Digital economy

Digital Economy and Social Security Observatory

The Digital Economy will profoundly transform our daily life, how we work and how we live.

The Observatory will provide ISSA members with an understanding of the opportunities and the challenges it will present to social security administrations.

It will look at this transformation from two angles: the changing environment in which social security institutions evolve and how Social Security institutions themselves will be impacted and can respond to these challenges.


New service delivery models

New service delivery models have emerged, providing instant access to a myriad of products and services.

Harnessing the potential of digital technologies requires the interplay of three important dimensions: human capital and insight to innovate, adequate information and telecommunication infrastructure, and the availability of online services and content. These three factors have been identified in the literature as critical to developing new service delivery models related to online service delivery, e-participation, multi-channel service delivery, mobile services, and innovative partnerships across organizations.

Access to internet and mobile devices creates a virtual infrastructure that allows clients to be in contact 24/7. Digital platforms and big data allow the sharing of information to support new service delivery models that meet the ever-increasing expectations of the public for personal and instant access to address their needs.

The digital economy is ever present in the private sector through massive and sustained investment and very importantly due to the consent most of us provide – without even knowingly doing so - for the use of our personal data.

The immense opportunities this offers social security organizations will only be realized if institutions can access data, protect it and provide a demonstrably improved service experience. This will be both in terms of ease of access, superior social security services as well as creating cost efficiencies for the organization itself.

“Doing more and better, with less” could well be the mantra of the digital economy.  Mobile technologies, biometrics and unique IDs, big data, master data management, digital platforms, cloud and social networks are providing the virtual infrastructure that enables new service delivery models that meet the expectations of increasingly technology-savvy customers.

The wide-ranging innovative impact of digital technologies makes the life-course and Whole-of-Government service delivery feasible, with services from public agencies coordinated into a single tell-us-once virtual platform.

Ten global challenges for social security

Media Monitor Media Monitor

30 April 2020 (29.04.2020) 20,000 common service centres will offer an Aadhaar updating service, catering to a large number of citizens in rural parts of the country.

21 April 2020

The Economic Times (20.004.2020) The government has fast-tracked its plan to provide social security for gig economy workers and those in the unorganised sectors, anticipating a significant increase in their numbers as unemployment soars due to the Covid-19 crisis.

26 March 2020

Financial Times (25.03.2020) Disruptions caused by coronavirus have exposed the gaps in the welfare system

26 March 2020

Eurofound (19.03.2020) The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is starting to have a serious impact on the world economy. The consequences for platform workers are especially severe in light of forced work stoppages due to self-isolation and lack of sick pay in many cases. Recent media coverage shows that platform workers in the transport sector (ride hailing and food delivery) are most affected, while professional services performed online (such as remote consultations with health professionals) could help to reduce the pressure on health systems.

20 February 2020 (19.02.2020) Artificial Intelligence technologies carrying a high-risk of abuse that could potentially lead to an erosion of fundamental rights will be subjected to a series of new requirements, the European Commission announced on Wednesday (19 February).

14 February 2020 (13.02.2020) AS the country’s so-called gig economy industry continues to rise, lawmakers are pushing for measures to protect freelance workers by establishing a basic regulatory framework to enable them to anticipate challenges ahead.

3 February 2020

The Local (30.01.2020) Companies are increasingly outsourcing services, and as a result the number of self-employed workers in Germany has risen sharply. Many are learning that working one job is just not enough.

29 October 2019

Biometric Update (18.10.2019) The potential of biometric ID systems for abuse in some countries is a major threat to individuals, and current practices risk the world “stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia,” according UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston.

25 October 2019

World Economic Forum (23.09.2019) Debates about the gig economy tend to focus on transportation network companies (TNCs) and other locally provided services. Less discussed but of growing importance in the world of work are cross-border, web-based, digital labour platforms.

22 October 2019

The Guardian (14.10.2019) In an exclusive global series, the Guardian lays bare the tech revolution transforming the welfare system worldwide – while penalising the most vulnerable

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