Use of Information and Communication Technologies for Obtaining Public Social Services in Russia
The article deals with digitizing of state social services that started recently in Russia. We present an analysis of the legislative grounds and statistical indicators of the development of information and telecommunication systems. In particular, we address some aspects of the use of digital technologies in interacting with clients of social public services in one of the largest cities in the country, St. Petersburg. Our conclusions are based on the studies of website contents and on interviews with representatives of social services. The development of the digital economy in Russia and its new tools rapidly change the usual relationship between the state and the social client. During the current transition period, new electronic platforms are being created, e-governance is being developed and various types of assistance are being universalized.
As a result, it was concluded that the process of transforming the quality of social services due to digitalization is multidimensional and complex; it has not only positive effects (accessibility, time saving, bureaucracy reduction, automation of statistics collection, etc.), but is also associated with certain risks (unequal access to information, dehumanization of interactions between the client and the social service, technical failures, etc.). The employees of social service centers have a double responsibility: to develop strategies for online interaction with customers and at the same time to maintain the same standards of services for those who cannot use the Internet. The main limitation in the introduction of advanced technologies in the sphere of public social services is related to the financing of this process: in spite of new standards, it is not always possible to introduce technologies immediately, social service centers often need special facilities or more advanced computer equipment, and as well as additional staff training.
KeywordsPublic services Digitizing social services E-governance Electronic public services Quality of public services
The research was conducted in Saint Petersburg University with the support of the Russian Science Foundation, Project No 19-18-00246 “Challenges of the transformation of Welfare State in Russia: institutional changes, social investment, digitalization of social services”.
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