What and why
Strong governance and administration facilitate streamlining and complementarity across the social protection system and avoid disconnection and competition among actors. Governments should establish clear lines of responsibility for the core system under one ministry and identify one delivery agency responsible for all schemes, with a clear division of labour and lines for coordination. Well-governed social protection systems benefit from strong accountability structures, active participation of diverse groups, transparency of operations and viable access to information.
Simplified institutional arrangements are key to achieve a streamlined governance and administration. In doing so, one line ministry or agency should be responsible for all oversight and coordination. This ministry needs to have strong convening power, which is typically linked with budgetary responsibility for the delivery. Moving away from fragmentation and toward more consolidated streamlining of authority and resources facilitates coverage expansion, effectiveness and visibility needed. Centralized oversight also ensures that the agreed vision for social protection (Milestone 1) is implemented with a higher degree of accountability, contributing to more effective sector wide planning, and in line with agreed monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
While there is no single solution for overcoming fragmentation, it is essential to centralize authority and administrative responsibility. Governments setting out to move away from fragmentation may consider:
- Merging the functions of Ministries of Labour with Ministries of Social Affairs on social protection.
- Consolidating administrative functions through establishing a unified social protection agency with coordination authority.
- Centralizing the collection of contributions and payments under one full-service social insurance institution
- Delivering contributory and non-contributory benefits through central administrative structures.
Indeed, countries with lower resources and capacity will be better served with less costly and more simplified institutional arrangements. Such arrangements will also position governments to have full oversight on coordination by:
- Putting in place formal structures for cross-sectoral coordination that are required to report to a higher authority, such as relevant oversight committees within the executive or legislative branch.
- Setting up formal structures to support strong coordination between central and local levels to support scheme implementation.
When considering these structures, the government should lead cross-sectoral coordination and involve representatives from the key actors and institutions, including ministries, partners, civil society organizations and development organizations. Coordination between central and local levels must be supported by clearly defined roles and responsibilities to ensure empowerment of local level authorities, strong information management that supports efficient service delivery, and effective implementation of policy decisions.