SineBahia – Central Unit
Secretariat of Labor, Employment, Income and Sports of the Government of Bahia

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In Brazil, the Public Labor, Employment and Income System (SPTER) is specifically oriented to professional qualification, work intermediation and unemployment benefit claims. This tripod structures the System since the Unemployment Benefit Program was created and regulated by Federal Law # 7998 of 11/Jan/1990. Since then, most SPTER actions are executed as part of an agreement with the Federal Government via the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE), with the State Governments, and more recently, with municipal governments. The agreements make it possible to establish and operate the worker assistance units that are part of the National Employment System (SINE) network, and establish minimum parameters for the execution of public policies. In 2007 in the State of Bahia, specifically in Salvador, citizens could count on a SINE assistance network comprising 10 units. At that time, service management was focused on meeting unemployment benefit claim demands; on training dissociated from other worker services, since not even course enrolments were carried out at SINE units; and on a passive work intermediation policy, concerned with meeting a demand of a few vacancies acquired with companies. The problems faced by citizens consisted of an insufficient offer of job vacancies for intermediation, and of candidates being referred without the characteristics required by prospected job offers, with reduced the possibilities of insertion in the labor market via the Public Employment System and of retaining company custom. Associated with intermediation problems, the lack of a reference center providing access to the many public services concerned with the employability or income improvement of socially vulnerable groups was perceived as an obstacle to the fulfillment of the State Government’s social role. The establishment of assistance units offering a range of integrated employment and income-related public services was conceived as a solution to improve the work of SPETR during the II National Congress: Public Labor, Employment and Income System held in 2005 in São Paulo. The final resolutions concluded that “the institutional organization that is adequate to the systemic integration of functions on a territorial basis is the establishment of Integrated Employment, Labor and Income Public Centers” (II National Congress, 2005, p. 313, Resolution 23). Resolution 16 of the same Congress also affirms that “the systemic integration of the many Public Employment, Labor and Income Policies should guide the construction of the Public Employment, Labor and Income System, having the International Work Organization Conventions and the national experience as parameters. This movement should seek the systematic improvement of effectiveness in inserting workers in industry, as well as to favor social inclusion in cities.” (II National Congress, 2005, p. 311, Resolution 17).

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution of implementing a citizen assistance unit to provide integrated public Employment, Labor and Income services was enabled by the Government of the State of Bahia via its Secretariat of Labor, Employment, Income and Sports (SETRE). On a state level, SETRE executed SPTER actions in SINE units distributed through the capital and outside major cities. During 2007, management identified the need to implement a unit focused on work intermediation in order to better serve citizens looking for work opportunities and qualification courses. With this diagnosis, SineBahia’s central unit was opened on January 18th, 2008, in an area measuring 1500 m² capable of assisting 800 persons/day, characterized as a Public Integrated Employment, Labor and Income Center. The central unit is an integrated assistance area where work intermediation is available to the population, such as registration of citizens seeking placement in the labor market and their referral to prospected job opportunities; claiming unemployment benefit, a temporary financial assistance offered to workers after an unjustified dismissal; qualification actions, consisting of courses, workshops, on-site lectures and enrolment for state and federal government qualification programs; labor law guidance for those who have been dismissed in order to have their rights assured by the end of their labor contract; microcredit arranged through CrediBahia, so that small entrepreneurs may improve their businesses, enabling income and local development; intermediation of self-employed services, assistance for service providers to improve their customer base and income. The initiative solved the problem by improving the offer of public services for citizens looking for labor, job and income opportunities, concentrating them in the same area. At SineBahia’s central unit, citizens can use the services that are more adequate to their needs. With this solution, the government brought citizens close to the many solutions thought to improve their socioeconomic condition, at the same time conforming to the guidelines of Bahia’s Decent Work Agenda, a commitment by the government, employers and workers to promote and create dignified work, with gender, race and disability equality. Audiences benefitting from SineBahia’s central unit services consists mostly of unemployed persons; persons seeking social qualification; self-employed persons; persons with disabilities; young persons seeking their first job; unfairly dismissed workers who comply with the requirements to claim unemployment benefit. Audiences also comprise public and private employers, as well as microentrepreneurs.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
SineBahia is an integrated worker attention center offering in the same building intermediation, qualification, and other services that make social inclusion easier for unemployed citizens, while preparing them for insertion in the labor market. The service brings workers nearer to work and income opportunities. • Professional (re) insertion in the labor market with support from Psychology Service and Professional Qualification; • Social and Professional Qualification workshops/courses for vulnerable audiences: women, afro-descendants, youngsters, domestic workers, women victims of domestic violence; •(Re) insertion of homeless people, convicts/persons who left the Prison System, youngsters who fulfilled socio-educational measures; • Professional guidance for youths; • Actions for Persons with Disabilities: professional (re)insertion, workshops and courses, Brazilian sign language interpreter; • Brazilian sign language course for public servants/companies; • Priority assistance for mothers with children aged less than 5 years old; • Affirmative Project – course for civil service examination: low-income women and afro-descendant men; • Microcredit for entrepreneurs; • Labor law guidance; • SineBahia-Patra: Qualification and intermediation for self-employed workers (95% of which are afro-descendant women) providing services ; • SineBahia –Mobile Unit: a minibus equipped for worker assistance.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
