Integrated Public Service Delivery for Social Protection: International Experiences with Single Window Services (SWS)

Integrated public service delivery in the field of social protection is becoming increasingly popular in countries seeking to improve access to and performance of social protection programmes and services. In this context, a range of partner countries of German Development Cooperation has started with reforms over the last few years to move towards more integrated social protection systems.

The one-stop shop or single window model is one mechanism used by developing countries and emerging economies to implement integrated public service delivery for social protection programmes (e.g. cash and in-kind transfers, school stipends, etc.) and services at the local level. The mechanism aims to improve government-to-citizen service delivery and contribute to good governance. There is no one definition of the ‘single window’ in the existing literature; the term is often used interchangeably with terms like one-stop shop or one window.

This paper aims to give an overview of international examples of single window models in the field of social protection from emerging economies and developing countries, compare their main features, and provide an analysis to help guide the design and implementation of single window models. It attempts to construct a typology of selected international examples in terms of the scope of services they offer, from smaller-scale pilots to models focused on the broad reorganisation of national systems, and to compare the categories in terms of their similarities, strengths, features, and their suitability in different contexts. Key considerations for the major design features of single window models are also discussed.