Supporting local providers of social services to improve planning, development and delivery of social services for the most vulnerable

UNDP has recently designed and implemented a number of training sessions to help increase the capacities of local authorities and institutions to plan and provide services that respond more closely to the needs of the most vulnerable people in their communities.

Representatives from local institutions and organizations in the four municipalities of Kocani, Petrovec, Gostivar and Resen attended two-day workshops on the Development of Social Services for Vulnerable Groups at Local Level during November and December 2012.

UNDP developed the training programme in response to the recent announcement of a new legal framework for reforming the country’s system of social protection. The proposed model of reform in the National Programme for the Development of Social Protection 2011–2021 envisages greater responsibilities and more active participation of local authorities and institutions. The training has therefore been designed to support these decentralization reforms by helping local social service providers to fulfill their enhanced roles—equipping them with the means to plan, develop and deliver services more effectively in closer response to the needs of the people in their communities.

The participants at the workshops were provided with practical knowledge, tools and methods for identifying the needs of the vulnerable population in their municipalities, assessing levels of vulnerability, and selecting the most adequate social services to meet these needs. Through group-work activities, the participants produced a pilot programme for social protection at local level in their respective municipalities. A presentation was also delivered on the upcoming systemic changes in the social protection sector to introduce participants to the increased role of local stakeholders in the delivery of social services customized to the needs of the vulnerable people in their communities.

The training was attended by representatives from local self-governments, centers for social work, employment centers, schools, health organization, and civil society organizations. As contributors to charities, a number of representatives from private companies and religions organizations also attended the training.  

A Handbook for the Development of Social Services at Local Level has been produced to help prepare local stakeholders for their increased responsibilities in the delivery of social services.

UNDP has carried out this training project as part of its wider efforts to support national and local institutions in the decentralization of social services. In partnership with Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, UNDP is implementing a project called Strengthening Local Capacities for the Provision of Social Services. As part of this project, an assessment of municipal capacities and needs for the development of social service was conducted in mid-2012 in the four pilot municipalities of Kocani, Petrovec, Gostivar and Resen.