The IPC-IG delivers a research report on social assistance to the Government of Bahia

Pelourinho Bahia



The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) delivered an assessment of the supply and quality of basic and special social protection services in the state of Bahia to the Social Assistance Oversight Board of the Secretariat of Justice, Human Rights and Social Development of the Government of Bahia. The analysis is the second of 10 studies commissioned to the IPC-IG under the project "Strengthening Social Protection Policies in Bahia", a partnership between the government of Bahia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 
The report aims to improve the monitoring and evaluation of the state's social protection system and support the formulation of the new State Plan for Social Assistance (Plano Estadual de Assistência Social—PEAS), as well as the “Pact for the Improvement of the Unified Social Assistance System” (Sistema Único de Assistência Social—SUAS), in Bahia. 
The indicators analysed in the study can help define priorities for Bahia’s Social Assistance Plan based on: (i) diagnosing and measuring the relationship between supply and demand for social assistance benefits and services in the state; (ii) reorganising the technical, physical, personnel and institutional structure of the state’s social assistance surveillance, with aggregation of diagnostic instruments and including the management of a single registry for social programmes; (iii) intensifying communication and networking, both between government entities and in relation to external actors. 
Social assistance services are offered mainly through the Social Assistance Reference Centres (Centros de Referência da Assistência Social—CRAS), in terms of basic assistance, and by the Specialised Reference Centres for Social Assistance (Centros de Referência Especializada de Assistência Social—CREAS) in cases of special assistance. The state of Bahia has a total of 622 CRAS, and all municipalities have at least one unit. The 231 CREAS of the state are present in all municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, in addition to some units dispersed among the municipalities with a lower population. 
One of the positive points identified by the study concerns the analysis of the IDCRAS and IDCREAS indicators, which seek to measure, indirectly, the quality of services at CRAS and CREAS. On average, the CRAS and CREAS in Bahia have a better evaluation in relation to the offer and quality of the service provided, across different dimensions (services and benefits, physical structure and human resources), than the country average. 
According to the assessment, one aspect that should be treated as a priority across all three levels of social protection (basic, medium, and high complexity) is the adequacy of the teams and employees of social protection equipment. At any given level, many apparel do not have a complete reference team, and, in some cases, there was even an absence of professionals that are essential to the social protection service, such as social workers and psychologists. In addition, it is important to ensure the presence of professionals who have more permanent ties—which could be accomplished, for example, through hiring more public servants—to reduce the high turnover of agents and the consequent need for repetition of basic training, thus allowing trust relationships to be built between agents and the community. 
During a presentation of the study to partners, in May 2021, researchers highlighted that this is the first time that a diagnosis of social assistance has been carried out in the state of Bahia, and that the research will help planning efforts in the coming years.  
A One Pager featuring an “Overview of the human and physical resources of Social Assistance Services in Bahia” and another with an “Overview of the supply and coverage of Social Assistance Services in Bahia” are now available. 


Photo: Cleide Isabel / Flickr

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