Social service providers at the local level in Serbia

Comparative analysis of social service providers at the local level in Serbia
Supported by: Trag Foundation , USAID

September 2013 - March 2014

Topics: Local development.
Programmes: Research.

The project was conducted as part of the program “Social Care Reform Initiative” implemented by Trag Foundation, with financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The main goal was to identify strengths and benefits of civil society organizations involved in providing social care at the local level, compared to service providers from the public sector. The degree of competitiveness of the NGO sector in Serbia was rated in providing services in four social service areas: home care, daycare for the elderly, daycare for children with developmental disabilities and new and innovative social care services.

The comparative study was based on data collected from social service providers and other relevant actors: representatives from local governments, the State Institute for Social Services, leaders in the nongovernmental sector, etc. Research included a combination of in-depth interviews and desk analysis.

The main findings of this research indicate that civil society organizations are important social service providers at the local level, providing nearly one third of all services. Compared to service providers in the public sector, societies are better networked, more efficient in using available resources within the community and outside it, and are more active in recruiting volunteers.

The collected data and recommendations are shared with other relevant stakeholders and discussed in order to establish a more favorable legislative, institutional and financial framework for the strengthening of CSOs as social service providers.