Reaching-out Community Service Center
Seoul Metropolitan Government

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
○ Issues related to poor, at-risk families and the elderly have continued to arise, leading to a rapid increase in the welfare budget and expansion of welfare activities. However, the Republic of Korea does not have sufficient numbers of welfare workers and also lacks a beneficiary-centered welfare administration, where social workers go out and visit marginalized, poor and at-risk families in person. From 2011 to 2013, the number of people qualified to receive social welfare increased by 73 percent, rising from 1.48 million to 2.574 million. However, the number of social welfare workers increased by a mere 18 percent, from 3,674 to 4,365. This created a bottleneck effect, as all social welfare-related work is carried out through community service centers. The shortage of social welfare workers has made it difficult to provide prompt services to those in need, resulting in personnel and material gaps in the public welfare delivery system. ○ The rapid industrialization and urbanization of the Republic of Korea resulted in low life satisfaction among Koreans. Among the 34 OECD member countries, Korea ranked 26th in this category in 2013 and 25th in 2014, while ranking the lowest, at 34th, in the Community Index for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014. Korean society has become a place where everyone works only for their own benefit. The number of low-income citizens not receiving welfare benefits has reached nearly 290,000, and the number of households defaulting on their electricity bills for periods of three months or longer has reached 75,000. These figures are an indication of the large number of households that are unable to receive social welfare benefits, such as the mother and her two daughters in Songpa-gu, Seoul, who committed suicide due to poverty. However, many still consider poverty to be a personal problem rather than a societal one. ○ Since the role of community service centers, which are points of direct contact with residents, is limited to handling civil complaints and administrative tasks, few people actually visit them in search of support. Moreover, the proportion of people that trust the government stands at only 40 percent.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
○ We strengthened the public welfare delivery system by significantly increasing the number of personnel at the community service centers. ○ Aside from public welfare, we expanded the community sharing and caretaker networks, thereby creating an environment in which residents actively help other members of their communities. ○ We also strengthened regional communities by establishing spaces where residents can come together to form networks and discuss issues that arise in their daily lives.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
We sought solutions by focusing on recreating Seoul as a citizen-centered city where people are happy and establishing community service centers that work together with residents. 1. Through the large increase in the number of welfare workers at community service centers, we have created an administration that is truly focused on welfare beneficiaries. - Since 2014, the number of social welfare personnel (social welfare workers and visiting nurses) has more than doubled. 2. We have launched universal welfare programs that are customized to each stage of citizens’ lives and are not limited to only low-income households. - These programs target at-risk families in welfare blind spots, elderly citizens who have reached the age of 65 or 70, and households with new mothers. - By breaking away from our focus on addressing only civil complaints made by residents who visit community service centers, we have implemented a system where social welfare personnel visit the homes of the residents with the goal of eliminating blind spots in the social welfare system. 3. We have also assigned visiting nurses to the community service centers and tasked them with conducting thorough medical checkups for residents in order to narrow the health and health span gaps. 4. We also reorganized the functions of the community service centers by expanding the common spaces for residents and making various other improvements. 5. Furthermore, we provided support to help connect the many small groups of residents with various other meetings and create a regional community by identifying local problems that need to be resolved and making decisions on the solutions through resident assemblies

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
○ To shift their previous focus on civil complaints and administrative affairs, community service centers were reorganized with an emphasis on welfare and laying the foundation for universal rather than selective welfare. - We have analyzed and adjusted the roles of the community service centers, redesigned them, and restructured the organization of their personnel and teams to create resident-centered spaces. - In order to foster the ability of residents to resolve the issues arising in their own neighborhoods, resident organizations were created and enabled to develop resources and establish a system of sharing created by residents, for residents. ○ This is an initiative that encompasses health, welfare, regional communities, administration, and various other sectors. The implementation of this initiative was made possible by governance that involved the people, the city, and the city’s districts, neighborhoods, and welfare facilities.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Seoul Metropolitan Government has worked together with related districts and private organizations to establish 432 community service centers in 283 neighborhoods throughout Seoul, having a positive impact on the lives of 6,859,417 citizens. After the program is expanded to 342 neighborhoods by July 2017, community service centers will be established in all neighborhoods in Seoul by 2018, providing services to all 10 million residents of the city.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Seoul Metropolitan Government was responsible for the initial design of the project. After the design was complete, participating districts were chosen through an open call, and action plans were developed and implemented in consideration of the specific circumstances of each district and in cooperation with the private sector. - April 2014: Established plans for the operation of a taskforce to reorganize the functions of community service centers and the implement related measures. - June-September 2014: Consulted with private welfare organizations and experts regarding policies. - September 2014: Established the basic plan for community service centers and formed the promotion headquarters. - December 2014: Called for the first round of proposals and promoted the recruitment of more personnel, etc. - March-June 2015: Carried out test operations of community service centers in four neighborhoods and promoted the improvement of spaces in the centers involved in the first round of the project. - April 2015: Confirmed the title of the project (Reaching Out Community Service Center) and developed a brand identity (BI). - July 2015: Launched the first round of the Reaching Out Community Service Center project, encompassing 80 community service centers. - September 2015: Called for the second round of proposals and promoted the recruitment of more personnel. - March 2016: Began onsite monitoring of the first-round community service centers, consulted experts, etc. - July 2016: Presented the results of the first-round centers and launched the second round of the Reaching Out Community Service Center project, encompassing 203 centers. - October 2016: Called for the third round of proposals. ○ We also recruited more personnel for the Reaching Out Community Service Center project. - The government added 340 visiting nurses, 67 neighborhood enterprise experts, and 1,534 social welfare workers, reducing the number of eligible social welfare recipients for which each social worker is responsible from 170 to 115. It also recruited more personnel to provide support for residents in different stages of their lives. ○ Budget - KRW 18.731 billion in 2015 ⇒ KRW 54.433 billion in 2016 ⇒ KRW 72.05 billion in 2017

