Media Monitor


Media Monitor

EU: Study on poverty and income inequality in the context of the digital transformation (13.05.2024) As European labour markets become increasingly digitalised, concerns about inequality and poverty are increasing. This study, completed for the European Commission, seeks to investigate these concerns further. Part A focuses on how prepared EU Member States are to manage the digital transformation in a socially fair manner. It develops 27 country fiches assessing the current and future prospects of each EU Member State. Key areas of focus include the labour market, individuals’ digital skills, social protection, and cross-cutting dimensions such as the digitalisation of businesses and digital infrastructure. Part B of the study reviews – through 30 case studies – some of the main actual and potential uses by a country’s public sector of digital technologies (including AI) for improving the design and the delivery of social benefits and active labour market policies, as well as for complementing how poverty and income inequality are measured.

Extending social protection during times of crises: The data revolution (28.02.2024) In examining data for 106 countries from the 1980s onwards, it transpires that social protection is the most countercyclical type of public expenditure and that social assistance spending has typically been more responsive during economic contractions. Preliminary data suggests that social protection spending has been more adaptive during the COVID-19 pandemic than it was following the global financial and economic crisis of 2007–2009;it is expressed by the adoption of countercyclical policy interventions in both developed and developing economies, with a strong expansion of non-contributory interventions. The discussion  reviews recent policy innovations that were introduced during the COVID-19  pandemic to track the impact of the socio-economic crisis and identify potential beneficiaries. These innovations demonstrate that governments can respond to a crisis in a timely manner and even reach individuals who are typically outside the scope of social protection (e.g. informal workers). The overarching conclusion of the paper is that new data and methodologies, which are becoming increasingly available and have been used in other areas of policy interventions, can improve the adaptability of social protection systems. Especially where informality is high, these innovations will enable developing countries to address a lack of information about the social protection needs and loss of income of the population. While the full potential of novel technologies has yet to transpire, in the meantime the socio-economic conditions of informal workers will be better known to governments, thus facilitating social protection (and taxation) mechanisms of greater pertinence.

Innovative approaches to tackle long-term unemployment

oecd (21.11.2023) Long-term unemployment remains a structural challenge for most OECD countries. Despite major efforts to address this issue, the efficiency and effectiveness of many existing active labour market policies are limited for jobseekers who face major vulnerabilities and have no ties to the labour market. Therefore, there is a need for innovative approaches that specifically address the barriers faced by long-term unemployed individuals in their labour market (re)integration. This paper discusses examples of promising practices from across Europe, which can serve as a source of inspiration for policymakers seeking new approaches to assist vulnerable jobseekers in overcoming the challenge of long-term unemployment.

Pathways toward digitalization in Social Protection and Labor (SPL) service delivery (05.10.2023) This paper offers three key contributors to the excising literature. Firstly, it reviewsthe use of technology across each phase of delivering social protection and labor (SPL) benefits and services. Secondly, it reviews evidence on potential outcomes arising from digitalization initiatives, and identifies factors and conditions that facilitate successful design and implementation. Lastly, the paper outlines a conceptual framework for different digitalizing pathways. This framework distinguishes between: (1) the progressive digitalization of analog core SPL architecture; (2) ‘leapfrogging’ innovations, which use novel digital approaches from the outset in contexts where SPL provision is nascent and traditional core architecture does not exist; and (3) the use of supporting technologies that may be helpful in their own right but neither contribute to, nor rely on, to digitalization of core SPL architecture

How to deliver customer-centred Public Employment Services in the digital age (21.08.2023) A new toolkit from the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) provides a practical guide, with concrete examples, for how PES can use more customer-centred approaches in the delivery of their services.

Digital-in-Health: Unlocking the Value for Everyone

worldbank (18.08.2023) Technology and data are integral to daily life. As health systems face increasing demands to deliver new, more, better, and seamless services affordable to all people, data and technology are essential. With the potential and perils of innovations like artificial intelligence the future of health care is expected to be technology-embedded and data-linked. This shift involves expanding the focus from digitization of health data to integrating digital and health as one: Digital-in-Health. The World Bank’s report, Digital-in-Health: Unlocking the Value for Everyone, calls for a new digital-in-health approach where digital technology and data are infused into every aspect of health systems management and health service delivery for better health outcomes. The report proposes ten recommendations across three priority areas for governments to invest in: prioritize, connect and scale.

Digital transformation of social security administration and services: A comparative analysis of Australia, Canada, Denmark and France (June 2023) The digital transformation of social security administration and services is complex and multifaceted. It requires careful consideration of various factors, such as the legal and regulatory frameworks, technological infrastructure, and social and cultural norms. This comparative analysis examines the digital transformation of social security administration and services in four countries - Australia, Canada, Denmark, and France - and identifies the key drivers, challenges, and key lessons learned. The comparison finds that the four countries have adopted different approaches to digital transformation, reflecting their unique political, economic, and social contexts. However, some common themes and trends emerge from the analysis. Two key drivers are identified in all four countries. The first driver of digital transformation is motivated by a desire to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of social security administration and services. This is particularly important as populations are ageing, demand for social services is rising, and competition for limited public sector resources is increasing. The innovative application of technology is opportunities to streamline processes, improve productivity and reduce costs while enhancing the quality of services. A second driver is a desire to enhance the quality of services and expansion. Digital technologies can enable more personalized and responsive services, as well as provide users with greater control over their data and interactions with social security agencies, and user experience and increase citizen engagement. From an initial focus on economic efficiencies, the four countries combined this with a desire to improve the user experience, increase user engagement in creating and testing new services, and include new beneficiaries.

