Social Services and Benefits Registry – STAR
STAR – the registry for social services and benefits – is a state information system for organising the kind of social work where complex services and benefits concerning various areas of life are implemented in order to solve a person's problems.
In the vision of TEHIK, STAR is the tool and efficient aid to a social worker which reduces the time spent on documentation and managing issues and enables the social worker to concentrate on the most important part of their work – helping a person in need.
What can be done with STAR?
- Allocating social services and benefits to people
- Registering queries of child protection and victim support
- Assessing the need of assistance of children and adults, drawing up a case plan and monitoring its implementation
- Organising adoption and custody processes
- Registering service allocation and submitting cost reports to local governments (social service providers)
- Planning and managing actions and documents
- Making queries to other databases
- Preparing statistics and performing data analysis that are the basis for quality improvement and making policy decisions
Who are the users of STAR?
The main users of STAR are social and child protection workers of local governments, and the child protection, the victim support, and the monitoring departments of the Social Insurance Board.
In addition, STAR will be used by social service providers, such as providers of replacement and continued care services, enterprises offering social transport, etc.
How does STAR work?
STAR works as a unified electronic file, which consolidates all the data of the person in need, and the actions related to that person, e.g., the allocated support and services, conducted meetings, counselling. etc. Through the data exchange platform X-tee, STAR communicates with many other information systems, thus reducing the workload of people gathering information from different authorities. The data of STAR is used by three state registries, and STAR uses the data gathered by eleven authorities. STAR exchanges data with the following registers:
- Population register
- Register of insured individuals by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund
- Information system of proceedings of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund
- Estonian Education Information System
- System of address data
- Traffic register
- Land register
- Business register
- Social protection information system
- Register of taxable persons
- Employment register
- Police proceedings information system
- The procurement of 2020 totalling 5 million euros was won by Iglu, TripleDev and Trinidad Wiseman, who will create new and convenient e-solutions for local government employees in the next three years.
- TEHIK has a plan for renewing the user friendliness, the architecture and the user interface of STAR starting from 2021, which will reduce the cost of future developments.
- In the coming years, it is planned to make STAR a more comfortable working environment for institutions providing social services, to introduce self-service enabling direct communication between citizens and local governments, and to increase STAR's capacity to provide high-quality and timely data for proactive services.
Preliminary assessment of a child's need for help together with architectural work
The Child Protection Act stipulates that anyone who notices a child in need of help must notify the local government or the child helpline by calling 116 111.
When information about a child in need reaches the local government, the child protection employee initiates a simplified procedure for the child and has 10 days to decide whether a specific measure is enough to help the child (simplified proceeding) or whether the child needs more extensive and longer support (case proceeding).
In order to reach a decision, the child protection worker must find answers to various questions concerning the welfare of the child. This process is called the preliminary assessment of the child's need for assistance, and according to §144 (1) clauses 8-10 of the Social Welfare Act, the information collected during the preliminary assessment must be entered into STAR.
Today, there is no preliminary assessment form in STAR. In addition, STAR is technologically obsolete, and we want to move from a monolithic to a microservice-based architecture.
The goals of the development process:
- to create the functionality for the preliminary assessment of a child and connect it to the existing functionality of assessing the child’s needs;
- to implement the new user interface;
- to simplify the logic of creating a simplified proceeding;
- to improve the X-tee inquiries necessary for the assessment of the child's need for assistance;
- to create the microservices supporting STAR, which will enable to move on to a new, fully micro-service-based architecture as additional business functionalities are added/improved.
Total support: 432,632 euros
Time frame: 17.11.2021–2.01.2023
An analysis was conducted before the development process.
Total cost of analysis: 55,590 euros
Time frame: 11.02-11.05.2021
The analysis of family mediation proceedings
A family mediation service is a service of assisting parents who have not been able to reach an agreement on the organisation and welfare of the child's upbringing at the end of their partnership, or who are raising their child separately.
The service is not coordinated by the state. Family mediators are trained by two non-profit associations (Association of Mediators and Mediation Institute), who offer their services for a fee as self-employed persons or legal persons. The service can also be offered by a local government.
Due to the lack of a nationally coordinated family mediation service, the availability and quality of the service is uneven, and families often seek solutions from court. This can be detrimental to the child's well-being and make it costly for the state to provide the service. In court proceedings, conciliation is significantly more time-consuming and expensive than in mediation services. Therefore, favouring non-judicial agreements and providing the service publicly would be a significantly more cost-effective solution for the state. In order to increase the usability and the cost-effectiveness of the service, the Government of the Republic has decided to reform the family mediation service and has started activities to establish a state family mediation system.
The aim of the analysis is to find the best possible solution for the provision of family mediation services in terms of both the final development of the service design and the technical solution that supports it. We also wish to map, prioritise and evaluate the architectural work of STAR that needs to be implemented during the development of the functionality of the family mediation service. It must be taken into account that in the development of STAR, TEHIK has moved towards a microservice-based architecture, and this development is a part of the transition process to the new architecture.
Time of the analysis: 08.04-31.10.21
Total support: 63,240 euros
The analysis of the victim support service and the development work of the functionality of volunteers
If a person has been the victim of a crime or has experienced violence, negligence or ill-treatment, he or she can turn to a victim support worker of the Social Insurance Board, who provides free counselling to those in need and provides information on how to get help.
More and more volunteers are involved in the work of victim support - people with special training who help those in need on the basis of contracts with the Social Insurance Board. The volunteers are not paid for their work.
Currently, Victim Support and Prevention Services Department of the Social Insurance Board does not have a unified IT solution for providing services. Different information systems, a document management system and also office software are used. Therefore, the problem is the fragmentation of data between several information systems. Undoubtedly, this is time consuming and entails considerable manual work in data management. Due to sensitive data, the security of the data during both transmission and storage has to be guaranteed.
The importance of the project
The rapid provision of victim support services and contact with those in need is of key importance. Failure to help in the event of trauma can later lead to various psychological and social problems and significantly impair a person's coping capacity. Rapid exchange of information with partners (Police and Border Guard Board and local governments) increases the targeting and impact of the service and reduces the risk that a person will not receive the help they need to recover from the trauma. Therefore, the provision of victim support services by the Social Insurance Board needs to be improved and made possible through a better IT tool for victim support workers.
The victim support service analysis project analyses the victim support needs for IT support as a whole in terms of all services, required functionalities and possible interfaces, taking into account existing work processes and needs to find the best possible development solution. In addition, one of the goals of the project is to create the basic principles and technological options for the transition of STAR architecture from monolithic to micro-services.
Contribution of volunteers
In addition to the victim support project, the development of volunteer management functionality is also being carried out with the help of government support. The goal is to create an IT solution for managing volunteers in STAR. Based on the strategic goal of moving STAR from today's monolithic architecture to the modern one, the volunteer management functionality must also be created in accordance with the principles of STAR's micro-service-based architecture.
Time of the analysis of victim support service: 04.10.2021 - 04.02.2022
The analysis is followed by development.
Development of volunteer management functionality: 01.03.2022 - 30.09.2022