| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Korean government drew up a comprehensive target system for efficient welfare services and administration management that would minimize inconvenience and provide integrated welfare services. In addition, laws and systems were reorganized to prepare for this. By having ministries cooperate and connect public information as well as introduce the Social Security Information System (SSIS) step-by-step, the government minimized confusion. It did this in the following steps:
1) Reengineering the delivery process of welfare programs under the Ministry of Health and Welfare and building a target system (2008–2009):
- In April 2008, the SSIS first standardized and reengineered the delivery process of welfare programs under the Ministry of Health and Welfare. It drew up an Information Strategy Plan for its programs. Representatives of local government, ministries, and private professional IT consulting companies participated in drawing up common goals, and then built the information system.
- The architecture of the database, which used be built based on regions and welfare programs, was redesigned based on individuals and households. This meant that any welfare program could be processed using the system, and that individual and household recipients were at the center of state welfare programs rather than the government and its programs.
- In December 2009, the “Social Welfare Project Act” was amended to amalgamate the maximum number of official documents necessary for the SSIS from government and financial institutions. Comprehensive work guidelines for social welfare projects were prepared, and standards for delivery processing were proposed. Finally, civil servants in social welfare working in local governments were notified.
2) Managing the SSIS and preparing its pan-governmental spread (2010–2011)
- During the first stage of managing the system, local governments used the system for about 100 welfare services from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (January 2010). This helped minimize work confusion among civil servants and citizens. The system was successfully introduced through continued publicity targeting the public and training of civil servants.
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare conducted investigations twice a year to check the qualifications of service recipients using the SSIS. Unqualified recipients and newly qualified recipients could thus be identified.
3) Pursuing the pan-governmental use of the SSIS (2011–present)
- Encouraged by such achievements, the government held a state policy fine-tuning meeting in June 2011 and decided to connect the SSIS beyond Ministry of Health and Welfare programs but also to the programs of all 17 ministries.
- The government enacted a prime ministerial order in September 2011 that formed a task force for the comprehensive management of welfare information, because the implementation of such policy decisions demanded a cooperative system between the relevant government ministries.
- Two measures were pursued for the pan-governmental use of the SSIS from August 2012. First, pan-governmental use of the comprehensive investigation process (application–investigation–guarantee–decision) using the income, asset, and personal data of the SSIS was promoted. This allowed the precise selection of those in need of welfare payments and services. Second, the government acquired records of welfare program recipients from the ministries and public offices managing welfare programs. This allowed for advance inspection of prohibited welfare payments and services or duplicate provision by taking follow-up measures.
- The implementation of these policies, however, demanded a firm legal basis. When the current president Park was a legislator in 2012, she specified that government ministries must actively use the SSIS in the amendment of the Framework Act on Social Security. In addition, the government is currently investigating how the system can be used to create “welfare customized to the life cycle,” as pledged by the current administration in 2013.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Social Security Information System (SSIS) was first proposed by former president Lee Myung-bak as an election pledge and a tool for building of an efficient welfare delivery system. The Blue House, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, other government ministries as well as private institutions collaborated to complete the system in stages:
1) The first stage of the SSIS
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Task Force to revamp the system of providing social welfare formed in 2008 amended relevant laws in 2009 to prepare a legal basis for the building the new information system.
- According to the legal basis thus prepared, 37 government offices including the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the National Tax Service, and public institutions worked together for pan-governmental cooperation to acquire and use 448 types of official documents.
- On achieving pan-governmental cooperation, The first stage of the system was thus built, enabling the management of welfare services under the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In addition, the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service (KHWIS) was established in 2009 to take full responsibility for the management of the system after its development.
2) The second stage of the SSIS
- After 2010, the KHWIS organized and developed the SSIS for pan-governmental use. The prime minister’s office mediated the diverse needs of multiple offices for welfare payments and services.
- After February 2013, the 292 separate welfare services from 17 ministries were integrated, connected, and are now managed together using the SSIS.
- About 35,000 civil servants responsible for social welfare of local governments are now the main users of the system, as well as the civil servants of 17 ministries related to welfare. User polls are regularly conducted to address and solve any inconveniences they experience.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The budget to build and manage the Social Security Information System was consolidated by a strong leadership of Korea’s former president. A structure for the comprehensive provision of welfare services is now being built.
1) Consolidating financial resources to execute the president’s pledged project
- The Social Security Information System was an important pledge made by former president Lee Myung-bak, and a government budget was devoted to develop an information system for the management of welfare that reflected the characteristics of all official aids and payments made by the Korean government.
- A total of KRW 58 billion(54 million USD) was invested to build the system by the end of 2012. The first stage saw KRW 25.6 billion(24 million USD) invested to build the system, of which there was KRW 9.9 billion(9 million USD) in labor cost from 2009 to 2010. For later repair and maintenance, KRW 10.3(9 million USD) billion was spent. For the second stage, KRW 12.2 billion(11 million USD) was spent from 2011 to 2012.