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
From its planning to implementation, the Reaching Out Community Service Center project has been promoted by Seoul Metropolitan Government and the public-private governance-type promotion committee. Seoul Metropolitan Government provides administrative services to meet the needs of citizens through this promotion committee, which consists of related bureaus of the city government and officials responsible for the districts in which the program is implemented, as well as through private social welfare organizations made up of neighborhood organizations, social economic organizations, Seoul citizens, and experts on welfare, health, communities, and administration.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
○ We have been able to realize “reaching-out welfare” through welfare planners and active efforts to eliminate welfare blind spots. - We have continued to monitor and strengthen the support system for the poor, at-risk families that had already been identified, made efforts to identify other isolated and vulnerable citizens, and helped them forge connections with local communities. - We provide welfare information services to people who have reached the age of 65, when citizens enter the elderly age group. - We also provide information on universal welfare to households with expectant mothers or new mothers and infants. ○ The visiting nurse service has improved the health of residents and enabled people to take better care of their own health. - To increase the level of health of the elderly and health equity and strengthen our social bond with residents, we pay visits to all elderly citizens when they turn 65 or 70. - We monitor infants’ growth and development and inspect the childrearing environment of households. We also provide physical and psychological health checkups for new mothers, who play a decisive role in the growth and development of their babies. ○ We provide a comprehensive welfare service through our welfare consultant program and manage welfare cases at the neighborhood level. - We identify unaddressed needs through comprehensive, in-depth consultations and work with other service-related institutions. - When citizens apply for welfare services, we provide professional, comprehensive consultations to ensure they receive all the services they need, along with a wealth of information on the services than can address their various needs. ○ We have revitalized local communities by reinforcing the capabilities of residents and giving them opportunities to form close relationships. - We have strengthened residents’ ability to self-govern, brought public benefit to local communities, and created resident-centered networks of relationships to foster sustainable communities. ○ We focused on innovating and transforming the administration by strengthening the activities of the autonomous residents’ councils and improving the spatial aspects of community service centers. - Through an education program, we have been strengthening residents’ capacity for autonomy and vitalizing the activities of the councils and meetings of subcommittees. - To create spaces that are always open to residents, various improvements have been made to community service centers, such as reorganizing their facilities to create more open spaces for residents, having the spaces managed on commission, and transforming offices into shared workspaces.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
○ We have been able to realize “reaching-out welfare” through welfare planners and active efforts to eliminate welfare blind spots. - We have continued to monitor and strengthen the support system for the poor, at-risk families that had already been identified, made efforts to identify other isolated and vulnerable citizens, and helped them forge connections with local communities. - We provide welfare information services to people who have reached the age of 65, when citizens enter the elderly age group. - We also provide information on universal welfare to households with expectant mothers or new mothers and infants. ○ The visiting nurse service has improved the health of residents and enabled people to take better care of their own health. - To increase the level of health of the elderly and health equity and strengthen our social bond with residents, we pay visits to all elderly citizens when they turn 65 or 70. - We monitor infants’ growth and development and inspect the childrearing environment of households. We also provide physical and psychological health checkups for new mothers, who play a decisive role in the growth and development of their babies. ○ We provide a comprehensive welfare service through our welfare consultant program and manage welfare cases at the neighborhood level. - We identify unaddressed needs through comprehensive, in-depth consultations and work with other service-related institutions. - When citizens apply for welfare services, we provide professional, comprehensive consultations to ensure they receive all the services they need, along with a wealth of information on the services than can address their various needs. ○ We have revitalized local communities by reinforcing the capabilities of residents and giving them opportunities to form close relationships. - We have strengthened residents’ ability to self-govern, brought public benefit to local communities, and created resident-centered networks of relationships to foster sustainable communities. ○ We focused on innovating and transforming the administration by strengthening the activities of the autonomous residents’ councils and improving the spatial aspects of community service centers. - Through an education program, we have been strengthening residents’ capacity for autonomy and vitalizing the activities of the councils and meetings of subcommittees. - To create spaces that are always open to residents, various improvements have been made to community service centers, such as reorganizing their facilities to create more open spaces for residents, having the spaces managed on commission, and transforming offices into shared workspaces.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
