Social Security Counter
Social Security Superintendence

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Social Security Counter proposal arose from the observation that many servers, upon reaching retirement, did not enjoy legal rights for missing deadlines to require such benefits, generally due to lack of information. It was noticed that the awareness regarding the social security importance happens between State’s public servers at the time of retirement, when irreversible losses for non-compliance with the legal obligations were already identified. At this point, the server was already nearing retirement and there was not enough time to make the necessary corrections with a view to a full retirement, according to their expectations. In other cases, servers reached the age limit for mandatory retirement and, for lack of information, continued working. When the Administration identified the problem, it was obliged to act in accordance with the law, and calculated the benefit, which, for being proportional, was lower than the sum paid to the active server. In these cases, the senior server was required to return the whole amount received that exceeded the social security benefit. The Social Security Superintendence of the State of Bahia Administration Department (Saeb) realized that the crux of the problem was the public server’s lack of information and acknowledged that this was also its role. Namely, it was extremely important to disseminate the social security culture and approach the active server by means of a quality information channel. Thus arose the Social Security Counter, which improved, taking information to the server’s workplace, even if such workplace was located in a city in Bahia’s interior.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Social Security Superintendence (Suprev) – an agency that is part of the structure of the State of Bahia Administration Department (Saeb) – proposed the solution and design of the program. The Social Security Counter operates inside State agencies, when required, or places where the most difficulties were identified. A travelling structure is assembled, with a team composed of analysts of the Superintendence and representatives of the social security areas, such as retirement, pension for death, and social security funds. The structure is assembled at the server’s workplace. The Social Security Counter was launched in 2011, first at the capital. After being tested and, in view of the immense lack of information, the project was expanded and interiorized. The Social Security Counter is intended to protect the elderly from the present and the future, ensuring the full enjoyment of the social security benefit by means of server awareness regarding their rights and obligations. Older servers and those with low education levels were the most affected by forfeiture of rights, although there were problems in all schooling ranges. The server that seeks the Counter receives an individualized social security service, supported by computer programs developed for this purpose. All active servers are benefited and can be assisted by the Counter, that is, Suprev also assists its future client. The strategy is completed with the partnership that disseminates the event, which takes place on the Portal do Servidor (the Server’s Website), regional blogs, electronic messages to regional school units, health units, State universities, treasury agencies, and other agencies of the State structure existing in municipalities.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Until the Social Security Counter was launched, servers needed to go to a service center to clarify doubts. The Counter innovated by taking information to the server’s workplace. Before the server that answered provided general information, without in-depth knowledge, generating low quality level data. Another innovation of the Social Security Counter was the involvement, in the assistance area, of analysts in charge of preparing social security benefits proceedings. This initiative provided to the server the access to more accurate and complete information regarding their functional status. Another innovation was the low cost strategy adopted by the project: the human resources used in the Counter are the same who work at the headquarters of Suprev, the host agency owns the computer equipment involved, and it is not necessary to purchase new equipment because they are used temporarily.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Social Security Counter is installed with Suprev’s workers. The idea is not to generate costs with the hiring of personnel in order to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the initiative. The amount of visiting technicians is proportional to the amount of servers located at the agency visited. Every agency, regardless of size (small, medium or large) can receive the Counter. Partnerships are established with universities, Regional Offices of the Education Department, Health Secretariat and treasury agencies to assist the population that lacks information the most, which is that located in the State’s interior. The dissemination process also uses resources that do not involve spending, such as electronic messages, SMS, in addition to the cooperation of local radio stations, blogs and websites. Visits to the Counter began in the capital and were subsequently expanded with the interiorization, which defined as priority the most populous municipalities. It is expected that all regions of the State of Bahia, which has 463 municipalities, will be attended. The services at the Counter began in October 2011 and, since then, it has individually assisted 4,288 servers, offering 7,183 services. That is, in general, the server goes to the Counter to solve or obtain information about more than one subject. The project also aims to disseminate the social security culture in the State, which is not common in the Brazilian population, which leaves seniors in a situation of vulnerability as regards their proceeds.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The State Administration Secretariat bears the costs with hotels and transportation of visiting analysts; State universities, Secretariats of Education and Health – by means of their Regional Offices – and the Treasury Secretariat participate in the partnership by providing space for assistance, computers and support to disseminate the event.