When the SineBahia central unit opened its doors, the solution focused on intervening with the problem initially identified, consisting on the low offer of vacancies for intermediation and referral of candidates outside the characteristics required by prospected job offers. Therefore, strategic intervention actions consisted of increasing the number of people in the vacancy acquisition team; hiring consultants to publicize services and follow-up on the degree of company satisfaction; establishing the Psychology Service to pre-select and promote the training of service-providing teams, and acquiring and managing vacancies. In order to increase people’s chances of securing a job placement, at this first moment the unit started to offer feedback to candidates who failed the pre-selection processes conducted by the Psychology Service and to offer three-hour lectures (work guidance, employability, entrepreneurship, new orthographic rules and current computing), courses and short, 16-hour workshops (basic computing, writing skills, grammar, oratory, mathematics and logical thinking concepts, service quality, selling skills, telemarketing, store operator and administrative assistance). The year 2009 saw the creation of the Worker-Friendly Company Trophy, which is awarded to partner companies and media companies that communicate the availability of acquired vacancies every day and for free, thus contributing to the success of the service. Labor law guidance services and the self-employed intermediation unit were incorporated in April 2009 and February 2011, respectively. Mobile SineBahia came into service in March 2013, followed by opening of a CrediBahia service branch. Key steps for implementation of the solution: 1.To identify public services in the area of work, employment and income; 2.To evaluate existing services and decide whether there is need for intervention; 3.To define the ideal capacity for each service in the assistance unit; 4. To identify a building in an easily accessible region with enough space for the unit’s capacity; 5.To make interventions in the building’s infrastructure (renovation work, purchase of equipment, furniture); 6.To select, hire and/or transfer personnel to the unit; 7.To offer training to teams regarding all services to be made available at the model unit; 8.To prepare a publicity campaign about the model unit’s purpose and its operning date.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The SineBahia – central unit project was implemented by the Government of the State of Bahia through its Secretariat of Labor, Employment, Income and Sports (SETRE), and especially through the efforts of the Superintendency of Work Development (SUDET), in articulation with the General Directory – DG, with funds made available from the Workers Fund (FAT) and from the Government of the State of Bahia. The team involved in the implementation had expertise from previous experiences. We also highlight the role of the Federal Government’s Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE).
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
In order to put the National Employment System’s actions into operation, SETRE makes agreements with the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Through these agreements, Federal funds are transferred to the State with the purpose of carrying out the actions agreed to in the work plan, the State being responsible for a 10% offset. The funds from the agreements cover the costs and investments made in the entire SineBahia assistance network. However, due to its size, opening and maintaining the central unit required an investment by the State above the 10% envisaged in the agreements. Furthermore, some of the services provided at the unit are not part of agreement objectives (labor law guidance, psychology service, short courses and workshops for social and professional qualification, intermediation for self-employed workers, microcredit). Presently, the agreement with MTE covers expenses with rent, purchase of furniture and equipment, stationary, telephone, water and electricity bills, and outsourced services (cleaning and security). The State bears the cost of paying the civil servants, which amounts to approximately 68% of the R$ 2,940,000.00 invested per year in the unit’s operations. Since 2007, approximately R$ 1,670,000.00 have been invested in the implementation and changes to the central unit.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Providing workers with conditions to have access to job and income opportunities through integrated services is part of the SineBahia philosophy, a mission incorporated by the entire team. The indicators to be shown have been reached only because of the commitment of all our fellow workers, who are immensely concerned with the quality of the services provided. The results obtained by Sinebahia after overhauling the services and implementing the Central Unit in 2008 demonstrated the exact dimension of the progress achieved in employability throughout the State. The success achieved in the capital city as a result of the central unit’s good performance is reflected on the high level of workers inserted in the labor market. This result owes especially to the integration of the unit’s many areas. According to the 2010 Census, the population of Salvador consists mainly of afro-descendant persons who find it difficult to have access to work and income opportunities. This is the audience served daily at the SineBahia Central Unit since the beginning of its operations. When comparing the first five years of the model unit operation (2008-2012) with the five years before its implementation (2003-2007), one can observe the great progress in the services provided, as indicated below: * 80,033 workers inserted in the labor market, a 416% growth; of these, 3,881 consisted of persons with disabilities; * 200,647 prospected job opportunities, with a 576% increase in the number of vacancies acquired; * 27,708 workers served by workshops and short courses taught at the Central Unit (this service was not available before 2008); * Since its transfer to the Central Unit in December 2011, SineBahia-Patra has intermediated 202,679 service instances up to November 2013, of which 95% were provided by afro-descendant women. One of the initiatives of this service was to launch A Arte da Boa Mesa (The Art of Good Eating), a book with recipes written by female cooks registered with the Service. The publication contributed toward the results, praising domestic labor and raising women’s self-esteem.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
