Virginia Lenore Petersen shares her experiences as a trainer on the ISSA e-learning courses on Good Governance and on Service Quality, organized by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) in 2021.
- Name: Virginia Lenore Petersen (Phd)
- Position: Independent Expert and Trainer
- Previously: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
- Country: South Africa
Which ISSA e-learning courses did you carry out?
I facilitate training on the ISSA Guidelines on Good Governance and the ISSA Guidelines on Service Quality.
What were the expectations from the course and were they met?
Participants usually indicate that they want to be better equipped to do their jobs. The courses offer sharpening of skills, stimulates innovation, and provides
examples through international best practice of how to tackle social security problems.
Do you notice that what the participants learn will be useful in their daily work and for their institution?
The course on the ISSA Guidelines on Good Governance, which is the backbone of social security administration, provides participants with the motivation for critical structures, policies and frameworks. Due to COVID-19, the key element for participants this year was to pivot to online customer/beneficiary engagement. This highlights key governance areas, such as being a Good Digital Steward in safeguarding the personal data of beneficiaries. The course also provides clear protocols for both the Board and Management, and many participants emphasize the need for clearly stated roles for these, to facilitate a healthier work environment leading to better services.
The participants on the ISSA Guidelines on Service Quality course emphasized the usefulness of having demonstrated examples of service improvement initiatives, which they can introduce in their organizations. For example, moving from post office and bank benefit payments to mobile money transfers. The guidelines are appreciated as an internationally recognized tool for service quality improvement. Many participants indicated that this was one of the most useful elements they had learnt on the course.
Would you recommend this course to other social security professionals and why?
Every social security practitioner will benefit tremendously from the Diploma training courses on good governance and on service quality. It expands your knowledge and skills, and further provides a tried and tested toolkit in the administration of social security Institutions. I highly recommend any social security practitioner to participate in these courses. It is indeed the necessary scientific base for informed decision making at both the Board and Management level.
The ISSA Guidelines on Good Governance were instrumental in my own previous success as CEO of the South African Social Security Association (SASSA). When I accepted the position, I was confident in my leadership because if I needed a sounding board for new activities I would use the principles of the ISSA Guidelines – Accountability, Transparency, Participation, Predictability and Dynamism – to measure the proposed programme and service delivery requirements. The guidelines provide one with the practical tools needed to manage a social security institution.