The Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF, conducted a conference to publish the Monitoring Report “Social Services Close to the Citizen”. KOMF has monitored the process of decentralization of social services during 2021 and has drafted the Monitoring Report, which has as its main purpose the reflection of the current situation on the provision of social services and the comparison of social services with the two previous years.
The report provides findings as well as recommendations regarding management, financing, monitoring, inspection and accountability of social services. During this conference, the discussion panel consisted of Donjeta Kelmendi, Executive Director of KOMF, Besnik Bislimi, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Fatmire Mulhaxha Kollçaku, Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo and Naim Qelaj, Ombudsman Institution, discussed the findings and recommendations of the Monitoring Report.
Bukurezë Surdulli from KOMF, presented the main findings and recommendations of the Report. According to the Report, the initiated legislative processes that regulate social services and their financing, have continued to drag on and not been completed. Contrary to the provisions of the Government’s legislative plan for 2021, the two main draft laws expected to affect the decentralization and advancement of social services, namely the Law on Social and Family Services and the Law on Local Government Finance, failed to be approved.
Financing of social services remains the main challenge in providing social and family services for 2021. Even in 2021, there has been no progress in terms of decentralization of the budget for social services. It is worth mentioning the fact that the Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers has increased the amount of financing for non-governmental sector services compared to 2020. Also, out of the seven monitored municipalities, only the Municipality of Prishtina has made progress, by increasing the budget for the non-governmental sector in the last three years.
During 2021, the capacities of municipalities for management and provision of social services have continued to be in a low level, same as in the previous two years. Currently, there is a lack of capacity building activities for budget planning and management, lack of needs assessment in each municipality and proper cooperation between CSWs and DHSWs for drafting a joint budget planning in accordance with these needs.
The mandate of monitoring and inspecting social services has continued to be unclear and undefined. The Monitoring and Inspection Unit within the MFLT still does not have executive powers, which dilutes the role of inspection among social service providers. In 2021, none of the service providers had proper monitoring by municipalities – DHSW or external monitoring. Municipalities do not have the necessary instruments and capacities to conduct a monitoring process for social service providers.
The need for social services has been increasing throughout 2021, especially cases of domestic violence, while the capacities of social service providers have not increased.
While, some of the main recommendations of this Report are:
- Approval of the Law on Social and Family Services as soon as possible;
- Approval of the Law on Local Government Finance and Specific Grant for Social Services as soon as possible;
- Drafting the financing formula for social services by the PFMT;
- Establishment of a sustainable scheme by MFLT and municipalities for contracting social and family services from the non-governmental sector;
- Development of accredited programs for social service providers in accordance with minimum standards and licensing requirements by MFLT;
- Conduct an analysis with the needs of the citizens for social services in each municipality;
- Capacity building of DHSWs for planning, management and monitoring of social services. Capacity building of CSWs for the provision of social services;
- Development of process and instruments for monitoring social service providers;
This activity is made possible within the project “Joint Action for Decentralization”, a project funded by the European Union, managed by the EU Office in Kosovo, and implemented by the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF in partnership with the Organization of Children Without Parental Care – OFAP, SOS Children’s Villages Kosovo and KMOP and the Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) ‘EJA Kosovo’ program, co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Sweden and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.