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Technical resources: computers owned by the host agency, which also provides assistance area, internet access, and computer network of the Bahia State Government. Human Resources: analysts of the Social Security Superintendence involved with processes that generate social security benefits; Suprev servers involved with resources of the funds that support the state social security. The costs associated with this initiative are limited to the hotel and transportation of servers visiting municipalities that receive the Counter. In the capital, where there is no cost involved, the Counter is composed of up to five analysts, if the host agency has a large amount of servers. The limit of two analysts per visit was stablished to minimize costs in the rural areas. Each analyst spends around two daily rates per visit. Mid-level analysts are paid hotel averaging USD 36, while top-level analysts are paid USD 50 on average. There was no installation cost of the project. It is worth mentioning that the Bahia State Social Security administers two social security funds, the Funprev and the Baprev, whose revenues arise out of discounts made from the payroll of all civil servers and active military. Capital units receive the visit for one day, but, if the number of servers is large, this time is doubled and the service is provided for two days. In the State’s rural areas, the visit lasts from six to eight hours a day, and there are cases in which this service is extended. Around 100 servers are assisted daily. As there is still a large number of seniors that require assistance in Counters, a longer time is needed to provide information. In addition, as the Counter's commitment lies with quality information, the time invested in each attendance varies considerably. The Social Security Counter provides assistance to agencies of the State’s three branches: Executive, Judiciary and Legislative. Most visitors are from the Executive branch. The Public Prosecutor's Office has entered into a partnership and the Counter will be installed in that agency for the first time. The Social Security Counter is coordinated by the Superintendence’s Advisory Board, which presents an assessment of each visit to the Administration Secretary. SAEB’s Communication Board guarantees the support to visit disclosing activities. The visits are monthly because the assistance team is the same that leads social security benefits processes, with the exception of the visits that occur in the State’s rural areas, which occur more than once a month because the itinerary includes neighboring municipalities and aim to maximize the resources invested.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. Improving information quality for the functional life of the server; b. Prior and indicative knowledge of the server’s proceeds after retirement. c. Onsite training of Human Resources (agency at the capital or municipality visited), who are able to better assist servers after the visit to the Social Security Counter, thus improving the service to the public. d. Dissemination of the social security culture between the State’s servers, from their starting date up to retirement. e. Change in the service culture in the public service. After each service, a satisfaction survey is filled to evaluate the Social Security Counter, using grades from 0 to 10. In the last survey, carried out from 16 to 19 September, the project received grade 9.62, which is excellent. During this time, the Counter never received less than grade 9, and criticisms were made with the intention of improving the assistance and, especially, with the request to increase the frequency of visits. A new survey is carried out at each visit. It is not necessary to identify the server grading the Counter, who will also have the opportunity and space to make additional comments. On these occasions, servers have shown satisfaction with the service and the initiative. In the capital, one representative from each of the Superintendence areas composes the team, which are social security, pension for death, funds administration, and technology. In the interior of the State, however, the team is smaller and privileges areas of greatest demand and technology, which is mandatory in every visit. At the end of each visit, the Administration Secretary is provided with an assessment of such visit, which includes the number of assistances, the grades given, and a selection of messages logged by servers assisted.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A satisfaction survey is applied at each visit. The server assisted is invited to answer a survey that evaluates the assistance provided by the Social Security Superintendence server, the place where the assistance was provided, the service requested, service time, clarity of information offered, and an additional space to register complaints, compliments or comments deemed suitable. The data are calculated and a table with the history of visits is updated, in addition to a graphic with the panorama of all visits. The data collected is presented to the Social Security Superintendent and to the Administration Secretary. In addition to the satisfaction surveys, the strategy is assessed by means of the Management Monitoring System of the State of Bahia Administration Secretariat, in which it is possible to follow up the development and compliance with the targets established to expand the service. A computerized monitoring system of the Administration Secretariat’s actions monitors the compliance with the assistance goals of the Social Security Counter, taking into account the compliance percentage with each goal, obstacles and deadlines.