Promoting well-functioning and fair welfare systems across Europe is one of the key initiatives of the European Commission under the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights launched in 2017. This framework includes essential social protection rights for people across Europe, the administration of which crucially depends on effective data management systems.
The Peer Review on the ‘Social Protection Information System (SPIS)’ held in Lithuania in November 2017 offered participating Peer countries an opportunity to discuss the current and future use of data and information management tools in the context of social protection policies and the challenges related to their implementation.
Host country: Lithuania
Date: 23 November 2017
Peer countries: Bulgaria – Finland – Italy – Latvia – Lithuania – Poland – Slovenia – Spain
Key learning messages from the Peer Review
Advantages and disadvantages of SPIS for strategic planning:
- Data provided by information systems is useful but needs to be supplemented with other sources in order to inform policy development.
- Additional databases need to be linked, but legal restrictions pose a barrier.
User-friendliness and follow-up information:
- SPIS are efficient and simple systems of distribution of social benefits.
- SPIS would greatly benefit from including information on beneficiaries after they have stopped receiving benefits.
- Feedback loops should be built into the systems in order to further develop and improve the systems.
- Automatic renewal of certain benefits could be built into SPIS.
Key challenges and how these can be best addressed:
- Lack of digital skills poses a major problem to increasing the user base.
- The lack of digital skills of staff (e.g. social workers, municipal officers) is another barrier that hinders the potential of fully exploiting the SPIS.
- Increasing coordination between employment services and social protection services would be a benefit but is a great challenge, again mainly due to the personal data protection issues.
- Reaching those at risk of social exclusion poses a challenge for social inclusion institutions.