MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL PROTECTION STRATEGIES IN THE
REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA
Vid Žiberna, Polonca
Jakob & Barbara Kobal
Institute of the Republic of Slovenia,
The main responsibility of the Republic of Slovenia as
a contemporary democratic social state is to view social and economic
development as being interconnected and consequently to attempt to ensure the optimum
harmonious development of both. National social protection strategies establish
systems of social solidarity. Their purpose is to overcome aid recipientsí dependence
on both the market value of labour and the solidarity of informal social
networks and, at the same time, to provide measures to ensure basic human needs
are met. In this way Slovenia attempts to protect its citizens from poverty and
social exclusion. The adoption of national strategies by the Slovenian Parliament
placed monitoring the effects of their implementation on the agenda of the
Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. For that purpose,
specific indicators were created on the basis of data collected from various
social assistance and social service providers: public institutions,
concessionaires and other non-governmental organisations. For eight years the
Institute has monitored two national social protection strategies: the National
Social Strategy up to 2005 and the Resolution on the National Social Protection
Programme 2006–2010. The paper outlines the experiences of monitoring the
monitoring, national strategies and policies, Slovenia, social indicators
Modern countries view social and economic development
as being interconnected and consequently attempt to ensure the optimum harmonious
development of both. The national social protection strategies of such
countries establish systems of social solidarity. Their purpose is to overcome aid
recipientsí dependence on both the market value of labour and the solidarity of
informal social networks and, at the same time, to provide measures to ensure that
basic human needs are met. In such a fashion Slovenia attempts to protect its
citizens from poverty and social exclusion. The adoption of the National Strategy
by Parliament in the Republic of Slovenia placed monitoring the effects of its
implementation on the Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Sloveniaís
Probably the most important role of the Institute is to
monitor implementation of the National Social Protection Programme (NSPP) for combating
poverty and social exclusion and to develop guidelines for the development of
social assistance and social services. For that purpose, specific indicators
were created on the basis of data collected from various social assistance and
social service providers: public institutions, entrepreneurs, concessionaires,
and other non-governmental organisations.
In the paper we will outline our experiences in creating
this document and present some basic indicators of the social development of the
Republic of Slovenia, with special emphasis on the effectiveness of the programme,
by introducing evaluations of the countryís social assistance programmes.
social situation in the Republic of Slovenia
The Republic of Slovenia is one of Europeís newest
states. It established itself as an independent state in 1991. As a young
state, the Republic of Slovenia has come a long way in the last decade.
Although some changes from the former centrally-planned system to a
contemporary market economy started before the disintegration of the common
state of Yugoslavia, the real process of transition in Slovenia began with the countryís
independence. Today, the Republic of Slovenia is a full member of the EU and
one of the most developed among its new members. Sloveniaís GDP is c.90.6% of the EU average and GDP per
capita is EUR 16,616 (SORS 2008).
The Slovenian welfare system may be described as a dual
model combined with elements that are b asic constitutive elements of both conservative-corporate
and social-democratic welfare systems (Kolarič 2006). The foundations of
the Slovenian welfare system are the compulsory insurance systems that are
based on a social partnership. They represent the principal instrument for providing
social protection for employees and their family members in the sense of
maintaining their relative social positions. Rights arising from social
insurance entitle beneficiaries and their family members to have their lost
income covered in the case of sickness, accident, old age, death, disability,
and unemployment. In addition to social transfers, the state provides different
types of social assistance to secure a minimal level of social security to
citizens who cannot provide for themselves. Social assistance is means-tested;
however, it is becoming more and more linked to the principle of activation.
Fig. 1 shows that the unemployment rate (the
percentage of registered unemployed) is falling; in 2005 it was 10.2%, in 2006
it was 9.4% and in 2007 it was 8.7% (Employment Service of Slovenia, 2008; Eurostat
Fig. 1: Unemployment rate in the Republic of Slovenia
(percentage of registered unemployed) (Employment Service of Slovenia 2008).