At the time the Central Unit was implemented, SineBahia used the Actions and Employment Management System (SIGAE), made available by the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE). In July 2010, a new solution in information technology was introduced: SIGAEWEB. The platform enabled citizens to have access to their own registration via the Internet, and to check for job offers available on the vacancy board. Bahia was invited to conduct a pilot run of the system. In order to further improve interaction with employment public policies, the Mais Emprego (More Jobs) platform ( was made available in August 2012. This new portal used by the entire SINE network in Brazil further improved the possibilities of inserting citizens in the labor market, because apart from enabling workers to see job offers, it also allows workers to self-refer to these jobs. The employers are also allowed to conduct all processes via the World Wide Web, from making vacancies available to registering candidates approved at selection processes. The More Jobs platform enables the management and evaluation of all indicators, while counting daily and monthly figures for: workers served, vacancies prospected, referral letters issued, employment benefits claimed, workers summoned by phone, and especially, the number of workers inserted in the labor market. With this data it is possible to establish targets for each of the services offered, in order to improve services to workers. Intermediation for self-employed workers is monitored through GTA, the Self-Employed Worker Management system, a tool developed by the State with the objective of enabling the referral of self-employed professionals. All further services (qualification through courses and workshops, as well as microcredit) are monitored by specific data bases without a web interface.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
A few obstacles were faced when implementing the SineBahia central unit. Initially, it was necessary to rent a building with specific location characteristics (easy access for unemployed workers) and adequate physical space for the initial operations, with the perspective of aggregating other services. The team was carefully selected and received technical and behavior training to work in conformity with the service’s philosophy. However, 90% of workers were hired through the Special Administrative Law System (REDA), with contracts valid for a maximum of 4 years. Therefore, after this period, they were dismissed and a new group had to be selected, trained and hired through the same regime to preserve service quality. As the service grew, it was vital to improve the technology area by upgrading computers, internet link, network, software, as well as to resize the energy substation in order to incorporate new equipment. It was also necessary to adapt and renovate the unit to welcome the new added services, redefine settings and to follow service flows. Due to the need for more offices where selection processes could be conducted and workers could be referred for vacancies, we struck partnerships with public and private universities. Society’s trust in the National Employment System (SINE) needed to be recovered. Therefore, there was intense teamwork involving the consulting/summoning teams; visits in loco; active telemarketing informing the new methodology; prospection of vacancies in various complexity levels; publicity involving the services, increasing the offer of vacancies and referrals; the provision of services to workers was also increased, which favored impartial, courteous, and effective access.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The SineBahia Central Unit was set up as an integrated attention center for workers. Since it put into practice a work methodology that gathered in the same building various labor-related services, it improved access to work and income opportunities. Between 800 and one thousand service instances are provided daily, if we consider only intermediation services for formal work. Between 2008 and 2012, 519,140 new workers registered for intermediation at the state’s capital city. The recognition of an excellent service in which socially vulnerable workers have the central role, provided society with a different view of the activities proposed by SineBahia. In order to boost the number of workers inserted in the labor market, SineBahia offers the Vacancy Central. This team, which is responsible for acquiring and managing new job opportunities, acquired 200,647 vacancies between 2008 and 2012 in the city of Salvador. Therefore, it is possible for citizens to look for vacancies at various companies in the same place and through the internet. This different perspective of SineBahia’s work is also shared by the media, which publicises vacancies available everyday, for free. Furthermore, SineBahia has become a beacon for the labor market, since its administrators are invited to make their positions known regarding a number of subjects related with Bahia’s labor market. Among media actions, there are information campaigns, which make workers aware of the usefulness of the services available, and dissemination of the work philosophy developed. Such actions promote transparent activities and credibility of the institution before society. But the chief indicator that confirms the efficiency of services offered to citizens is the number of placed workers, that is, workers referred to selection processes and hired by partner companies. Between 2008 and 2012, 80,033 workers were inserted in the Salvador labor market through SineBahia, a growth of 416% in comparison with the period 2003-2007. The action by two specific areas was indispensable to achieve this number: the Psychology Service and the Social and Professional Qualification. The Psychology Service has the objective of pre-selecting and verifying candidate profiles for operational, administrative and managerial vacancies, enabling more assertiveness in worker referral and increasing the number of workers placed by SineBahia in the labor market. The following techniques are used: specific knowledge tests, psychological tests, group