Montenegro has a relatively strong, and recently reformed, social protection system, comprising non-contributory social assistance (such as: family material support, a child allowance, personal disability benefit, carer’s allowance and foster family benefit, etc) and contributory social insurance (including old age, survivor and disability pensions, health insurance and unemployment insurance). The Law on Social and Child Protection (2013) is the main legal framework for social services and social assistance in the country, with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW) the main institution in charge. In addition, some forms of social assistance are the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – MARD (cash benefits for the elderly and payments in lieu of contributions to the pension system) and Ministry of Education (free text books, free meals for children attending pre-school education which come from families who receive social assistance), while in the context of a decentralised system of governance, at the municipality level, decisions are made to offer and deliver a range of forms of social services and social assistance (including one-off financial support). Hence, the implementation of social assistance and social services is the responsibility of Centres for Social Welfare, residential institutions, the MARD and the municipal governments for their own programmes.
Nonetheless, despite approximately 2% of GDP being spent on social assistance (World Bank 2013; ASPIRE database) social assistance is contributing to poverty reduction in the country by mere 7 percentage points and out of 14 types of benefits specified by the Law on Social and Child Protection, only 2 are means tested. According to the last available official data, poverty in Montenegro, using the relative poverty line set at 60% of the national median equivalized disposable income, stood at 23.8% in 2018; a 1.4 percentage point decline from 2013 (MONSTAT 2019). Poverty is strongly related to status in the labor market, with the highest poverty rates being for people who are unemployed (47.5% in 2018) and those who remain inactive (31%).
Further, the COVID-19 epidemic in Montenegro negatively affected poverty situation, as economic slowdown led to new social vulnerabilities and is likely to induce salary reduces and even layoffs, threatening to return poverty to 2015 or 2013 levels (World Bank, 2020). The impact of economic shock could potentially push 9,000 to 20,000 new citizens into poverty. A big portion of the new poor are currently not likely to be receiving any form of social protection benefits (World Bank, 2020).
For people of working age, it is important that social protection promotes employment for those excluded from the labour market; with 48% of social assistance beneficiaries having the potential to be working (World Bank 2013). In the light of recent developments, it is also crucial to support return to work for the newly unemployed affected by the epidemic crisis in order to offset longer-term social and economic consequences. It is furthermore important to address the specific barriers that different groups, including women and Roma, face in accessing employment (EC 2018). There also need to be improved efforts to enhance social inclusion through social protection, including of particularly vulnerable groups such as Roma and people with disabilities (EC 2018).
The economic impact of COVID-19 imposed need for budget rebalances that are leading to budget cuts in social spending in 2020, whereas it will be crucial for the social protection system to be able to adequately respond to the crisis and protect those most vulnerable, ringfencing the expenditure and maximizing its effects.
The purpose of the consultancy:
UN support in the country in relation to social inclusion is geared toward ensuring that, by 2021, the population has improved access to quality, equitable, inclusive and mutually reinforcing systems of health, education, protection and decent work. To reach this goal, UN agencies and Government of Montenegro implement development interventions, i.e. joint programmes of agency-specific programmes.
The Joint Programme “Activate! Integrated Social Protection and Employment to Accelerate Progress for Young People in Montenegro” (JP Activate) represents the UNCT joint initiative to be implemented in Montenegro, funded by Joint SDG Fund, in order to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The intervention is implemented jointly by UN Agencies : UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, ILO
One of the key goals of the JP is to enhance the capacities of the social protection system to better serve people in need, among others by deploying the, policy simulation tools, in order to improve targeting, expand coverage, and address adequacy of social protection. These tools will simulate policy impact to ensure effective social protection which, provided there is political commitment, could result in further reducing poverty rate.
It is not expected that the national statistics will be in position to capture the poverty level changes (in particular caused by COVID -19 outbreak) on time. As per the EU Statistics on Income and Living Condition (SILC) methodology, that is used by the National Statistics Office of Montenegro to capture poverty and social exclusion, the impact of COVID-19 will only be measurable in 2021.
In this context, the policy simulation exercise that is expected to be undertaken by the JP (under leadership of UNICEF Office in Montenegro) in the course of quarter four of 2020, using all available data sources, will need to take into account the changed circumstances in light of COVID-19.
