LONDON; March 4, 2009 – A new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) questions practices of traditional social security systems, which have centered largely on poverty alleviation, and emphasizes the need to tackle multiple disadvantages that are isolating people from society.
Titled “Empowerment, Activation and Participation: Actively Engaging Disadvantaged People in Improving the Quality of their Lives,” the report was undertaken to help social security institutions address “multi-dimensional disadvantage,” a phenomenon of growing dependence on social services by a segment of the population fueled by interconnected conditions such as ill health, disability, lack of skills and education, poverty and old age.
The report highlights how some social security institutions and other government entities have met the challenges posed by multi-dimensional disadvantage, citing examples of best practices from around the world. The Accenture Institute for Public Service Value produced the report in conjunction with the International Social Security Association (ISSA).
The report reveals and examines common attributes of agencies that have successfully overcome barriers to serving vulnerable citizens. The attributes include:
· Outcomes – Defining and operating by a holistic set of outcomes that reflect the needs and expectations of stakeholders;
· Networks – Being proactive and systematic about collaborating, across government and with non-governmental and community-based organizations;
· Flexibility – Being flexible enough to accommodate the complex or specific needs of particular groups of people, while still providing wide coverage to serve the broad mission.
The report recommends four key enablers that support outcomes, networks and flexibility, and supports the recommendations with government examples from around the world. These enablers are:
· Leading by strategic intent and managing and orchestrating programs, people and resources in a concerted way to tackle multi-dimensional disadvantage and achieve citizen-centered outcomes. New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is cited favorably for its outcome-based performance management programs that helps ensure relevant targets are being set and pursued and tracked across the entire organization.
· Engaging citizens and responding to their diverse needs through citizen and user consultation, customer segmentation and the development of multiple delivery channels. Singapore’s Central Provident Fund has developed advanced customer segmentation and delivery channel rationalization to lower the cost of providing services while giving more choices to the beneficiaries of the Fund.
· Developing human capital to ensure that an agency’s workforce is adaptable to change and able to tackle growing service gaps. In Denmark, the Ministry of Employment has been working with labor unions to address pay, training, and work environment issues to attract and keep workers with the skills the agency needs.
· Aligning IT with strategic goals and making sure that underlying information technology systems support inter-organizational networking and the achievement of common outcomes. Australia and Ireland are among the countries highlighted in the report with agencies that have adopted integrated forms of data management to help at-risk citizens.
“Many social security and welfare agencies around the world are struggling to meet their missions and cope with growing demand and complexity, but several are successfully transforming themselves to meet the complex needs of citizens with multi-dimensional disadvantage,” said Greg Parston, director of Accenture’s Institute for Public Service Value. “We looked closely at how successful agencies have acquired an edge on these challenges, and we hope that our clients can use this knowledge to help improve value and accountability to citizens and taxpayers.”
About the Report
The report was based on in-depth interviews with 60 government officials in 21 countries; interviews with experts on multi-dimensional disadvantage; and extensive secondary research. It was conducted in parallel with Accenture’s ongoing Global Cities Forum research, which involves a series of deliberative events that bring together representative groups of citizens to discuss and debate what they believe their governments should be doing to help improve the quality of their lives.
Interviews were conducted with government officials in: Australia, Austria, Canada, China (mainland and Hong Kong), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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