ISSA Member Survey

ISSA seen as innovative service provider

ISSA Member Survey

ISSA seen as innovative service provider

The International Social Security Association (ISSA) has strengthened its position as an innovative service provider that contributes with knowledge and services of high value to its member institutions. This is one of the interesting findings from the recent ISSA Member Survey.

The survey was conducted in October 2021, and the results shows that the ISSA is seen by almost all members (95 per cent) as an important source of relevant analytical knowledge on social security and social security administration, and as a key promotor of social security at the international level (94 per cent). This has not changed since the previous survey three years earlier.

However, members have significantly changed their perception of the ISSA as an innovative service provider. Today, 87 per cent find that the ISSA adapts to new developments and is responsive to the evolving needs of member institutions. This score is 21 percentage points higher than in 2018. Another key development is that 74 per cent of members find that ISSA knowledge and services have a high value across the organization, beyond the CEO, the Board and the international unit. This is 10 percentage points higher than in the previous survey.

The COVID-19 effect

Both these developments can be linked to the transformation in the way the ISSA has worked and interacted with its members during COVID-19. From early 2020, the ISSA started offering weekly webinars to share experiences and good practices on social security responses to the pandemic. Gradually, this moved onto other key areas of social security. The webinars have become an important service of the ISSA, involving hundreds of speakers and thousands of participants from ISSA member institutions. The webinars have also become important dynamo for the co-creation of knowledge in the ISSA community.  

The transformation of the way the ISSA worked reflected the innovative responsiveness of its member institutions. The survey shows that 62 per cent of members have experienced accelerated digital transformation, and an additional 35 per cent perceive that this is likely or very likely to occur, due to the pandemic. On this note, 49 per cent have also seen an accelerated development of new forms of work and digital platforms, and 45 per cent believe that this is likely or very likely to occur. COVID-19 has also had important impact on institutional resilience and people’s knowledge of and trust in social security.

Key challenges and tools for social security institutions

Beyond COVID-19, in the longer term the most important challenges for social security institutions have not changed in recent years. Responding to client/public expectations and improving service quality, ensuring good governance, integrity, and compliance, and managing innovation, technological development and automation are the three biggest challenges faced by members. These three challenges come out on top in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and in Europe. Only members in the Americas differ, placing investment, financial sustainability, and actuarial assessment as the biggest challenge, and placing extending and managing social security coverage higher than in other regions.

ISSA members have a good knowledge of ISSA products and services that can be used to address their challenges. Both the familiarity with, and perception of, ISSA products and services strengthened on almost all accounts between 2018 and 2021. Beyond the ISSA events, which are both well-known and popular, the survey shows for example that the new weekly analytical articles achieve a 92 per cent score for relevance and quality, workshops/e-workshops jumped from 78 to 93 per cent, technical advice and support from 79 to 90 per cent, and the Good Practice Database from 84 to 90 per cent. The International Social Security Review and the ISSA Guidelines are other examples of products with a very high standing, notably perceived to be of relevance and quality by 93 and 91 per cent of members. The Diploma training and Recognition programmes are less well known, but jumped in familiarity by 18 and 22 percentage point respectively. Today, 60 per cent of members know about them and 76 per cent find them of relevance and quality.

What happens next

The ISSA Member Survey provides important information into the planning of priorities for the next ISSA triennium. The results were discussed with members of the ISSA Bureau and will feed into the preparation of the ISSA programme and budget 2023–2025, to be adopted in connection with the World Social Security Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, in October 2022.