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacle is the dimensioning of the team of attendants, who are already servers of Suprev involved with the benefits processes, which sometimes causes an overload in the routine activities of the unit. The size of the State and the amount of municipalities (463), most not served by airports, submits technicians to burdensome and time-consuming travels by car or bus. Due to the long distances among municipalities and between municipalities and the capital – where the headquarters of the Social Security Superintendence are located – technicians have to follow an itinerary of many days to maximize the use of resources. In the Judicial and Legislative Branches, a server from the unit’s own personal area supports the works developed at the Counter to ensure the accuracy of the server’s historical data, as these agencies have personnel systems different from those used by the Executive branch. It should be further noted that this support is important and that there is not any loss of quality in the work performed at the Social Security Counter at those agencies, and that this initiative has already been consolidated because the obstacles are fully overcome.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The main positive impacts for the State’s and the Administration’s servers may already be perceived: social security culture strengthened with more attentive servers, concerned about the integrity of their welfare, seeking information and complying with legal obligations; celerity in the retirement process, which – it is worth mentioning – in some areas of the State may reach an average of four years. Large State secretariats, with a large number of servers, have required the Social Security Counter's visit as a benefit to their servers and as a way to make them aware of their obligations and rights. Thereby, obligations are complied with, and problems and diligences regarding retirement cases are avoided. This behavior has greatly benefited social security benefits processes, resulting in greater speed and enabling the Social Security Superintendence – as the organ that centralizes the State’s social security issues – to assist a greater number of cases. Servers who are available to other agencies, for example, must pay their social security contributions to the agency were they are originally located. However, due to lack of information, the server’s recipient agency complies with social security obligations in another scheme. The server only sees the error at the time of retirement and, then, the process that would take three to four months will take thrice as much. Many servers seek the Counter to estimate their retirement, and find out they are already entitled to the benefit. Other servers find out that the time already recorded may generate, if the record is removed, another retirement. Currently, the Social Security Counter also communicates with the personnel area of the visited agencies to bring to their knowledge misconceptions that must be corrected to solve issues regarding the server’s work time. The Social Security Counter’s coordination always ensure that issues identified are resolved, offering feedback to the server, even if at a later date.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The project has adopted low maintenance costs. Socially, the Counter is an example of citizenship. The server leaves well attended and satisfied with the information, as surveys applied can prove. It saves time and effort, especially for the State server located in rural areas who needed to travel to the capital to obtain precise information. The institution’s image has been consolidated with the Counter’s visits, resulting in greater credibility. The model has already been presented to the other States during meetings of the National Social Security Council – Conaprev, and Bahia is a pioneer in this initiative to bring quality information to the server’s workplace. The Social Security Counter has received invitations from initiatives that benefit the servers and to act on commemorative days, which shows that the initiative is recognized. Trade associations, such as the Association of Technical Analysts of the State, have requested a Social Security Counter specifically to assist the category. The Legislative Assembly of Bahia, despite its specifics, also requested the visit of the Social Security Counter. The City Hall of Manaus, capital of the Brazilian State of Amazonas, sent a team to visit the State of Bahia to know the programs that are conducted by the Social Security Superintendence. One of these programs was the Social Security Counter, which the City Hall of Manaus intends to replicate.

 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)
It is possible to achieve good results with strategic partnerships and few resources, and to make a difference in many people’s lives. The speed of the internal processes also depends on the quality of the information provided by the agency, i.e., well-informed servers provide accurate data for their requests and comply with the legal obligations that determine the processing of cases without diligences and difficulties. The Social Security Counter has benefited all servers; however, it has been helping especially servers with low schooling levels, as this public has greater difficulty to interpret the current legislation and cannot always foresee future problems. Another thread especially benefited is the low-income population, which has no resources to travel to the Bahian capital for guidance. The Counter has reached even indigenous schools servers. The project is democratic and fair to the community, besides being the Social Security of the State of Bahia, the only one in Brazil to offer this type of initiative. Other government branches have already requested a visit of the Counter, even though they are different from the Executive Branch, which forces us to adjust the assistance process. However, such adjustments do not compromise the quality of the assistance provided, which shows the project’s maturity.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Social Security Superintendence
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Pedro Araújo
Title:   Superintendent  
Telephone/ Fax:   55 71 3116-5418
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   pedro.araujo@saeb.ba.gov.br  
Address:   Avenida Octavio Mangabeira, No. 6.929 – 1º andar Boca do Rio
Postal Code:   41.760-690
City:   Salvador
State/Province:   Bahia
Country:  

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