dynamics and interviews. The objective is to refer candidates whose profiles are the closest to that required by employers. Between 2008 and 2012, 187,432 workers were seen by the Psychological Service. This service offers a Continued Education Program for Psychology interns integrating the team. The Social and Professional Qualification area objective is to contribute to the professional qualification of unemployed workers who seek the Central Unit for insertion in the labor market. Actions involve free, short-term educational processes, imparted in a systematic and organized way. Thus, citizens learn and/or update their knowledge and develop skills and attitudes according to defined objectives. At the Central Unit they are offered lectures, courses and workshops that aim at improving approval at selection processes. The courses/workshops have an inclusive characteristic, and are also directed at audiences with disabilities. The highest number of service instances at the Central Unit is related to intermediation for formal work, with the support of the Social and Professional Qualification area directed at vulnerable audiences, women, afro-descendants and beneficiaries of income transfer programs. Other benefits to citizens are intermediation services for self-employed workers provided by SineBahia-Patra; labor law guidance provided by a team of specialists who can calculate employment termination fees for free and also CrediBahia, which provides access to microcredit. The Central Unit also offers the mobile SineBahia, which makes it possible to provide intermediation and documentation services at various points in the city and throughout the State. Since it was opened in 2013, it has provided services to 2,396 people from 8 municipalities.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The activities at the Central Unit are guaranteed by funds from the Government of the State of Bahia and the Federal Government. Service quality is recognized by the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), which constantly send national and international delegations to find out about the work methodology developed and schedule training for their respective teams. Therefore, technical personnel from the labor secretariats of 13 states – Alagoas, Ceará, the Federal District, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, São Paulo and Sergipe – have already visited the unit. It should be noted that eight international delegations have visited the SineBahia Central Unit: Angola, France, El Salvador, Italy, Mozambique, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The experience in Bahia inspired a technical cooperation agreement signed by Brazil and the Dominican Republic with the objective of strengthening that country’s Public Employment System. The transfer of work methodology by SineBahia was conducted through the Brazilian Government, more specifically the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Brazilian Cooperation Agency. Dominican technicians found out about the activities carried out at the Central Unit and were trained in the methodology used. Giving continuity to the cooperation, SineBahia representatives visited the Dominican Republic to give training at their main cities. The objective to be achieved is to restructure the assistance unit at Santo Domingo, the country’s capital, increasing its physical space, making new services available and adopting the information system used by SineBahia. In March 2013, the Labor Solidarity Center (CST) in São Paulo implemented Program Orienta (Guidance Program) based on the short workshops and courses by the Social and Professional Qualification area taught at the SineBahia Central Unit. Therefore, like the experience in Bahia, short courses are also taught in the country’s largest city, focusing the difficulties encountered by workers during selection processes. It is important to note that the methodology used by SineBahia’s central unit is easy to transfer and can be adapted to countries whose challenge is to face unequal access to public services, bureaucracy, low schooling and lack of professional qualification among its population.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The SineBahia – central unit experience illustrates that it is possible to provide public services with quality and efficiency in the short term, to invest in creative solutions with professionalism. The chief point to improve public service quality and strengthen the Public Labor, Employment and Income System (SPTER) is to focus on citizens and to develop a new methodology to integrate services that cater for the needs of unemployed workers, in order to make it easier to have access to work and income opportunities and promote social inclusion. The SineBahia – Central Unit model demonstrates that developing excellence in the provision of services, offering transparency and responsibility, assures the loyalty of companies and a continuous offer of vacancies, contributing effectively to the insertion of citizens in the formal labor market. Public administration must have the commitment to identify the State’s public and private investments, checking new demands for labor, planning social and professional qualification programs according to the needs of enterprises and to refer workers to occupations created in the formal market, minimizing social inequality; also to encourage business opportunities, encouraging entrepreneurship and self-employed activities, strengthening citizen protagonism. The methodology of SineBahia – Central Unit shortens the distance between workers and labor, and demonstrates that it is possible to attain high performance in public services by continuously improving them, reinventing itself every day, on a par with technological evolution, the demands of the formal and informal labor market, and essentially, catering for the needs of socially vulnerable workers. In order to make the SineBahia model more effective, it is necessary to create software to integrate the management and evaluation system of all services provided and to supply individual citizen information.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Secretariat of Labor, Employment, Income and Sports of the Government of Bahia
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Maria Thereza Oliveira de Andrade Souza
Title:   Superintendent  
Telephone/ Fax:   (+55 71) 3115-1594 / (+55 71) 3115-9936
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Av. Luís Viana Filho, nº 200, 2ª Avenida, Centro Administrativo da Bahia- CAB
Postal Code:   41.745-003
City:   Salvador
State/Province:   Bahia

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