A new report of the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) highlights how countries have simplified and digitalised the access to social protection – but challenges remain, especially for vulnerable groups.
This ESPN Synthesis Report explores the measures put in place by 35 European countries to improve the transparency of their social protection systems, focusing on the period January 2017 – April 2022.
It shows that the past decade and especially the past five years can be seen as a turning point regarding transparency in social protection systems.
It describes the significant progress being made in the provision of digitalised, high-quality and easily accessible general and personalised information, partly accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis.
In addition, the report shows that countries have launched awareness-raising campaigns, simplified the rules, digitalised application procedures and streamlined administrative structures, with a view to ensuring a better flow of information.
Nevertheless, several points are highlighted for further improvement, including:
- making access to information easier for the more vulnerable, for people with disabilities and in certain cases for non-standard workers and the self-employed
- simplifying complex rules and application processes, and promoting automatic granting of benefits
- and regularly evaluating the transparency of policies and practices, including the consequences of digitalisation on access to information and the importance of bridging the “digital divide”.
Transparency is one of the cornerstones of the 2019 Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed, and comprises two main aspects: access to information on social protection schemes, and simplification of access to these schemes and of the related administrative requirements.
This report fed into the European Commission’s Report on the implementation of this Recommendation.
“Transparency” of social protection systems is essential for people’s awareness of their rights and obligations concerning social protection and enables them to take informed decisions.
It requires, more specifically, that countries provide full information on social protection schemes and that they simplify (whenever needed) access rules and administrative requirements linked to these schemes.
Related Documents | Source: A report on the transparency of social protection systems highlights progress and challenges – Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion – European Commission (europa.eu)
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