DSWD strengthens local social welfare counterparts

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By Lei Mohammad (DSWD)

To ensure timely provision and delivery of better quality Social Welfare and Development services to the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged, the Department of Social Welfare and Development intensifies its effort in ensuring the functionality of the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDO) in different municipalities all over the region.

“The effort to functionalize our LSWDOs is still part of ensuring that our people get the most efficient and promptest delivery of social services since they are more accessible. Aside from this, we would also like to empower our counterparts in the municipalities like how we are empowering our partner beneficiaries.” DSWD Regional Director Zenaida Arevalo said in a statement.

The department through its Institutional Development Division (IDD) has been conducting series of assessment on the four major areas of functionality standards in each municipality; (1)Administration and Organization where LSWDOs must have available written policies on the implementation of the SWD programs and services, (2) Program Management, where social welfare and development programs and services should match with the priority issues and problems per situation based on the Social Protection and Development Report of the municipality, (3) Case Management that requires handlings of cases are based on the case management process, and (4) Physical structures that must be accessible to clients and has the basic utilities needed in the operations.

The level of functionality is categorized through a three-scale score; Fully functional adjectival rating is given to LSWDOs with 100% compliance based on the “must” standards, Functional is given to those with only 51%-99% of the total score in “must” standards and the Partially functional is for LSWDOs having complied utmost 50% of the total score in the assessment tool.

For region IX, of the 72 municipalities, 3 are fully functional which are the municipalities of Diplahan and Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte, 64 are functional and 4 are partially functional based on the assessment for LSWDO functionality conducted last November 2014. The establishment of this status in terms of the management and operations of the office and the implementation of the programs and services will serve as the basis and direction on the rational provision of technical assistance and resource augmentation to LSWDOs.

“Our baseline data will really help the department in determining what specific technical assistance should be provided to which municipalities for them to be able to comply with all these requirements to become fully functional.” Capacity Building Unit Head Narrabelle Bue said.

As part of the support mechanism in attaining the fully functional level, the department has been conducting capacity-building activities based on the identified priority LSWDO needing capability building intervention. It has also been conducting validation and assessment visits to the LSWDOs to monitor the sustainability of the quality of programs and services. Bue also disclosed that the IDD has employed strategy to speed up the movement of the LSWDOs that have not yet reached the fully functional level.

“We have relegated our staff to work on each of the four major areas of assessment so we can focus on a specific target.” Bue added.

The second assessment of LSWDOs is targeted to complete this October in support to the realization of the department’s strategic goal 3 which is to increase the number of provinces with majority of their municipalities/cities having a fully functioning Local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO) to 40 by 2016.

This initiative forms part of the effort to devolve the delivery of basic social services to the Local Government Units (LGUs) and that the DSWD’s role shall shiftfrom “rowing” to “steering”. However, the implementation of certain programs based on special laws remained within the DSWD’s mandate.