○ As part of the Reaching Out Community Service Center initiative, we provided follow-up management for neighborhood (dong)-level cases in which people with a wide range of needs were provided access to local and social resources that were ideally suited to satisfying such needs. - These cases were classified into categories corresponding to the needs of the people and the needs that were identified through surveys. As a welfare control center, the community service center provides services in consideration of the sources and capacities of diverse public and private organizations working in conjunction with related local institutions and organizations, including welfare centers, mental health centers, public health centers, community childcare centers, and schools. The community service center also conducts continuous monitoring and addresses the changes in people’s needs. ○ In order to foster communication with residents, support the solution of problems, and form a network of residents to provide community caretaking and sharing activities, we have implemented the “Neighborhood Official Program,” in which one person takes charge of all activities in a certain neighborhood. - The tasks of neighborhood officials include: greeting important members of the community, such as the neighborhood head; meet regularly with residents, mainly in major areas of the neighborhood; identify residents in need (low-income/at-risk families) and carry out related support activities; and identify residents who have resources they may be willing to share with others. - We also listened to and resolved the civil complaints regarding issues that were making the daily lives of local residents difficult or inconvenient. ○ We operated spaces open to all residents. - The Reaching Out Community Service Center project is an initiative that has shifted the traditional focus of community service centers away from civil complaints and general administrative affairs and transformed the centers into open and easily accessible spaces for residents. As part of this initiative, not only the content of the centers but also the physical spaces were improved as well. - Seoul’s public architects and private architects working in various fields who have an understanding of the public sector participated in the transformation of the community service centers. They redesigned the spaces, and the centers were renovated in consultation with residents and public officials. These renovations focused on rearranging workspaces in line with the new focus and functions of the community service centers and greater numbers of welfare workers and turning underused spaces into open, public spaces, such as book cafés and film screening room. - With these goals in mind, a total of 200 public and private architects participated in the project. Through the “One Architect, One Community Service Center” system, the architects were able to create effective, open spaces in consultation with the residents of each area. When these spaces were finally opened to the public, each community service center became the center of its respective local community, providing a basis for people to share information about marginalized members of their communities and stay informed of and work toward resolving local issues.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
○ Improved level of private-public cooperation at the neighborhood level - A survey conducted by the Seoul Institute in 2016 asked citizens the question “Do you believe that community service centers and residents have faith in each other?” Intended to measure the mutual confidence between the people and the government, the question received positive answers from 65.4 percent of residents, showing an increase of 24.5 percent over the 40 percent that was recorded before the project was launched. In another survey about the actual level of cooperation between residents and community service centers, the proportion of partnerships between the residents and community service centers was found to have soared dramatically from 6.6 percent to 43.6 percent. ○ Overall high satisfaction in terms of public officials’ friendliness, expertise, thoroughness of explanations, promptness of handling of civil complaints, etc. - Compared to before the project was implemented, citizens’ confidence in public officials has improved dramatically, and their satisfaction with the friendliness and expertise of public officials has recorded significant increases as well. ○ Greater confidence in community through the formation of stronger local ties - Residents who have participated in neighborhood enterprises generally gave high scores in terms of their levels of confidence in and the revitalization of communities. Their confidence in other members of the community as well as their sense of community also increased in comparison to the period prior to the implementation of the program. In addition, some residents indicated that they had turned to the community when faced with problems in their daily lives.

 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)
○ Through the mobilization of women welfare planners, we are providing specialized services for women, including caretaker services, job-search support, and legal consultations, depending on each woman’s characteristics and lifecycle stage. - These planners oversea the provision of support for all services related to women, children, and families and identify any risks or problems in relation to caretaking, including violence, abuse, and neglect. - We are also focusing on the management of households in which family members, such as children, the elderly, and the ill, receive inadequate amounts of care as well as households in which the women responsible for providing care are struggling under high-stress and high-conflict environments.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Seoul Metropolitan Government
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   JUNG-YEON HWANG
Title:   Local Autonomy Administration  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-2-2133-5836
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   wjddusyo@seoul.go.kr  
Address:   110,Sejong-daero, Jung-gu
Postal Code:   04524
City:   Seoul
State/Province:  
Country:  

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