Challenges and Prospects for Digitizing the Social Service Providers' Activities


This article presents the author’s definitions of “digitization of social service provision” and “digitization of social services” concepts and identifies the difference between them. It presents the results of an interview with 18 experts — the heads of institutions and organizations of social service provision implementing the rehabilitation of disabled people in Perm region. The research was conducted in 2019 and sought to identify problems and prospects for the digitization of the social services sphere. Interviewees rated their satisfaction regarding the convenience and time cost of automated systems that are currently being used in their organizations; characterized their needs in introducing various innovative interactive services, mobile applications, and other digital software; and expressed their attitude to various innovations. Social innovations were developed by the researchers and offered to experts by interviewers (for example, services for assessing the quality of work of specialists by service users, quick selection of the right social service, filing a complaint, referring a citizen to another organization, counseling in video mode, electronic appointment service, etc.). The research has shown how innovations can improve the performance of social service providers’ work and the quality of their interactions with citizens, which will ultimately increase the satisfaction of social service users and will positively affect the level of social well-being in society as a whole. A number of problems have been identified that currently impede the development of digitization: they are related to staff resources, the level of computerization, the lack of motivation among managers and personnel of social service organizations to implement innovative IT, and a certain distrust that such technologies can facilitate the activities of the organization and increase its effectiveness.

Keywords: digitization, social service provision, social services, social institutions, social work

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