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High performance in social security administration

April 9, 2011 | Posted in News

ISSA, 16.03.2011 | Feature

High performance is increasingly a central concern, as social security organizations strive to improve efficiencies and maintain and develop public trust, according to a new report prepared jointly by management consultants Accenture and the International Social Security Association. The ISSA-Accenture study aims to facilitate and enhance knowledge-sharing among social security organizations on a global scale.

Achieving the full potential of long-term, sustainable high performance in social security administration is critical to support a country’s inclusivity, social peace and well-being. High Performance in social security administration depends on the right people and the right processes, technologies and capabilities; leveraging good practices and leanings globally, while at the same time, creating synergies.

To facilitate and enhance knowledge sharing on a global scale, ISSA and Accenture have collaborated since 2008 in the ISSA Project on High Performance which aims to identify the systems, capacities and processes that enable high performance in the delivery of social services. The challenges are many and varied, such as:

* some countries are challenged by demographic shifts which are changing the needs of their constituents, while other countries are being challenged by population increases;
* regulatory changes are requiring a different set of social services;
* high fraud levels are impacting the position and reputation of the institution;
* internally, decision makers in social security organizations feel that they lack access to the right calibre of employees;
* additionally, they feel that they should capitalize further on technological innovations to secure safe, transparent and seamless internal processes.

Some organizations have developed excellence in social security administration by integrating citizens’ views into their strategy supported by the right processes and technology, and embedded in an innovative and forward-looking organizational culture.

Social security systems are increasingly regarded as integral to the overall social, economic, and political management of a country, rather than being a secondary concern. The global economic crisis has reinforced and accelerated this trend. Today, policy and decision makers appreciate that social security organizations contribute significantly to a nation’s well-being by implementing policies of social welfare and by providing inclusive access to public services. They are safeguarding principles of social distribution and equality, and consequently contributing to standards of living and social peace in a country. In that sense, they are a critical part of a nation’s competitiveness. To ensure consistently high-performing social security organizations, there is a heightened need for stronger governance and management, backed by increasing professionalism, with decisions based on robust databases and policy-relevant analysis.

Key findings

The project results confirm that High Performance is the outcome of a rigorous and integrated focus on specific enabling factors of risk management, chance management and innovation. Innovation, in particular has been identified as key to a high performing organization today. “Getting things done” through the right processes, capabilities and systems has emerged as key to operational success.

The key findings are:

I. Five key enablers – supported by the right processes, capabilities and systems – have been identified as critical to achieve high performance in social security administration:

1. Empower employees as a key driver for performance.
2. Develop and implement innovations centered on citizens.
3. Actively leverage external experience and expertise.
4. Position the organization as an active contributor to society.
5. Fully embed risk management into the organization and processes.

II. The survey confirms the increasing importance of having the right processes, capabilities and systems in place to achieve high performance.

III. “Citizen Service Centred Innovation” has been identified as the most critical enabler for achieving high performance going forward, but organizations have to close the gap to full maturity.

IV. The potential for high performing organizations is well distributed across geographic regions.

V. There are patterns of similarity across all regions to achieve high performance which are closely aligned with overarching themes in the national agendas.


High Performance in social security administration is the result of a holistic approach to change management, risk management and innovation. Five key enablers supported by the right processes, capabilities and systems are prerequisite for an integrated approach to becoming a high performing organization.
The report concludes with three principal messages:

Focus on High Performance

* Formulate and implement a framework to achieve high performance.
* Take your employees along.
* Put the right processes, capabilities and systems in place.

Invest in innovation for the future

* Leverage global good practices to boost innovation.
* Integrate employees into innovation processes.
* Accelerate the development of an innovation ecosystem that multiplies the combined power of business, academia and the public sector.

Know the citizen

* Formulate a strategy based on demographic realities.
* Develop and implement citizen focused processes, capabilities and systems.
* Focus on customer service to contribute to standard of living and competitiveness of the nation.


Full Report: High Performance in social security administration by innovation, change management and risk management

Taged in: administration, performance, Security, Social