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03.01.2017

Social Service Provision System in Georgia - Nana Kurashvili, manager of the civil society project

The expert analysis and participatory needs assessment provided by the Civil Society Institute in the frame of PIN project “Enhancing the participation of regional CSOs in policy dialogue on social inclusion in Georgia” funded by the European Union and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that the problems and challenges encountered in the social service sector of Georgia need systemic and consistent reconsideration and reforming. Changes to the social system that occurred in the period of 2004-2005 may be deemed as the first wave of reforms under which monetization of national social programs took place and all existing and future services became based upon monetary allowances. Considering situation at that time, the reform was believed to be reasonable, as it was conducive to the establishment of an anti-corruption system.

 

In order to effectively address current problems and challenges, it is vital to transform the social service sector into a service-oriented system. The proposed systemic approach envisages the development of a strategy based upon comprehensive needs assessment, which on the one hand will consider the necessity of introducing social warranties for the population and on the other, highlight the importance of social service rather than of monetary assistance.

 

Under the Law of Georgia “on Social Assistance” social assistance implies such activities that are aimed at satisfying needs of various target groups through providing them with non-monetary social assistance. Majority of social programs administered by the Social Service Agency do not comply with the given definition of social assistance, because basically they are built upon cash disbursements. It is also noteworthy that geographical access to social services is limited and it is a privilege of big cities.

 

It is also noteworthy that the social service system is strongly centralized. Social policy planning is performed from the top and administration of programs has a rigid hierarchical nature– territorial units of the Social Service Agency are responsible for administration of social programs in the regions. Engagement of regional and local levels in the policy planning process is close to zero; their role is limited to sharing statistics with the central branch, which need to be considered when planning a variety of social programs.

 

Expansion of the role and functions of the local municipalities is a part of the self-governance reform and is expected to take place gradually. However, except for certain exclusive rights, local municipalities are highly dependent on centrally adopted decisions. Social policy priorities are set out by the Government and all municipal services are obliged to follow them. The given approach needs to be revised and social service provision needs to be decentralized.

 

Advisory Committees on Social Inclusion, with the active participation of local Civil Society Organisations, established in the municipalities of Tkibuli, Khoni, Gori and Zugdidi developed Municipal Strategies on Social Inclusion. Implementation of the strategies through Action Plans 2017-2018 will contribute to the development of well targeted social services in the municipalities and will be an important step forward in establishing a service-oriented system of social inclusion at the local level in Georgia. 

expert analysis and participatory needs assessment provided by the Civil Society Institute in the frame of PIN project “Enhancing the participation of regional CSOs in policy dialogue on social inclusion in Georgia” funded by the European Union and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed that the problems and challenges encountered in the social service sector of Georgia need systemic and consistent reconsideration and reforming. Changes to the social system that occurred in the period of 2004-2005 may be deemed as the first wave of reforms under which monetization of national social programs took place and all existing and future services became based upon monetary allowances. Considering situation at that time, the reform was believed to be reasonable, as it was conducive to the establishment of an anti-corruption system.

 

In order to effectively address current problems and challenges, it is vital to transform the social service sector into a service-oriented system. The proposed systemic approach envisages the development of a strategy based upon comprehensive needs assessment, which on the one hand will consider the necessity of introducing social warranties for the population and on the other, highlight the importance of social service rather than of monetary assistance.

 

Under the Law of Georgia “on Social Assistance” social assistance implies such activities that are aimed at satisfying needs of various target groups through providing them with non-monetary social assistance. Majority of social programs administered by the Social Service Agency do not comply with the given definition of social assistance, because basically they are built upon cash disbursements. It is also noteworthy that geographical access to social services is limited and it is a privilege of big cities.

 

It is also noteworthy that the social service system is strongly centralized. Social policy planning is performed from the top and administration of programs has a rigid hierarchical nature– territorial units of the Social Service Agency are responsible for administration of social programs in the regions. Engagement of regional and local levels in the policy planning process is close to zero; their role is limited to sharing statistics with the central branch, which need to be considered when planning a variety of social programs.

 

Expansion of the role and functions of the local municipalities is a part of the self-governance reform and is expected to take place gradually. However, except for certain exclusive rights, local municipalities are highly dependent on centrally adopted decisions. Social policy priorities are set out by the Government and all municipal services are obliged to follow them. The given approach needs to be revised and social service provision needs to be decentralized.

 

Advisory Committees on Social Inclusion, with the active participation of local Civil Society Organisations, established in the municipalities of Tkibuli, Khoni, Gori and Zugdidi developed Municipal Strategies on Social Inclusion. Implementation of the strategies through Action Plans 2017-2018 will contribute to the development of well targeted social services in the municipalities and will be an important step forward in establishing a service-oriented system of social inclusion at the local level in Georgia. 

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