(1) Payment method
One of the most critical systems in delivery of social grants is the payment service. At the core of the efficiency of social grant delivery is the Payment Service provision. The ESP Programme has developed a good understanding of payments and capacity to manage private service providers. In ESPI, the Programme used a mobile telecommunications company, MTN Uganda using their MTN Mobile money. Here beneficiaries were provided with SIM card where their money was sent via mobile money and they withdrew it at designated pay points on designated days.
In ESPII, Post bank has been retained as the payment service provider. Postbank will pay using its mobile banking vans, Postbank banking hall networks, and in future, use agency banking.
The Programme has developed capacity to supervise the private sector service providers to ensure that they deliver the payment service in such a way that it meet the needs of the Programme. In the transition from ESPI to ESPII, while the service provider has changed, the system remains the same.
(2) Transparency & accountability
The Programme service delivery is guided by a set of principles laid out in a Programme Service Charter. The Service Charter emphasises the following rights of members of the public in participating communities:
(i)The right to access information about the programme and to make informed decisions.
(ii)The right to be treated with respect and to be free from discrimination based on sex, age, ethnicity, religion or ability.
(iii)The right to access an independent appeal process (in the event of exclusion during targeting/registration).
(iv)The right to access programme registration and payments facilities irrespective of sex, age, educational attainment or disability.
(v)The right to full and timely payment of grant payments.
(vi)The right to complain and receive timely redress in the event that the programme fails to uphold the above. In the event that these service standards are not met, beneficiaries may complain using dedicated complaints mechanisms.
(vii)The SCGs and VFGs approaches have been chosen as they are more resistant to fraud than other forms of targeting. Both mechanisms will be implemented in a transparent way with clear eligibility criteria.
(3) Complaints and Appeals Mechanism
A Grievance mechanism is included in the design and delivery of the programme so that beneficiaries have a clear process to follow to raise their complaints and appeals. This Grievance mechanism will be highly publicized to ensure that all beneficiaries are aware of their rights, obligations and procedures.
There are two types of ‘complaints’ that one can make: (a) about programme service delivery and (b) official ‘appeals’ against programme decisions relating to household or individual eligibility for enrolment in either the SCG or VFG.
The Payment Service Provider is responsible for receiving and responding to complaints about payment-related issues. However, if these complaints are not resolved in a timely manner then complaints can be submitted to the Parish Chief or directly to the sub-county Community Development Officer (CDOs). Upon submission of a formal complaint using established procedure, complainants will be issued with a receipt and informed of the likely time-scale for redress.
Sub-County CDOs are responsible for passing on details of all resolved complaints and complaints which require guidance from the district or national level to the programme district team on a monthly basis. The district team is responsible for taking up any complaints with the Payment Service Provider or other stakeholders as necessary.
Potential beneficiaries of both the VFG and SCG will be able to appeal against their exclusion if they believe they have been incorrectly excluded. Appeals will be adjudicated by the Sub-County CDO. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted so as to reduce the scope for malicious complaints.
The participation of civil society, law enforcement agencies and other constitutional accountability bodies will also be encouraged through their membership of national and district-level oversight structures.
(4) Management Information System
The programme has put in place a robust and IT based Management Information System (MIS) housed within the Social Protection Secretariat. The MIS enables the programme to keep track of registered households, calculate and reassess eligibility for the SCG and VFG, generate beneficiary lists, generate payroll lists for the payment service provider, reconcile payments data and generate monitoring reports.
(5) Monitoring & evaluation
Monitoring of the programme is designed to generate learning and inform necessary revisions to programme design and procedures. Process monitoring activities chart progress on activities and achieving programme outputs, as well as identifying challenges with implementation.
Programme performance is monitored by: District Monitoring Teams led by the Chief Administrative Officers; the District Community Development Officer; programme district Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, and officers from the Secretariat. Overall programme performance monitoring and documentation is led by the National Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, based at the Secretariat. An independent impact evaluation is also being implemented by a specialist contractor. This impact evaluation will involve a baseline and follow-up surveys involving up to 4,000 households.
(6) Management system
The SCG and VSG are managed by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) working through the Directorate of Social Protection and the Social Protection Secretariat. At the district level, SAGE is mainstreamed within local governments led by a dedicated SAGE Unit within the Community Services Department. Parish and community-level implementation is led by Parish Chiefs, Parish Development Committee members and village council chairpersons, or their delegates.
(7) Selection of beneficiaries
The Senior Citizens Grant covers older persons from 65 years of age. However, the age of eligibility in Karamoja has been set at 60 years in recognition of the fact that the extreme poverty in this region reduces life expectancy. In lowering the age threshold for Karamoja, it is expected that the proportion of households reached by the programme will be similar across all districts. Eligibility is verified with reference to birth certificates, voters’ cards and other forms of identification. Where necessary, village councils are empowered to verify eligibility based on local information.
The Vulnerable Families Grant (VFG) benefits households which have the highest proportion of dependents in the household (older people, people with disabilities, children and orphans). An objective automated targeting system is used to ensure accuracy.
(8) Community registration model for senior citizens
Parish Chiefs, with the support of Village Chairpersons, facilitate Village Council meetings in participating communities to identify eligible older people. Applicants for the pension must present an official form of Identification such as a voter’s card, birth certificate or baptism certificate. In the absence of such documentation, Village Councils will be asked to verify the eligibility of individual applicants based on reference to local or national historical events or peers.
Village-level beneficiary lists are then generated by the Parish Chief and submitted to the Sub-County CDO for onward transfer to the District SAGE Unit. The District SAGE Management Information Systems Officer is responsible for entering the beneficiary list into the MIS after which the beneficiary list is sent to the Payment Service Provider (PSP) for enrolment. Prior to enrolment with the PSP, the Community Development Officer may use his/her discretion to halt any clearly erroneously included beneficiary from enrolling until a final decision is taken.