A craze sweeping the social protection world for Social Registries is systematically depriving some of the world’s poorest not only of social protection but also of access to vital services. So argues our latest publication, ‘Anti-Social Registries: How have they become so popular?, published today.
Stephen Kidd, Development Pathways’ Senior Social Policy Specialist, says that selecting the beneficiaries of programmes from one database by ranking the poorest to the richest is based on impossible assumptions. He sets out evidence to demolish the claims of advocates of what he refers to as “Anti-Social Registries,” because they often exclude up to a half of all those entitled to social protection programmes.
This extends the negative impacts caused by the exclusion errors of using the Proxy Means Test for social protection cash transfers to essential public services such as health and education, he maintains.
Kidd says in an interview: “If you insist on a poverty-targeted approach, despite the fact the majority of people in your country are insecure and living in poverty, is the social registry really the way to do it, or should you think about selecting people for each programme? If you are going to target the poor, you have to spend a lot of money to do that. Social registries are about spending very little money – and you get very bad results.”
He stresses that Social Registries are not to be confused with Single Registries, which simply bring together information from a range of social protection programmes.
For the past 25 years, Stephen Kidd has worked as a consultant and adviser on social development and social protection. He is currently a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways and has previously worked for DFID as a Senior Social Development Adviser, including leading its Social Protection and Equity and Rights policy teams, and as Director of Policy and Communications at HelpAge International. He has significant leadership experience and has worked in over 25 developing countries.