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Practice:National Social Security Institute of the Republic of Bulgaria

From CAF Network

DescriptionDescription of practice

The National Social Security Institute (NSSI) is an organization which staff is approximately 3500 people. It has 28 territorial branches and is responsible for administering of many social insurance funds and social insurance schemas. Therefore, the reliable and sound management is a must. In order to be effective, management processes have to be based on a structural analysis of data and information. Well-designed human resource development policies have to be in place. Moreover, the interaction with external stakeholders must be formed and developed on the basis of a systematic approach. Taking into account that the current state of the organization and applied managerial practices have to be regularly assessed and continuously improved, in the end of 2015 it was decided that NSSI to become a part of a project aiming at introducing the CAF in public administration in Bulgaria. The project was supported by the ESF co-funded Operational Programme “Good Governance” 2014-2020. The agreement was signed in 2016 and the self-assessment was implemented in 2017. The self-assessment was comprehensive as it covered the whole NSSI structure (all units at central level and all territorial branches).

The results of this self-assessment were produced by consolidating the reports of two taskforces (SAG) which worked independently from each other. The self-assessment report was consensually prepared – both within and between these two groups. As a result of a casual analysis of the separate criteria and sub-criteria used for the purposes of the assessment, several areas requiring immediate improvements have been identified. Among them there are some fundamental issues such as the interaction with partners, human resource development in the NSSI as an innovative social security institution that people trust in and which applies the open management principles.

On that basis, this case presents the practices in the following areas:

  • partnership development;
  • human resources development and participation at workplace;
  • management by processes and facts.

The self-assessment shows that the NSSI, being an organization responsible for many functions in various social security branches, exchanges information and interacts with many organisations – public, private, NGOs. Also, the NSSI maintains partnerships with EU institutions on the matters of social security, and with public authorities from other countries – regarding the implementation of signed bilateral agreements in the field of social security, which are continuously updated and revised. Taking into account the sub-criterion 4.2 “Develop and implement partnerships with the citizens/customers”, the interaction with citizens and service recipients are of particular importance as far as together with the external stakeholders, they form the so-called “external perspective” of the NSSI. Partnerships, in that sense, are considered to be a necessary tool for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public sector organisations.

The lack of a comprehensive partnership management policy has been recognized as one of the main disadvantages. The self-assessment concludes that the roles of institutional units are not well formulated, including control functions, evaluation and partnership results review. It is identified that there is a lack of systematic approach for good practice exchange between the partners (benchlearning) and for conducting comparative analyses of best practices (benchmarking). The lack of uniform policies and structural approaches is identified regarding the partnerships with citizens and customers as well.

The NSSI staff amounts to approximately 3 500 people. The NSSI personnel has different functions and performs numerous tasks regarding the public social insurance administration in Bulgaria. The people’s competence and potential development is a factor of crucial importance. Currently, a full set of internal rules and procedures is in place and it covers all dimensions of the human resource development policies. Functional descriptions of all structural units and job descriptions of all positions at all hierarchical levels are developed. In addition, there are competence profiles by groups of positions – senior civil servants, managerial positions, experts and technical posts. These profiles are used for the purposes of personnel recruitment and assessment. A system for workload measurement for balancing and redeployment of human resources has been introduced. In addition, a system of performance measurement is applied as well.

However, the self-assessment shows that a comprehensive approach towards developing personnel’s potential is lacking. All efforts are concentrated in the field of personnel administration. The NSSI does not have a strategy for staff competence building and development, on the one hand, and for attracting and retaining of competent professionals, on the other. The attitude towards identifying and applying good practices for human resource management to establishing a sense of ownership of the employees over the institutional values is not well developed. There are no sufficient mechanisms for providing the staff occupying positions from lower hierarchical levels with opportunities to generate ideas and propose innovations.

The NSSI owns comprehensive database containing information about all key business processes. It is generated and managed by the NSSI information systems and therefore can be used as a reliable base for management by processes and facts. In 2014, a performance measurement indicator system was introduced. It covers the key processes and is a sound base for assessing the level and quality of implementation of the strategic goals and common operational objectives. In 2016, a strategy and action plan towards introducing a process-oriented approach into the NSSI management were adopted.

Despite these steps, the self-assessment concludes that currently there are some significant issues to be addressed. For example, the pace at which the process-oriented approach has been taking place is not satisfactory. Notwithstanding the existence of a performance measurement indicator system, its potential is currently not fully utilized as systematic documentation, storage and reporting processes are not present. The two taskforces (SAG) unanimously came to the conclusion that in reality there is no a structured approach towards ensuring that the outcomes of the NSSI’s activities and its effects (including the effects of the innovations) are thoroughly measured.

Results and outcomesResults and outcomes of the CAF implementation

The attention of the NSSI senior management and staff (the final report of the self-assessment and the action plan were openly distributed among all servants) is focused on the following areas of improvement: (1) maintaining and developing the interaction with the external stakeholders; (2) changing the approach from administration of personnel to human resource management aiming at continuous development of the staff; (3) comprehensive changes in the way in which the results and effects of the NSSI’s actions are measured.

