Shanghai Actively Identifies the "Silent Group" by Introducing Social Assistance Policies
August 20, 2021
On Friday, the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality held a press conference to explain the main contents of the 14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Civil Affairs in Shanghai. The introduction of such a good policy is welcome, but it is not easy to put it into practice to benefit everyone, especially the silent minority who cannot turn to the government for help due to their poor health conditions or lack of understanding of the policy. How to protect such vulnerable groups? Shanghai's solution is to take the initiative to spot needy people accurately instead of waiting for them to seek help.
According to the law, social assistance rests on the premise that the people in need apply for aid on their own initiative. In recent years, Shanghai has continuously improved its policies and institutions so that those in difficulty have access to support policies. However, some "silent" needy people who do not seek help due to their own poor health conditions and lack of understanding of policies may become the "silent minority". During the "13th Five-Year plan" period, Shanghai took the lead in proposing the idea of "spotting needy people and help them" in line with the requirements of "not missing one household or leaving one person behind". The city promotes the integration of offline and online work to develop the government service model of "aid consultation and visit to identify people in need + big data-based intelligent search".
Community is the last link of urban governance, also the key to connecting and serving the people in need. Shanghai relies on community affairs service centers, villagers and residents committees, professional social workers, volunteers and other social forces to strengthen institution building for community aid consultation. It sets up community aid consultation centers equipped with professional consultants in sub-districts, villages, and communities to provide people who seek help with accessible services, including analyzing their current conditions, diagnosing their problems, helping them seek policy support and other resources. At the same time, the city identifies the people in need in time by intensifying visit and survey.
In 2019, Xuhui District began to explore and pilot the system of "spotting needy people initiatively" in the field of social assistance. With the help of the "One Website for All" platform, Xuhui actively extends the converge of social assistance beyond the families needing subsistence allowances, on low incomes, and meeting the criteria on special and emergency assistance to other needy families. It includes into the grid-based service platform the uncovered needy families actively identified through big data and needy residents passively found through community affairs service centers and the service hotline 12345. The establishment of the joint meeting mechanism involving the "One Website for All" platform and social assistance programs has broken the barriers between various government departments. For those who meet the criteria of social assistance and sub-district-level assistance, the system automatically sends work tickets to appropriate towns and sub-districts, reducing the processing workflow and time.
In addition to the sound mechanism, technological support is also indispensable. The solution of Changning District is to create a "well-being list" for people in difficulty by virtue of digital technology. By using a targeted assistance information system, the "One Website for All" platform and other big data platforms, Changning integrates the data from the authorities of civil affairs, health care, human resources and social security, education, and disabled persons' federation on about 32,000 people from difficult families categorized by the District into four types to establish a three-level community cloud "Label Dictionary" covering the district, sub-districts, and communities. The cloud combines information of "actual population + people in difficulty + social identity" to provide a database that supports tag indexing and automatic data matching, greatly improving the efficiency of social assistance.
There is a famous barrel principle, which states that the amount of water a bucket can hold depends on its shortest board. And the living state of the "silent" group is exactly the "shortest board" that reflects the level of urban governance in Shanghai. A warm city pays the most attention to the "silent minority". With the ever-improving system of "spotting needy people initiatively", it will be easier for good policies to be implemented, and the measures to help the needy will be more effective.