The objective of the policy simulation exercise is twofold: to i) develop tools that enable more effective and better targeted social policies and measures planning and implementation and ii) design of the social policy options (e.g through the redistributive social policy scenario) based on simulations.
The key role of the consultant is to provide recommendations and expert advice in the process of designing simulation tool(s) and in the process of policy options design and to provide quality assurances of both – processes and outcomes.
Duties and Responsibilities
The overall consultancy work will be performed under the direct supervision of the UNDP Social Inclusion Team Leader, and in close cooperation with the UNICEF Social Policy Officer.
The consultant will cooperate with separately contracted legal entity (to be contracted by UNICEF) whose main tasks would be to develop policy simulation tools and to design of the social policy options. The consultant is expected to provide local context guidance, technical expertise, facilitate communication and cooperation with government and other counterparts, and provide overall quality assurance of the policy simulation/policy option design processes and outcomes.
The deliverables and deadlines have been aligned with UNICEF Office and close cooperation with UNICEF and UNICEF contracted legal entity is expected. As a guidance, in order to successfully meet the objectives of the assignment, several phases are envisaged.
Through the desk review and interviews with key interlocutors the Consultant should identify, review and analyze available poverty and social protection data quality and adequacy (official statistics, administrative data, researches and assesments), identify data required (available and missing) for running different policy simulation models that could be applied in Montenegro. In this regard based on the findings, the Consultant should provide experts advice/recommendations to both UNDP and UNICEF, as well as to the legal entity contracted by UNICEF who would be in charge of designing the policy simulation tools.
In this phase, the consultant is expected to provide overview of the existing simulation models which have proven effective in the area of social policy/social assistance. Essential part of this stage is the understanding of data inputs required to run simulations and assess different models’ applicability to Montenegrin context, understanding the requirements in terms of feasibility of mainstreaming such tools in the public administration system in Montenegro.
Consultant’s responsibilities are as follows:
Under the guidance of UNDP, the above should be implemented in close cooperation with UNICEF.
In this phase, it is expected that the UNICEF contracted legal entity would run the simulations of the effects of policy reforms on the risk of poverty, desirably with specific attention to tax and benefits and fiscal space. Therefore, this phase may entail tailoring the model to the Montenegrin context, making sure that policy effects can be analyzed for different population groups (such as by age, gender, income source and household type) and producing additional analyses/policy briefs.
The consultant’s responsibilities are as follows:
Follow up phase:
The purpose of this phase is ensuring sustainability of models in social protection and their potential replicability in other sectors by performing capacity development for civil servants, and providing input to specifications for upgrades of the Social Welfare Information System.
The consultant’s responsibilities are as follows:
Key deliverables and time frame:
Consultancy work is expected to start in October 2020. A proposed timeline is presented below:
Throughout the implementation period the Consultant is expected to report once a month to the respective UNDP Team Leader on the tasks implemented, results achieved, including the risks analyses and proposed risk mitigation actions; The consultant is expected to conduct one 5-day mission and two 3-day missions to Podgorica, Montenegro during the period of assignment. The travel and living allowance related costs should be included in the financial proposal.
Required Skills and Experience
Criteria for selection:
Combined Scoring method will be used. When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract should be made to the inidividual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as: (i) responsive, compliant, acceptable, and (ii) having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.
Only offerors obtaining a minimum 490 points for technical criteria will be considered for the financial evaluation. For more information on procurement methodology for Individual Contractors, please refer to Procurement Notice.
Interested applicants are requested to submit their applications by September 2, 2020 by using the Apply now button. The application should contain a duly completed CV or Personal History Form (P11) that can be downloaded from https://www.me.undp.org/content/montenegro/sr/home/jobs.html .
Please note that UNDP jobsite system allows only one uploading of application document, so please make sure that you merge all your documents into a single file.
Only the short-listed applicants will be contacted and requested to submit a letter of interest including a price quotation indicating the lump sum (in EUR) requested for the work and travel envisaged in the section “Description of Responsibilities”.
|City, State:||Home Based|
|Closing date:||September 30, 2020|