Social protection systems respond to risks and shocks along the life cycle. Respective support schemes are oftentimes implemented in isolation, rather than connected to each other. Their full potential can be reached when they converge, when the information is harmonised and interlinked within one Social Protection Information System that receives all necessary data through Civil Registration and other vital statistics, Identification databases, Social Registries and Integrated Beneficiary Registries.
This Social Protection Information System can then be linked to Payment systems and Grievance Redressals to ease payouts and to account for any mishaps and facilitate learning.
Achieving such a converged and interoperable social protection system not only makes the social protection components stronger and social protection services easier to access and to use, but also reduces public expenditure.
The idea of interlinking components of social protection systems isn’t new and work has been done in various contexts to pave the way for converged social protection systems. This includes preparing the legal environment for data sharing (legal interoperability), connecting institutions and agencies responsible for the various components of a social protection system (organisational interoperability), discussing and deciding on the terminology used (semantic interoperability), and developing the necessary IT systems needed for building and connecting existing databases and social protection information (technical interoperability).
Just like with any public works project, i.e. building a public transport network, linking all components or stops on the line, is a longer process and needs engagement of political decision-makers, technical experts as well as soft- and hardware developers. And for the social protection system to be fully converged, all four layers need to be constructed.