2) Consolidating technological and human resources
- Technological resources for the Social Security Information System were consolidated by signing technology service contracts with private companies specializing in IT under the management and decision-making of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. As a large information system civil servants could not have built the SSIS, so assistance from the private sector was indispensable. In particular, business processes, which are difficult to realize with existing Web browsers, were made possible using X-internet technology. For this, the ministry signed user-right contracts and transferred technology.
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare established a division to be fully responsible for the stable management of the system. Today there are about 30 staff members working in the division and make decisions for additional development, expansion of features, and management of the system. About 100 staff members are employed at the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service, established at the end of 2009, and they currently provide technological support for the system, and are responsible for the working-level management of the system.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) Information precision of the Social Security Information System
- The system collects and uses 448 types of data from 37 government and public offices to precisely calculate the qualifications of welfare recipients. The state possesses the information, which represents all the data the government can legally collect. The precision in calculating and managing the qualifications of welfare recipients has largely improved since 2010.
2) Comprehensive management of welfare recipients’ qualifications and records
- The Social Security Information System generates or collects information on the qualifications and records of diverse welfare service recipients in order to regularly update it. Such information is highly reliable because it is provided in a simple way to numerous welfare providing institutions in need of the information to support their business processing. In this regard, the Social Security Information System plays the role of a hub in Korea’s welfare system.
3) Greater flexibility and expandability because of the newly designed database based on individuals and households
- The welfare administration information system that preceded the Social Security Information System had its database organized by region and program. Thus, when a welfare recipient moved, necessary information was often not transferred to the welfare organization in the region a recipient moved to. Furthermore, when a new welfare program was introduced, it suffered from technological limitations in adding features and processing relevant work. However, the Social Security Information System manages information on qualifications for and records of welfare payments by individuals and households, so that even if people change residence or new welfare programs are introduced, it is relatively easy to process them.
4) Supporting the welfare business processes of numerous ministries, including those of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, by comprehensively turning the processes into modules
- The Social Security Information System reengineered the business process to realize a standardized process of “application – investigation – guarantee – decision.” Each stage was combined and turned a module in 2013, in order to provide eight features and thus support the welfare business processes. This enabled civil servants involved in welfare provision to not only use information on the qualifications and records of welfare recipients in the Social Security Information System, but also to use all or parts of its business process features when in need to support its welfare provision work.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Social Security Information System (SSIS) is regularly monitored by a security system and civil servants in local governments.
1) Building a system for regular monitoring and management of the SSIS included:
- The System’s stability is very important for local government employees because they use it carry out everything from applications to investigation of qualifications, rulings, and the provision of payments.
- Given its importance, civil servants regularly monitor the system. The Korea Health and Welfare Information Service regularly manages the service, and as the system manager it requests organization as well as maintains a structure to immediately respond to errors. In addition, there is a regular monitoring system for the operation of the information system and anticipatory response protocol that works against potential problems.
- Key persons from local government who are using the System are selected to monitor the system’s operation. Regular activity reports collect opinions on improvement, which are reflected them in the system, thus making efforts to build diverse management monitoring structures. In addition, investigations are conducted twice a year to check and monitor both welfare recipients and the system.
2) Management of a system for regular monitoring and protection of personal information
- The Social Security Information System uses personal information, making monitoring the security of information very important. In order to secure the system:
- A technological and systemic security device was created for the protection of personal information and as a regular monitoring protocol. In particular, “the system for regular monitoring of personal information protection” determines rule violations through system log analyses and violators face disciplinary action.
- User awareness programs stress the importance of personal information protection through training.
3) Evaluation of the information system’s achievements alongside the evaluation of the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service
- The Social Security Information System is evaluated via the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service.
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare mandated the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service to manage the Social Security Information System. It is charged with ensuring quality management, linkage of information, and integration of information of the system through annual evaluations of the service by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
- In addition, Korea’s Board of Audit and Inspection regularly audits and evaluates items to supplement operating and managing the system, and the service reflects the findings of evaluations in its management.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Although there were stumbling blocks, such as legal problems, information protection problems, and the differing attitudes of ministries in supporting the building of the Social Security Information System (SSIS), the government and the KHWIS prepared measures to overcome them.
1) A legal basis for the pan-governmental use of the SSIS
- According to the current Social Welfare Project Act, the personal details can be collected under strict conditions. However, the legal basis for the use of the SSIS’s information for welfare projects of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and other ministries was weak.
- In 2012, when the incumbent president Park Geun-hye was a legislator, she eagerly tabled amendments to the Framework Act on Social Security and collaborated so that all government institutions could smoothly operate the system.
2) Solving the passive attitude of government institutions
- For the system to use the personal information collected by 37 government institutions, they would precisely fit the set standards. This task took much time and manpower because the government institutions responded passively to the initiative at first.
- To solve this problem, a separate task force was formed under by the prime minister to conduct monthly monitoring on progress made and to promote progress for the building of the information system.
3) Solving concerns over personal information leakage and abuse
- Many were worried of possible abuse and leakage of the information because the system contained personal details. Risk of hacking and leaks was minimized because the system did not operate on an open Internet network, but a closed administrative network. Risk remained, however, from system users leaking personal information.
- To solve this problem, 2 enforcement regulations and 39 guidelines were amended to enhance the degree of personal information protection. The system is also regularly monitored to prevent such problems.