Social Card – Social Welfare Information System


Photo: UNDP in Montenegro/ Mediabox, Milos VujovicPhoto: UNDP in Montenegro/ Mediabox, Milos Vujovic

Social Card – Social Welfare Information System (SWIS) project is the backbone of the national social protection reform. SWIS is an electronic system for processing, approval, payments (around 65 million euro annually) and monitoring and audit of social benefits/transfers; reporting and record-keeping and it covers almost all social services business processes including introduction of the case management. It re-engineers, improves and upgrades capacities of social welfare centers (22 offices all over the country) and the line Ministry - for poor and vulnerable improved access to social benefits and services (Phase I). Phase II: Integrated Social Welfare Information System (2015 - 2017) the Information System - further upgrades IS of social welfare centers (with labor activation, etc.), integrates and develops Information systems for social residential institutions (Homes for elderly, orphanage, etc.) and develops institutional, technical and most importantly human capacities of the sector.

What is the project about?

Social Card – Social Welfare Information System (SWIS) is a capital project of the Government of Montenegro that enables enforcement of social welfare reform ensuring more efficient, effective and just system of social protection for quality service for the poor and vulnerable.

Social Card - (SWIS) is an electronic system for: processing, approval, record-keeping, calculation & payments (around 65 million euro annually), reporting, monitoring and audit of social benefits/transfers. The system covers almost all other social services related business processes, including introduction of the case management, issuing of decisions for placement into residential social facilities, complaint procedures, etc. It re-engineers and improves the work (business processes) at social welfare centers (22 branches all over the country), in the line Ministry and social institutions.

The beneficiaries no onger experience difficulties and are exposed to expenses of collection of huge paperwork necessary for access to social protection benefits, as the social welfare center became one stop-shop. SWIS’s interoperability module with ten national IS: Pension Fund, Health Fund, Real Estate Office, Public Revenue Office, Employment Office of Montenegro, Ministry of Interior: Motor vehicles registry and national Central Registry of Population (Ministry of Information Society and Telecommunications), Ministry of Agriculture (Veterinary Directorate) and Ministry of Education – that automatically determines one’s eligibility for social benefits. Social workers are relieved from this administrative burden and now on they can dedicate more to beneficiaries. Further, this sophisticated system also enables data import from the Power Company (EPCG) for the electricity bills subventions for poor as well as data from the other national registries (Post Office, national statistical office) enabling data collection and reporting on property, income and un/employment, etc. status of individuals and families.

For the purpose of policy making, decision making support, and improvement of targeting, the system also serves as analytical database (Business Intelligence module) that disaggregates data by demographic variables/characteristics of the beneficiaries including property ownership, income, social and family situation, all kinds of benefits breakdowns, etc. both of those who are already beneficiaries and for new applicants. SWIS also generates a database of rejected applications (exclusion error) that will be helpful for evidence-base national and local social policies making.

What have we accomplished so far?

The project is far more than development of IS alone and it is NOT simply a technical intervention that ‘modernizes’ social protection sector. This is a genuine capacity development project that in short run succeeded to develop institutional/organizational, technical and most importantly human capacities of the key social services providers - social welfare centers and social welfare institutions. The project supported development of new, reform legislation framework - law and five key by-laws that are transforming social welfare centers institutionally, implementation of case management, better planning and evaluation and optimization of resources - including new organizational schemes, revised ToRs and job placement arrangements, management, improved social centers network for better outreach to beneficiaries, etc.

Based on this new set up, IS was developed within an intensive participatory process with the agents of change (over 40 workshops in 2014). Once put into operation it ensured implementation of legislation - reform in everyday work of social welfare centers. The project also provided all the necessary technical infrastructure (structural cabling system, server and hardware equipping, networks, safe telecommunication links, connection to active directory of state institutions, etc.). Still, this wouldn’t be good enough if it hadn’t been accompanied with intensive Training Programs in ECDL (computer literacy), applicative software (IS) and expert trainings for all the employees, numerous coordination and practice exchange workshops, etc. that the project also implemented.  

Prior to putting the system into operation (January 2015) through the system, social welfare centers did huge re-entry and full revision of over 44.000 social benefits cases (families) and of war veterans transfers’ cases (3.500). The revision found cases that were not eligible for benefits (inclusion error) and benefits were terminated for these people, which led to public spending savings.  

Since June 2016, the System is being successfully implemented in homes for the elderly in Risan and Bijelo Polje.   

Who finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed

Government of Montenegro

Phase I: € 1,151,981.00

Phase II: € 810,000


Phase I: € 127,998  

Phase II: € 90,000 


€ 2,179,979

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2015 USD 449,718

December 2014

USD 947,743

December 2013   USD 230,707
December 2012 USD   25,600

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