WHAT IS ISS?
The Integrated Social Services (ISS) initiative seeks to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration among social welfare, social protection and health actors at the decentralized and national level, to improve the delivery of social services across the country. Falling within the broader scope of the decentralisation in Ghana, the ISS aims to help address multi-dimensional poverty and vulnerability, with a strong focus on promoting linkages between health, child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, and social protection services. The ISS was designed based on the Coordinated Programme and the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework 2018-2021 (NMTDPF).
As key social services become increasingly dependent on administrative guidance and funding at local levels, the initiative seeks to ensure that the most vulnerable populations are not left behind by ensuring that the poverty and vulnerability of children and families is reduced through increased access to an integrated set of social services.
STRATEGIES OF ISS
- Using the Social Welfare system as the entry point to strengthen its overall capacity and methods of local social welfare offices, empowering them through updated operating procedures, capacity and innovative use of resources;
- Strengthening health access, outreach and linkages for the poor and vulnerable households by strengthening the link between LEAP and NHIS for free insurance, and the crowding in of health services for LEAP families through household visits by community nurses.
- Strengthening inter-sector referrals between critical services, including with NGOs, raising awareness about the new Inter-sectoral Standards Operating Procedures for Child Protection and Family Welfare (ISSOPs) and supporting their use across sectors, introducing technological innovations such as the Social Welfare Information Management Systems (SWIMS) and the Social Services Directory: http://directory.mogcsp.gov.gh/
FEATURES OF ISS
The Inter-sectoral Standards Operating Procedures for Child Protection and Family Welfare (ISSOPs). The ISSOP provides a harmonized framework of agreed standards, principles and procedures for all child protection and family welfare stakeholders to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities. In addition, the ISSOP helps to hold stakeholders mutually accountable to each other and the beneficiaries they serve. It identifies specific procedures to the use of forms, tools and guides by the social services and other key stakeholders. The guides, tools and forms of this ISSOP have been designed to improve the quality of social services.
Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) including Department of Children (DoC), Department of Social Welfare, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP);
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD);
Office of the Head of the Local Government Services (OHLGS);
Ghana Health Services (GHS);
National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS);
National Development Planning Commission (NDPC);
Ministry of Finance (MoF);
Regional Coordinating Councils;
Reducing poverty and vulnerability requires that the needs of children and families are met across multiple dimensions. The government aims to ensure its people benefit from multiple services and programmes, and that access to these programmes is equitable so that no one is left behind.
Various programmes and services such as LEAP, the NHIS, GHS/CHPS and Social Welfare have produced important results and continue to improve and develop. Nonetheless, in a context of limited resources and increasing decentralisation, an important and urgent question is how these programs can most effectively work together.
Every community and every district is unique, and has unique challenges and opportunities. The Integrated Social Services Initiative, over the period of 2020 and 2021 in 60 MMDAs in all 16 regions of Ghana, wants to learn from these, to promote best practices, learn from difficulties, and apply lessons both at the national and local level.