MIS are useful because integrated data management of social protection programmes can lead to more equitable distribution of resources; provide oversight of multiple schemes; establish links with other services; and increase efficiency through economies of scale (Barca & Chirchir, 2014).
There is a considerable literature on policy guidance, design guidelines, and a general agreement on what constitutes best practice for MIS, but little systematic evidence (Barca & Chirchir, 2014). This report was unable to find any evaluations of MIS, and very few reports containing reasons for success. Most literature on MIS explains design principles. The few papers which have examples of systems actually in use often do not assess reasons for success or failure. This report is therefore very limited in presenting evidence on what works.
The report first summarises the impact which MIS have had on social protection programmes, then presents the slim evidence on success factors for MIS. These include:
- Political will: from the policy level and from staff.
- Technology: at an appropriate level for staff.
- Flexible incremental systems: which can adapt when the programme changes.
- Simplicity: ensuring the MIS is not over-burdened.
- Staffing: increasing capacity.
- Administrative structure: a combination of centralised and decentralised structures.
- Financing: MIS are expensive and external financing is often needed.
- Accountability: checks and balances to ensure effectiveness.