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Functional Commissions 1999

  Statement by H.E. Mr. Ludek Rychly, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic to the 37th Session of the Commission for Social DevelopmentNew York, 11 February 1999 Statement by H.E. Mr. Ludek Rychly, Deputy Minister of Labour and

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Ludek Rychly, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic to the 37th Session of the Commission for Social Development
    New York, 11 February 1999

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ludek Rychly, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic to the 37th Session of the Commission for Social Development

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The delegation of the Czech Republic fully subscribes to the ideas expressed by the Representative of Germany on behalf of the European Union. My Government pays special attention to more effective use of all resources by improved targeting, by enhancing a variety of service providers and by strengthening the ability of local and regional authorities to establish and develop social services.

Therefore, I would like to briefly comment on the new, rather revolutionary legislation which is under preparation and which should, in a substantial way, change the so-called third pillar of our social security system, represented by the scheme of social assistance and social services.

The new system of social assistance - which will replace the current rather complex legislative framework - is intended to cover the basic needs of living of persons in the absolute lack of funds or unable to provide for the basic essentials of life. It will also react to other negative phenomena (like alcoholism, drug abuse, criminal offences, gambling or prostitution) which endanger the basic values of the society. The main tools of social assistance will be social counselling, material help and social services.

As other social protection systems, social assistance must be based, first and foremost, on the strict and clear definition of the role of the State and the role of local Governments and non-governmental organizations and their mutual relations. It is important because in this field, the respective role of the State, municipalities and NGO's were often interconnected and mixed. This has resulted in the situation that some citizens still expect the help from the State only, although the real competencies in this field have been given to municipalities and, thus to the citizens themselves. Contribution of non-governmental organizations to provision of social assistance, especially in the field of social services, will be further increasing.

One of the important goals of the prepared bill on social assistance is the strict determination of the financial relations between individual providers of social assistance.

The State should and must guarantee only the roles for the fulfilment of which it has real competencies. These competencies include especially payment of social benefits which will guarantee the income up to the level of the minimum subsistence amount. The State must also guarantee social protection for the citizens and, in particular social and legal protection for children. The State should also be involved in the prevention of causes of negative phenomena of the life of an individual. On the other hand, the State has not enough competencies to charge municipalities and other subjects with carring on specific activities and, it therefore must find ways of adjustment which will lead to the situation that citizens will have free access to the whole spectrum of social services at reasonable price. The accepted division of social services into two types (care and intervention) with a different system of funding is a satisfactory solution. According to the principle of subsidiary assistance, municipalities and NGO's will undertake more and more tasks in the field of social services.

The center of interest in the field of social assistance will be transferred, according to the new legislation, from the material help to social work, from the emphasis laid on social services provided due to the unfavorable state of health to services of prevention and social intervention.

As to the resolving of the problem of poverty, the State will keep the exclusive competency to guarantee the minimum subsistence amount to all citizens under the same conditions on the whole territory of the Czech Republic whereas the municipalities will be charged with the realization of this guarantee. In the field of resolving the poverty, demand made on the citizens and on their collaboration will increase. The citizens will have to show active and effective effort to resolve difficult social situations on their own. Various elements motivating people will therefore be applied.

Also, in the field of social services provided due to the unfavourable state of health, the State will keep only the role which it can guarantee. This means to strengthen the incomes of the citizens who, according to an assessment given by its special bodies, need a special care. The citizens themselves will buy social services according to their own choice. The State will accredit providers of social assistance and it will control the quality of services provided. It can be expected that this approach will create the demand for social services and that municipalities and the NGO's will have vital concern to respond to this demand by an adequate offer, in competitive environment leading to the increase in quality.

Activities of the State will be oriented towards the field of social intervention and social prevention. For securing the basic provision of these services in regions, District Offices will be responsible for funding these services on the basis of tenders. Some social activities, such as the activities in the field of prevention and combating social pathologies, cannot be left to the decision and political view of municipalities, as these phenomena endanger the values on which the social system is based and, also for the reason the influence of these pathologies extend beyond the administrative boundaries of the communities.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to confirm the readiness of my Government to contribute, within the framework of its possibilities, to the development of further international cooperation in this field, in order to strengthen the universal character of basic social standards. We do hope that the implementation of the outcome of World Summit for Social Development will become an important step in this direction.