• JIS News

    The sum of $3.7 billion has been earmarked for the Social Protection Project in the 2010/2011 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
    The project, being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Government of Jamaica.
    Its objectives are to further improve the effectiveness of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) by the provision of benefits designed to motivate educational attainment and retention in secondary schools; develop a structured system to assist working age members of PATH households to seek and retain meaningful employment; enable a comprehensive analysis/review of the public sector pensions, improving systems administration and building capacity for public sector pensions reform; and to develop a coherent social protection strategy.
    As at February, 2010, benefits were distributed to 298,289 eligible persons under PATH, a set of service standards were developed and are to be adopted by March 31, and approximately 85 per cent of the 34,406 households on PATH were recertified.
    In addition, a strategy to deal with the ineligible PATH beneficiaries is being developed, while the procurement process for the PATH impact evaluation has started.
    Also under the project, several activities were undertaken to further advance the Steps-to-Work Programme, including the training of social workers, recruitment of staff, and completion of the procedural guideline manual.
    In addition, preliminary work started for construction of the Pension Reform Options Simulation Toolkit (PROST) database system; consultant contracted to conduct legal analysis for the harmonisation of the public sector; and procurement process for the re-engineering of the current pension payment.
    The project will, over the next year, place increased focus on PATH, including completion of the legislative framework, and implementation of a new Beneficiary Identification System (BIS) to select persons and development of website. In addition, payments are to be made to 360,000 registered PATH beneficiaries every two months, as well as differential payments to persons based on sex and school levels.
    Education and health compliance records are also to be prepared and revised quarterly; re-assessment of PATH households to determine their eligibility for continued payment is to be completed; education officers in at least four regions are to be re-sensitised; new principals in six education regions are to be trained and guidance counsellors sensitised on PATH operations; and a PATH top achievers awards ceremony will be held.
    Other targets for the 2010 to 2011 period are to: implement second phase of content management system; train and certify social workers in specialised skills for public assistance; train and certify 30 managers and public assistance division (PAD) administrators in supervisory management techniques; conduct psychosocial training for managers and PAD administrators; conduct customer service training for 100 records information managers; and re-train all public health nurses, midwives, and community health aides in current and revised conditionalities.
    The project, which began in October 2008, is expected to come to an end in March 2013.

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