This report presents the findings of an Institutional assessment study of the Department of Social Welfare and Bait-ul-Maal (SWD) conducted by the Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG). This assessment is a part of an ongoing project titled “Social Welfare Department: Provincial Face of Interaction and Regulation of NGOs”. This report: a) assesses the SWD within the context of social welfare and protection in Punjab; b) assesses the current organizational structure, resources, systems, processes for planning and implementation, particularly from the lens of capacity constraints and consequent impact on service delivery; and c) provides recommendations and policy prescriptions going forward.
The institutional assessment was conducted over a period of nine months. A baseline survey was conducted at the outset, which formed the basis of this assessment. A multi-level methodology was used for this assessment including desk research and literature review, interviews, and policy dialogues and observational assessment. A total of 40 semi-structured interviews were conducted.
Theoretically, Social Welfare is a concept that is operationalized to cover a broad array of activities and services. For the purpose of this report and the mandate of the SWD (as given in the Government of Punjab (GOPb) Rules of Business 2011), we define social welfare as the network of services and activities that ensures equality of opportunity, welfare, and access to social justice for all citizens; in particular, provides protection to and promotes the welfare of the most marginalized, vulnerable, dispossessed and discriminated segments of society.
This study uses the Participatory Institutional Capacity Assessment and Learning Index (PICAL) matrix developed by USAID/DRC. PICAL provides a framework to assess the capacity of organizational units of national governance institutions in order to identify priorities for capacity building and monitor the effectiveness of efforts to enhance this capacity. It monitors four main themes of institutional capacity: demand for institutional performance; organizational learning capacity; administrative capacity; and institutional strengthening capacity.
The findings of this assessment have been broadly divided into the following four major areas: 1. Impact of the 18th amendment, devolution and administrative overlap; 2. Financial, human and technical resource constraints; 3. Outdated legislative framework; and 4. Capacity constraints
Each of these areas presents multiple aspects of the issues under discussion. Based on these findings, the SWD has been assessed using the PICAL matrix. The rankings assigned to the SWD in the matrix have been assigned on the basis of these findings.
This assessment, analysis of the SWD, identification of issues and key findings clearly shows that although the SWD is performing multiple welfare functions, there are significant gaps in the structure and function of the department:
1. Changes in governance structures and their improper implementation has led to significant conflicts between the SWD officers at different levels. This is especially problematic in terms of relations and coordination between the district and provincial level officers.
2. The department has a limited budget and suffers from staffing and technical resource constraints.
3. The legal framework under which the nonprofit sector functions is outdated, overly complicated and grossly ineffective. This overly complicates the functioning of the department in some areas, while leaving significant gaps in others.
4. There is very little specialized focus on capacity building in the department, despite the availability of a designated training institute.
Based on these gaps, this study recommends the following measures to improve the performance and capacity of the SWD:
1. There is a critical need for the SWD to conduct a detailed review of all existing laws, ordinances and regulations under which the department conducts its activities, and revise and update this legislative framework.
2. there needs to be a specialized focus on capacity development and skill development for SWD officers and staff, and the training curriculum needs to be updated to represent the changing requirements of SWD staff.
3. The SWD needs to develop strategies to ensure that all social welfare programmes – public and private sectors both – be adequately coordinated to avoid wastage of limited resources, and to ensure systematic delivery of social services to all deserving people. The study strongly recommends the adoption of these measures urgently.