SUPPORT TO SOCIAL SECTOR
On November 5, Mission Armenia and Counterpart International Armenia together organized a round table discussion entitled “Current Practice and Challenges in Social Contracting between the Government and NGOs”. The organizers invited various CSOs, which have experience in either social contracting or service provision for central / local authorities. The roundtable discussion featured the following issues:
• Clarification of social contracting,
• Current status of legal framework,
• Necessity for legislative amendments,
• Degree of awareness and preparedness of NGOs to participate in tender processes and undertake contracted social services.
Main conclusions from the round-table discussion were the following:
• It is necessary to formulate a clear policy, create the appropriate legal framework, and establish effective mechanisms, which, in their turn, will ensure that the processes become transparent, mutually beneficial, and manageable.
• Local authorities should have comprehensive description and standards of the services provision it intends to purchase and organize an open tender, in which all interested and eligible organizations, including businesses, can freely and equally participate.
• Another crucial component that needs to be developed and applied is the monitoring system by CSO`s or local authorities, which will help to understand whether the services are provided properly and the state funds used efficiently.
• The CSOs’ sustainability will be fostered by Social contracting as due to regular outsourcing of funds by the authorities they will be able to adequately serve their constituencies, in difference to their current funding base that is primarily comprised of availability of spontaneous donor grant-funding.
In the end of the round table discussion, a working group was formed which will work on developing the quality standards for the provision of social services.
The round table discussion and other meetings with the CSOs played an important role in promoting the establishment of close cooperation between NGOs involved in social sector activities. It was a good opportunity to bringing them together to discuss and raise the existing issues in the target field and seek ways to jointly address them. The working meetings revealed that the majority of NGOs face common issues and an agreement was achieved to actively cooperate in future trying to meet better results. This consolidated effort of NGOs that work under state funding will further promote contracted social services provision at a community level.
Click for the Recording of the discussion (in Armenian)