User friendly Website of the Social Security Agency in the US

The Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States of America launched its redesigned website, The new site leveraged human-centered design concepts to build out self-service capabilities and improve accessibility. SSA analyzed customer data and conducted user research to inform where the gaps were, test designs and implement iterative changes on the site.

New Free Digital Software to Manage Health and Social Protection Programs (20.03.2023) The World Bank, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have announced an integrated new open-source software package to improve the management of social protection and health financing schemes in low- and middle-income countries.  The new software combines the openIMIS initiative, financed by Germany and Switzerland, with the World Bank`s digital platform CORE-MIS. It will serve as a digital public good and can manage a variety of schemes ranging from health insurance, employment injury insurance, voucher schemes to cash transfers and economic inclusion programs. The software will be available to governments at no cost.

Effects of digitalization on the human centricity of social security administration and services

ILO Working paper 87 (Feb 2023)  Human-centered social security administrations keep the human dimension in control of decision-making. This is made possible through the insight to be gained from digital data-driven innovation in policy and governance and managerial reforms. Moreover, there are risks associated with collecting and analysing people’s digital data analysed and using it to further automate business processes. Human centricity is examined in this paper, through a human + machine approach, starting with social policy through to service delivery. Machines using AI and related technologies are designed to aug¬ment rather than replace human decision-making capability. This augmentation approach is essential in matters where discretion, compassion, reasoning, judgement, and empathy are essential for equity, fair¬ness, and fiscal responsibility within social security administration. This working paper presents a series of vignette style case studies (13) as examples of digitisation and/or digitalisation in the context of human centricity in social security administration.

Digital innovations in delivering social protection in rural areas: Lessons for public provisioning during the post-pandemic recovery and beyond

International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) (31.12.2022) Over the past 20 years, considerable progress has been made in reducing poverty worldwide, with the expansion of social protection coverage and uptake playing a key role. To strengthen and expand the public provision of social protection, countries have been investing in the development of robust delivery systems, including digital tools, especially identification and payment systems and social registries. This report discusses the potential of digital technology to improve social protection performance in rural areas, as well as its limitations.

Making access to social protection for workers and the self-employed more transparent through information and simplification

European Social Policy Network (ESPN) (31.01.2023) “Transparency” of social protection systems is essential for people's awareness of their rights and obligations concerning social protection and enables them to take informed decisions. It requires, in particular, that countries provide full information on social protection schemes, and also that they simplify, wherever needed and to the extent possible, access rules and administrative requirements linked to these schemes. This report explores the measures put in place by 35 European countries to improve the transparency of their social protection systems, focusing on the period January 2017 - April 2022. It shows the significant progress being made in the provision of digitalised, high-quality and easily accessible general and personalised information, partly accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. In addition, the report explains that countries have simplified the rules, digitalised application procedures and streamlined administrative structures, with a view to ensuring a better flow of information. Nevertheless, several points are highlighted for further improvement, including: a) making access to information easier for the more vulnerable, for people with disabilities, and in certain cases for non-standard workers and the self-employed; b) simplifying complex rules governing application procedures, and promoting automatic granting of benefits; and c) evaluating regularly the transparency of policies and practices, including the consequences of digitalisation on access to information and the importance of bridging the “digital divide”.

Principles for digital development in social protection (2023) - This document offers guidance on the application of the PDDs to social protection. After presenting the background and objectives, it sets out how each principle applies to digital social protection solutions. First, the original definition is presented for each principle, followed by the social protection perspective, and the key actions to apply it in practice. Barriers to implementation are highlighted and ways to overcome these barriers suggested. Country-level examples of good and bad practices, as well as additional resources, are provided throughout.

Investing in an Integrated Social Registry for Nepal (14.02.2023) Imagine this scenario. A mother delivers a child at a health facility. When the birth is recorded in the health information system, it notifies the ward office. The mother receives a call from the ward office to register her child’s birth. At the time of birth registration, she learns if the child is eligible to receive a child nutrition grant. She also receives information about vaccinations and early childhood education. The birth registration system is linked to a household registry. Each new birth also updates the household database providing the palika with an overview of all households and individuals at any time. Such seamless access to services and information about benefits and services is unfortunately not quite what mothers face in Nepal.  The lack of linkages is apparent if we just look at rates of facility delivery (77.5 percent) compared to birth registration before 12 months at (59.5 percent). That means over 17 percent of births that occur at health facilities are not registered in the first 12 months. One reason, among many, for low birth registration is a lack integration both at the front-end (point of service delivery) and the back-end (information system).  Nepal is now working to establish an Integrated Social Registry which can serve as a platform to link across social protection programs and information systems and help address this issue, among several others. 

Social protection and response to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: Innovations in registration and payment systems

International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) (01.08.2022) The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the foundations of the economy and provoked devastating social effects in all the countries in the world, being Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) one of the most affected regions. This report updates the regional overview of the response measures to the pandemic, details cash transfer programmes and analyses their coverage and discusses the challenges in adopting these innovations during the response to the first outbreak of the virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Using Technology to Improve Civil Service Talent

Asian Development Bank (March 2021) This brief presents digital and online platforms for civil services in Asia and the Pacific, along with recommendations for holistic government interventions and reforms in policies, business processes, and management systems.