The results of the self-assessment have been approved by the Governor of the NSSI. This is a clear signal that the NSSI senior management is actively engaged in and support the process.

The finalization of the self-assessment and the corresponding action plan coincided with the appointment of the new NSSI Governor. The conclusions of the self-assessment are now included in the Governor’s strategic concept for the NSSI development. The concept was presented to the members of the Labour, social and demographic policy permanent committee to the Bulgarian National Assembly . The concept has five main objectives, including “Building effective partnerships” and “Human resource development – the strength of each organisation”.

The added value of the application of the model within the NSSI can be summarized by the following facts:

  • Concrete measures for improving the current situation have been identified and included in an action plan:

1. Regarding the partnerships, it is envisaged that a comprehensive partnership management policy has to be developed. It will cover the whole complexity of interactions, expected results and areas of partnership development; it is expected to define the responsibilities of each subject involved in the partnership management processes (including control, evaluation and review of the partnerships) and to describe the ways to engaging the citizens/ customers; also, it will serve as guidelines for introducing good practices exchange between the partners. The expected results are increased effectiveness and efficiency of the delivered public services by establishing a mechanism formalising the interaction between the NSSI and its partners. This mechanism has to be designed and introduced within 9 months from the adoption of the action plan.

2. Regarding the personnel development, it is also planned that a c omprehensive policy will be developed. It will address at least the following issues: a) competence and career development of the NSSI staff; b) establishing culture of open communication and dialogue; c) enhancing teamwork and ensuring fair acknowledgment of the results achieved by the NSSI staff. The expected outcome is establishing a clear vision, transparent and fair staff management. The period of implementation is 18 months, starting from the adoption of the action plan.

3. Regarding the management by processes and facts, the following measure has been included in the action plan: “Introducing a strategic planning and management system containing operational performance measurement and describing the links between inputs, processes, outcomes, outputs and impacts”. Within the 24 months following the adoption of the action plan, a balanced scorecard system has to be introduced.

  • The findings of the self-assessment report and the corresponding measures included in the action plan have been taken into account in the NSSI’s Strategy for development for the 2018-2021 period. The document addresses the following topics relevant to the CAF: “Improving of the human resource management system”, “Optimization of business processes through accelerating the introduction of process-oriented management approach”, and “Conducting of a functional analysis and optimization of organizational-management structure”.

Moreover, measures included in the action plan have been incorporated in the NSSI’s operational objectives for 2018. The operational plan addresses the following CAF-related areas: “Developing a comprehensive policy for partnership management”, “Implementing the main part of the actions towards introducing a comprehensive policy for human resource management”, “Analysis and preparation for introducing a strategic planning and management system through balanced scorecard of effectiveness indicators in order to improve the planning and monitoring of the implemented social insurance programmes and the NSSI’s activities”, “Introducing contemporary queue management systems with an opportunity to take into account the workload and the time necessary for the service delivery”, “Adopting an updated plan for accelerated introduction of a process-oriented management approach”, “Creating the base conditions and preparation for a functional analysis of the NSSI”.

  • Deadlines, responsible units and progress measurement indicators have been determined. It has been decided that the action plan implementation will be monitored on a regular basis – every 4 months.
  • In addition, it has been decided that after 2 years, a next self-assessment has to be conducted. This ensures a continuous improvement through applying the so-called “PDCA cycle” (plan-do-check-act).

Process of implementation: lessons learnt from the CAF self-assessment that discovered and described the area of improvement involved

  • We have learned that we can openly pose and discuss fairly the problems which the organisation is facing – in the way we see and perceive them.
  • We have understood that there is a managerial will and the NSSI’s senior management supports the necessary changes.
  • We have understood that we can achieve significant progress through joint efforts.

Further informationFurther information of the practice

This is an application form for a Good Practice Case for the 8th European CAF-User Event.
National Social Security Institute of the Republic of Bulgaria

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YearYear 2018
CountryCountry of the practice Bulgaria
CityCity, town or village Sofia
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National Social Security Institute
Type of organisationType of organisation Government Ministry (national, regional)
Function of organisationFunction of organisation Social Protection
Size of organisationSize of organisation 1001-5000
Level of governmentLevel of government Central Government (national, federal)
Effective CAF user dateDate since effective CAF user 2018
OrganisationName of Organisation National Social Security Institute
DepartmentDepartment of the organisation National Social Security Institute
AddressAddress of the organisation Aleksandar Stamboliyski 62-6442° 54' 23.54" N, 23° 47' 49.65" E
ZIPZIP code (postal code) 1303
CityCity, town or village Sofia
WebsiteLink to the Website of the Organisation
EmailEmail of Organisation
PersonName of contact person Vesela Karaivanova-Nacheva
Job titleJob title of the contact person Deputy Governor