The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board (ABSSB) is among the 183 members of the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The ISSA has a unique role in the world of international organisations as it brings together more than 350 organisations across more than 150 countries. Additionally, it is a dynamic institution that adapts to changing realities and constantly matches its activities to the evolving needs of member organisations.
In order for Social Security Systems (SSS) to effectively fulfill their primary mandates of collecting contributions, making benefit payments and expanding coverage in keeping with the demands of changing societies, a good governance structure is paramount.
In fact, the ISSA aligns its definition of good governance with those that underscore the exercise of authority and power. Moreover, the governance framework that has been developed in the Good Governance Guidelines (GGG) for Social Security Institutions attempts to span the entire range of responsibilities of both the Boards and the Management in social security administration. The framework describes social security administration in terms of four broad governance areas: financial sustainability; sound investments; member coverage and contributions, and member benefits and services; and resource management, in particular, human resources and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. (ISSA Good Governance Guidelines for Social Security Institutions, 2011).
Social Security Boards and managers have specific and important roles to play in the success of their respective SSS. For instance, in relation to the governance structure of the Board, the ISSA cites, “the powers and responsibilities of the Board should be clearly delineated from those of the Management. There should be no areas of ambiguity, dilemma or conflicts of interest.”
In addition, it also shares, “the Board should ensure that the institution is performing its mandate efficiently. It should establish a set of standards and benchmarks to evaluate Management’s administration and implementation of the social security programmes.” (ISSA Good Governance Guidelines for Social Security Institutions, 2011)
“The ISSA operates under a programmatic triennium. In other words it seeks to execute different programme activities during a three-year cycle. During this triennium 2011-2013 one of the primary areas for the ISSA is good governance.
Earlier this year, the ISSA disseminated the second draft of its Good Governance Guidelines; Strategic Planning and Diagnosis and Human Resource Policies are included as additional focus areas for SSS as they seek to enhance their service delivery mechanisms. Member institutions were encouraged to make submissions for discussion and inclusion in the final document. Also, the ISSA will provide its members with specific support mechanisms to assist in the effective implementation of these guidelines.
In the draft, the ISSA advises that management should provide leadership, set the priorities and define the strategic agenda for the planning period. Management should consult the Board and key stakeholders of the organisation to define and build consensus on the strategic priorities for the planning period. A thorough analysis of external and internal factors that may affect the organisation should be undertaken to better position the organisation over the pre-defined planning period.
Further, it also contends that the effective management of the institution’s human resources – hiring, compensating, retaining, training, mentoring and developing – is essential to the successful governance of any organisation.
The National Insurance System (NIS) of St Vincent & the Grenadines as a committed member of the ISSA hosted a two-day seminar on February 7 & 8, 2013, which highlighted the ISSA Good Governance toolkit under the theme: Accountability, Transparency and Prudence. Errol Stoove, president of the ISSA, in his first visit to this region, was the featured presenter.
In 2013, the ABSSB will seek to implement changes to its current legislation. Recommended changes include, but are not limited to: increasing the contribution ceiling and raising the retirement age. Since the Institution’s inception in 1972, no major changes have been made to its legislation. However, as populations age and economic conditions evolve, so too should SSS. Therefore, as the ABSSB endeavours to implement its legislative reform this year, the adoption of good governance principles will be critical to the successful implementation of these reforms and more importantly, the sustainability of the Institution.
For further questions or if there is a particular aspect of Social Security that you would like discussed be it from a local, regional or international perspective, please contact the Social Security office at:
Know Your Social Security
The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board
P.O. Box 1125
St. John’s, Antigua
or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.