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1 Strengthening the Governance of Social Security Ensuring transparency and fairness Sue Ward.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Strengthening the Governance of Social Security Ensuring transparency and fairness Sue Ward."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Strengthening the Governance of Social Security Ensuring transparency and fairness Sue Ward

2 2 Why is transparency important? Social security institutions are there to ensure the well-being of those who depend on them However, many people distrust them and suspect those who run them of looking after own interests Combatting that distrust means acting openly and honestly, putting the client first

3 3 Transparency and fairness This session covers –staffing and recruitment policies –the requirement for an “image of frugality” –appointing external contractors or consultants –staff ethical codes and other key instruments –“whistle blowing”

4 4 The institution should be open about Its pay structures its recruitment and promotion policies how it assesses staff performance what training it offers and to whom how it makes decisions on capital investments

5 5 Leading by example The institution should follow the policies it wishes other to follow The procedures adopted, and the rules or codes of guidance adopted, should be open to discussion Some policies will be be beyond the scope of one institution to change - but you may be able to influence others

6 6 Questions on staffing policies What is the code of conduct for staff? Does it cover conflicts of interest? Can staff look at their own personnel files? What is the grading structure and how is it decided? Is recruitment based on merit? Are there performance appraisals? What is the disciplinary procedure?

7 7 Activity; staffing policy Look at the box headed “Evaluating staffing policy; important questions for Board members to ask” Go through the list of questions, and list –those you can answer on the basis of your current information –those where you could look for an answer, with a note of where you would look; and –those where your institution has no policy

8 8 Recruitment policy should be in a published document An important element is a proper definition of a job, and the skills and experience required to do it The institution should set a good example on policies they wish others to follow; for example, on employment of minority groups, including people with disabilities.

9 9 The institution’s spending should be “fit for the purpose” There must be investment to maintain standards of service It should not be extravagant The institution’s image is important - and it should be one of frugality

10 10 Appointing external contractors or consultants The board should understand the national laws or codes of practice for government bodies entering into contracts Care in the specification of work at the beginning will pay off in the end The contract should specify what happens if things go wrong

11 11 Successful contracts Imposing large penalties may not be the right approach a frequent mistake is to assume that the contractor can do the work in isolation, and hand over a nice package at the end In real life, there are always problems, issues and extra questions Continuing dialogue works better

12 12 Staff ethical codes The obligations of civil and public servants are coming under pressure, and there are areas where values are in conflict Public bodies need a strong stance against gratuities for services Corruption must be dealt with firmly and openly - otherwise, the institution’s credibility will suffer

13 13 Other key instruments to minimize unethical behaviour –Fair selection and recruitment procedures –objective promotion criteria –job rotation and job enrichment opportunities –clear descriptions of task

14 14 Other key instruments continued –transparent division of responsibilities and separation of competencies –screening of staff –sharing responsibilities

15 15 “Whistle blowing” This is reporting by staff, of wrongdoing by a colleague or superior It is important that the whistleblower has protection having an independent channel helps Board members

16 16 Activity; the institution’s practices In your groups, put together some recommendations for your institution on; –how to ensure its recruitment policy is fair, and in line with ILO convention 168 –what staff ethical codes should say –what the policy on “whistle blowing” should say

17 17 Transparency in benefit decisions Some mistakes are inevitable; there must be a willingness to admit them and put them right there should be formal rules for deciding on benefit claims, with decisions and explanations in writing If claimants raise questions, look at the reasons behind these

18 18 Summary The board’s role is to ensure that the institution acts in an open and honest manner The institution should lead by example on staffing policy High levels of transparency are essential in dealing with staffing matters, and with external contractors

19 19 Summary continued The institution should spend what it needs without being extravagant There should be a code of ethics for staff, and adequate protection for whistleblowers Decisions on benefits should be in writing, and include a clear rationale Staff should be willing to admit mistakes

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