THE ESTABLISHMENT AND THE TASKS OF THE SOCIAL PROTECTION INSTITUTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA
Key words: social protection, monitoring strategic documents and actions (e.g. National Social Protection Programme), poverty and social exclusion, people with disabilities, personal assistance, social protection services and programmes, evaluations, home-help, situation of children and families, child well-being index, deinstitutionalisation, long-term care.
The Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (The Institute) was founded in 1996 by the Republic of Slovenia.
The Institute complies and maintains a variety of databases for social assistance and social services including development and experimental programmes. The Institute monitors the implementation of a number of government programmes by establishing specialised systems of indicators and provides informational support for them by collecting and analysing data. For the purposes of effective decision-making it provides expert opinions on a number of government measures and advises the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MLFSA) and the Ministry of Solidarity-Based Future (MSBF).
In addition to its activities, the Institute takes part in many international projects working with various research, administrative, specialist and implementing organisations as well as organising national and international professional meetings.
With the founding of the Institute, Republic of Slovenia now has a well-organised source of information and analyses from the field of social protection and social policy. The Institute represents a significant support in the work of experts, analysts and state administration employees. In the addition, it carries out analyses of problems on the national and international level.
Various social scientists as well as information and computer experts work with the Institute. Many of them are external advisors of the Institute who regularly or periodically take part in the projects carried out by the Institute.
The Institute carries out comparative analyses of a number of subjects affecting the effective operation of social assistance and social services.
Social assistance and social services have a specific position in the system of welfare. They focus on those social groups who need help in ensuring their social security and welfare. Social benefits as well as social services are measures aimed at helping them with that.
In every country the system of welfare has its specific feature, mostly defined by the local traditions. In spite of that number of countries share similar social problems and the search for similar solutions. Following the example of the comparable European countries is a good way to design measures capable of overcoming recent problems.
The Institute provides the state or as the case may be the ministry suitable informational basis for decision-making by offering specific analyses and solutions in the field of social assistance and social services while also providing international comparisons. The data collection of individual subjects and related social phenomena is also done within this framework and thus provides the basis for variety of legislative measures.
The establishment and maintenance of specific databases on social assistance and social services is one of the fundamental activities of the Institute.
The establishment and maintenance of databases stems from the idea of a holistic social assistance and social services information system, which would allow the comparison of various data related to financial and non-financial aspects of the field. The creation of individual interconnected databases from this field is carried out to meet the needs of social assistance and social services providers.
The first step was to create a social database containing data on the social services and public authorities carried out by social work centres; in the future other providers from the field will join the information providers. The database was the result of the cooperation of the national and international experts, with the latter providing their share as part of the Phare programme financed by the European Community.
On behalf of the establishing of the central information infrastructure the social database was taken over by the responsible ministry. Among the specific databases is also the database on development and experimental programmes in the field of social services containing data from 1997 onwards.
The national social protection strategy amends the guidelines for the development of social assistance and social services.
Modern countries view social and economic development as interconnected and consequently attempt to ensure as harmonious development of both as possible. Such an approach is a reflection of more than century old intellectual and political approach of the modern countries who decided to take a share of responsibility for the welfare and prosperity of their citizens upon themselves. National social protection strategies of such countries establish system of social solidarity. The purpose of those in to overcome the dependence of the aid recipients on both the market value of labour and the solidarity of the informal social networks and at the same time the systems set out the measures for the meeting of basic human needs. In such fashion the developed countries attempt to protect their citizens from poverty and social exclusion. The adoption of the National strategy in the Parliament of the Republic of Slovenia put the monitoring of the effects of its implementation on the agenda of the Institute. For that purpose specific indicators were created on the basis of the data collected from various social assistance and social services providers: public institutions, entrepreneurs, concessionaires and other non-governmental organisations.
Introducing family issues and family policy research
The important part of work on Institute is comprehensive and systematic monitoring of children’s well-being and their quality of life in Slovenia. For this purpose we have developed a relevant set of indicators and designed a database which serves a variety of stakeholders such as advocacy groups, policy-makers, researchers, media and public. This enables us to carry out effective evaluation of national policies and strategies. In addition, it is preparing regular reports on situation of children, expert opinions on design of relevant policies as well as implementation of various national legal acts and legally binding international documents in the field of children’s rights.
Personal Assistance service
In 2021, the Act on Amendments and Additions to the Act on Personal Assistance was adopted. The Act, in order to ensure the professional and quality provision of personal assistance services and to ensure comparable evaluation of all users, authorises the Institute to implement training programmes for personal assistants, professional managers and coordinators of personal assistance, training of users, coordinators and members of the expert committee. The Institute has set up an Expert Department to deal with the enforcement of the right to personal assistance.