This webinar discussed Information systems for the social protection sector: social registries and beyond”, which is an emerging topic in the social protection agenda throughout the world. The discussions were moderated by Joanna Pickles (Assistant Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra), accompanied by two expert speakers: Kathy Lindert (Global Lead for Social Protection and Jobs Delivery Systems, World Bank) and Valentina Barca (Senior Consultant, Poverty and Social Protection team, Oxford Policy Management).

The webinar was hosted by and organised by Oxford Policy Management (OPM), the World Bank Group and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The event continued the Series of discussions on Social Registries and integrated MISs for social protection.

The recording is available here and the presentation here.

Relevant reports on social registries   

The webinar showcased two important reports published this year: Social registries for social assistance and beyond: a guidance note and assessment tool and the most recent, Integrating data and information management for social protection: social registries and integrated beneficiary registries. The panellists highlighted the main findings of both publications, which provide practical experiences on how to handle particular components of information system design.

Social registries as inclusion and information systems for social assistance and beyond

Kathy Lindert presented on how information systems and integrated social registries are useful in complementing assessment, decision-making and implementation functions for social protection. Social registries (also known as single registries, unified databases and poverty databases) are able to support the processes of registration and determining the eligibility and gathering of information on all applicants; clarifying decisions on enrolment; and keeping updated payment administration and monitoring.  

By performing these functions, it facilitates three important steps during the implementation of social protection policies: 

  • Assessment (potential eligibility)
  • Decision making
  • Implementation

To illustrate how social registries work in practice, Kathy used the example of Cadastro Único, which is a Brazilian instrument used to identify and register low-income households, providing a tool for government to better understand its socioeconomic reality. Since 2003, it has served as the main Brazilian instrument to select and include families in social protection policies.

Information systems for the social protection sector: social registries and beyond

Valentina then discussed how to operationalise social registries, how they are set-up and where data has been collected and stored. It is extremely important for governments to invest in a database and instruments that ensure security for the data collected. This prevents leaks and other virtual crimes. Local authorities must ensure that the system of social registries is well designed, in order to increase benefits and avert misuse. Improvements in technology will not prevent social registry challenges, alone.

Further key challenges include:

  • Policy environment and budget
  • Administrative and institutional capacity
  • Operational and implementation logistics

To continue participating in these discussions, please register for the Online Community, Social Registries and integrated MISs for social protection, where you will find the latest discussions on the topic!  

Watch the webinar recording here!


This blog post is part of the Social Registries Series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organised by by DFAT, OPM and World Bank Group on the topic. Please join the Social Registries and integrated MISs for social protection online community if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic. If you have any thoughts on this webinar summary, we would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below!