Are there successful examples of Management Information Systems in social protection programmes? What are the reasons for their success and what impact have they had in making social protection programmes more effective and efficient?
MIS are useful because integrated data management of social protection programmes can lead to more equitable distribution of resources; provide oversight of multiple schemes; establish links with other services; and increase efficiency through economies of scale (Barca & Chirchir, 2014).
There is a considerable literature on policy guidance, design guidelines, and a general agreement on what constitutes best practice for MIS, but little systematic evidence (Barca & Chirchir, 2014). This report was unable to find any evaluations of MIS, and very few reports containing reasons for success. Most literature on MIS explains design principles. The few papers which have examples of systems actually in use often do not assess reasons for success or failure. This report is therefore very limited in presenting evidence on what works.
The report first summarises the impact which MIS have had on social protection programmes, then presents the slim evidence on success factors for MIS. These include:
- Political will: from the policy level and from staff.
- Technology: at an appropriate level for staff.
- Flexible incremental systems: which can adapt when the programme changes.
- Simplicity: ensuring the MIS is not over-burdened.
- Staffing: increasing capacity.
- Administrative structure: a combination of centralised and decentralised structures.
- Financing: MIS are expensive and external financing is often needed.
- Accountability: checks and balances to ensure effectiveness.
Browne, E. Social protection Management Information Systems (MIS) (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1180). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 7 pp.