, the beneficiary must be informed — in case of selection and entry of information about him or her — about the social services available specifically to him or her, the procedures for benefiting therefrom, the geography of provision of services, as well as relevant non-state organisations providing mapped social services. For example, the beneficiary shall — as a result of entry of information about him or her — be automatically informed about how probable is the possibility of receiving — by him or her — family insecurity benefit or benefiting from the programme for providing social apartments, how and where he or she must receive that service, what alternatives exist in organisations providing non-state social services, etc. That is to say, the beneficiary will be able to manage the indicators of his or her availability to social services by himself or herself.
Main objective Through the innovation tools developed within the scope of the Open&Social Commitment, accessibility of information about social services classified and presented automatically with online public participation, public participation in the process of evaluation of social services and rating of organisations providing services will be ensured, providing access to social services and raising public awareness.
Brief description of commitment Introduction of the Open&Social instrument, based on collection, co-ordination and analysis of data.
OGP challenge addressed by the commitment Improvement of public services, promotion of public integrity
Relevance to OGP values By this commitment, the processes ensuring public participation will help raise the quality of services provided by the state, will help essentially reduce the uncertainty of the public about social services in terms of information and will help raise the level of public accountability.
Ambition Raising the level of effectiveness of social services through feedback regarding the quality of those services, ensuring accessibility of information and public participation.
Promotes efforts for implementation of SDG Goals or Targets

Verifiable and measurable criteria for performance of commitment
Start Date:
End Date:
Ongoing Actions
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 for him/her, as well as mapping of organisations providing social services within the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia.
November 2018 August 2020
Creating a platform and developing and revising existing solutions, 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. Revising, based on opinions of beneficiaries, services being provided, simplification of working procedures, reduction of time. November 2018 August 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Access to Integrated Social Services

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [71]

Brief description: Introduction of the Open&Social instrument, based on collection, co-ordination and analysis of data.

Milestones

7.1 Introducing the "Open&Social" instrument at http://www.esocial.am online information system of integrated social services for the purpose of ensuring access of the beneficiary to information on the social services that are available for him/her, as well as mapping of organisations providing social services within the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia.

7.2 Creating a platform and developing and revising existing solutions, 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. Revising, based on opinions of beneficiaries, services being provided, simplification of working procedures, reduction of time.

Start Date: November 2018

End Date: August 2020

Context and Objectives

This commitment is a continuation of Commitment 7 from the third action plan, which was not fully completed, mainly due to a shortage of funding. This current commitment entails improving access to information on social protection programs and services by creating an online system (Open&Social) for visitors to obtain information on their eligibility for such services. In Armenia, about 80 state social protection programs are carried out, each providing several services with various preconditions and accompanying procedures. [72]

Through this platform, users will have the opportunity to enter their demographic information—such as age, family status, employment status, health status, or location—and receive information about the social services available. Visitors will also learn the procedures for getting these services or assistance, and which nonstate organizations provide alternative services in their geographic areas. These services include employment assistance, medical-social examinations for defining disability assistance, social allowances and pensions, and social worker assistance.

Thus, any person will be able to identify their eligibility for social services, and subjective interpretations and decisions by social service system employees will be minimized. Improved awareness of social programs and eligibility criteria will not only help to identify the relevant services to meet individual needs, but also raise the general level of public awareness and prevent corruptive practices in providing access to social services. Another feature of the platform will be a rating system for specific services and service providers. The feedback provided through this platform will help relevant state structures improve their practices.

Stakeholders find this commitment valuable, as it would allow easier access to information on relevant social services and benefits. If the system provides accurate information on eligibility, users will be able to request a review of their applications for certain services (if previously rejected). They can also call hotline services or turn to other responsible bodies if the social service rejected them. [73]

Some stakeholders question the usability of the platform, as the primary target audience of the commitment includes socially vulnerable groups that might not have internet access. Civil society organizations interviewed suggested that the commitment’s impact could be higher if relevant public servants (e.g., community administration, social workers) provided assistance to citizens in inputting and identifying their eligibility for services. [74] Knowing what services are available in the area may be useful for populations of major cities. However, in smaller communities, people learn of available services through word of mouth. The commitment also provides the possibility for users to rate services. However, it is not clear how users will be asked to give ratings or if it would be left up to citizens to access the system to provide ratings.

Overall, it is expected that the commitment will be a step forward in changing the practice of social service delivery. However, given the limitations of the website’s use and the uncertainty of the rating system, the potential impact is assessed as minor.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends specifying the features of the rating system in the commitment. Doing so would provide a clearer understanding of the rating criteria and its applicability (whether it is a quantitative score or whether more detailed assessment options are provided). The government should also clearly state how the ratings will inform policy development and implementation regarding social protection programs.

The IRM researcher also recommends the following:

  • Organize a large awareness-raising campaign to ensure the usability of the platform by a wide range of social groups. These include vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, economically disadvantaged families, and people living in remote communities. Television campaigns and the involvement of local social services can be effective in awareness raising. Community social workers should be involved to provide practical help to citizens in using the platform.
  • Ensure a high technical capacity and proper functioning of the platform. A civil society stakeholder commented on the need to ensure an adequate and professional design and structure of the website, making it easy to use and flexible for new page entries. [75]
  • Provide accessibility and ease of reading text for the average user. Short videos and images in graphic format can be considered for user-friendly presentation of the information.
[71] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc
[72] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc
[73] Naira Arakelyan (Armavir Development Center), interview by IRM researcher, 24 January 2019.
[74] Gayane Martirosyan (World Vision Armenia), phone interview by IRM researcher, 19 February 2019.
[75] Suren Deheryan (Journalists for Future), interview by IRM researcher, 14 March 2019.

Commitments

  1. Open Data in Official Declarations

    AM0035, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Government Grant Transparency

    AM0036, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  3. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Access to Information

  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, Access to Information

  8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

    AM0042, 2018, Access to Information

  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, Anti-Corruption

  14. Transparency of the State Budget

    AM0029, 2016, Access to Information

  15. "Open Data" in Official Declaration:

    AM0030, 2016, Access to Information

  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, Access to Information

  21. Ensuring Transparency in Mining

    AM0017, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  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, Anti-Corruption

  24. Online Broadcasting of the State Procurement Appeals Board Sessions

    AM0020, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  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, Access to Information

  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, Anti-Corruption

  33. Improving Procurement Procedures

    AM0003, 2012, Anti-Corruption

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

    AM0004, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  35. Promoting Transparency and Objectiveness in Tax Administration

    AM0005, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  36. Fight Against Corruption

    AM0006, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  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 & Immigration

  40. Implementation of Mail-Armenia System

    AM0010, 2012, Citizenship & 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, Anti-Corruption

  44. Standardization of Offical Websites Content

    AM0014, 2012, Access to Information

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

    AM0015, 2012, Access to Information

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