Social protection programmes are increasingly recognised as an important tool for tackling poverty and inequality in developing countries, with many implementing large-scale cash transfer programmes aiming to offer comprehensive access to social security. There is significant evidence of the positive impacts of these programmes on human, social and economic development. Increasing attention is now being paid to issues of service delivery quality, value-for-money, risk management, and accountability within these schemes, which are particularly important when governments seek to scale-up small, successful programmes or reform under-performing large-scale schemes.
KfW Development Bank commissioned Stephen Barrett and Stephen Kidd through Development Pathways for this paper to describe and explain the operations of cash transfer schemes and outline good practice in the design processes required to operationalise policy-level design principles. It describes the four key components comprising the administrative structure of most cash transfer programmes and, based on international experience, provides a brief analysis of the issues, options and risks associated with each component. The paper goes on to describe a number of critical organisational policies and systems that are required to ensure good quality implementation of the four core operational processes.