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A global review of integrated social protection management information systems for UNICEF China

In 2020, UNICEF China needed expert support to review global practices on integrated social protection Management Information Systems (MISs). This review was to capture the issues national ministries were encountering and inform the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs in the design and development of a new, Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) for the cash transfers that the nation provides to its citizens.

Development Pathways was chosen to undertake the work due to our global experience of designing and building social protection MISs.

We reviewed the design and operation of MIS examples relevant for China in five countries, following interviews with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Civil Affairs and UNICEF China to understand the visions and objectives of the proposed integrated MIS. We identified MISs with features relevant to China’s policy goals and objectives, including examples that are child- and gender-sensitive and that can help to direct broader services to meet the needs of children and the poorest. We also addressed China’s aspiration to include multiple dimensional poverty-analysis into the proposed new system.

The study resulted in a final report with recommendations for the integrated system that the Ministry of Civil Affairs should adopt in China, lessons distilled from global IMIS reviewed and the next steps that the Ministry should adopt in its quest to establish an effective IMIS. The final report was published by UNICEF China and research findings disseminated in a webinar.