Sloveniaís total expenditure on social protection in
2007 was 16.7% of the GDP. Data on social development, based on social cohesion
indicators in Slovenia from 2005, indicate that Slovenia has had a successful
social policy: the main equivalised disposable income in 2004 was EUR 9886 and
in 2005 it was EUR 10,371; the at-risk-of-poverty threshold in 2004 was EUR 5516
and in 2005 it was EUR 5765; in 2004 the at-risk-of-poverty threshold for a
household consisting of two adults and two children was EUR 11,585 and in 2005 it
was EUR 12,107. The at-risk-of-poverty rate in 2004 was 11.4 and in 2005 it was
11.1; the inequality of income distribution S80/S20 quintile share ratio was 3.3
in both 2004 and 2005; and the inequality of income distribution – the
Gini coefficient – was 23 in both 2004 and 2005 (SORS 2005; Eurostat
2008). A significant impact on reducing poverty has been created especially by well-targeted
As part of the welfare system the state also provides
various services in fields such as health care, preschool care, education,
culture, sport, and social care. Public institutions still hold the central
place in the provision of different services, which are accessible to all
citizens on equal terms. Private, non-profit providers are gradually
strengthening their role in this respect, usually in conditions where
concession agreements complement public sector services offered in all fields
where such services are not made available with sufficient or adequate quality.
Private, for-profit organisations are emerging through the privatisation process
in certain fields, especially in the field of health care. Together with
private insurance schemes, these represent the beginning of the market sectorís
development, offering the possibility of a choice of services to those
individuals who can afford them.
social protection strategy up to 2005
The national social protection strategy was steered by a social policy based on objectives,
measures and other instruments developed and used by the state with the purpose
of assisting individuals and certain population groups to fulfil their personal
and common interests as well as to function as full and equal members of
society and the state (MLFSA 1998: 2). In a narrower sense, social policy is
determined by measures providing social protection for individuals. Social
protection is reflected in principles, regulations and activities which enable an
individual to be included and remain included in the social environment, and to
be active in it (MLFSA 1998: 2). Hence, the stateís measures in the social
welfare domain up to 2005 were oriented towards the following stated objectives:
1: Improving the conditions for a quality life
To ensure such conditions that enable everyone to work
and thus provide for their own social security, human dignity, along with conditions
for maintaining and developing the favourable social standing of the entire
population and conditions which contribute to social fairness, the development
of solidarity, tolerance and appreciation of difference.
2: Assuring active forms of welfare
To prevent poverty and social exclusion and to provide
basic financial security for all individuals unable to ensure the same on the
basis of work, the insurance system, investment income or in other active ways,
and design the basis for implementation of the self-responsibility principle.
3: Development of professional social help networks
To ensure special support and assistance so as to
satisfy the personal and social needs of those individuals who, for different
reasons, are unfit for independent life and work or cannot operate successfully
in their social environment, and enable them to have an influence on the
planning of the activities and the possibility to choose from among different programmes.
4: Setting up and developing pluralism
To ensure the possibilities for voluntary work,
solidarity, charity and self-help development for affirmation of the
non-governmental sector, private sector and usersí associations and to connect
the same within a uniform social welfare system at the national level.
5: Design of new prevention models
To develop new social assistance programmes in a
planned manner so as to enable reactions to the social situation, changes of
the population, the introduction of new work methods and development of the
profession (MLFSA 1998: 6).
Pursuant to the National Social Protection Strategy up
to 2005, the Resolution on the National Social Protection Programme (ReNSPP)
2006–2010 was formed in 2005.
on the National Social Protection Programme 2006–2010
The ReNSPP was adopted in 2007. The document
introduces new forms of provision for certain social security services and programmes.
Reflecting on its provisions, a package of amendments to the Social Security
Act was drafted in 2007, containing the following changes (MLFSARS 2007: 8):
∑ The transfer of certain social security services, programmes and
measures from the national to regional and municipal levels (a new separation into
∑ New entitlement conditions for the recipients of services and programmes
and monetary welfare benefits (along with citizens of the Republic of Slovenia
wanting to return to their homeland, and foreigners residing legally in
Slovenia and who enjoy rights on the basis of international treaties)
∑ A provision mandating the involvement of the ministry responsible for
social affairs in the crafting of certain policies (including health,
employment, and housing), and the mainstreaming of social inclusion measures
and efforts to prevent any greater threats to social security
∑ Several changes to social security services in terms of content and
∑ The new provisions draw a clear distinction in the types of implementing
social security programmes (they may be public, developmental or experimental
in implemental terms); as regards funding, these are social security programmes
∑ Introduction of a process of verifying social security services and programmes
in order to improve their efficiency, quality and accessibility
∑ The introduction of new services, changes to the system of financing
social security services and programmes, and the overhaul of the Centres for
∑ a provision calling for the creation of an expert-beneficiary council at
the ministry responsible for social security for monitoring implementation of
the new policies and making proposals for improvements in social security (the
main benefits of this measure include the creation of a direct link between
policy-makers and beneficiaries and enhanced possibilities for users to
participate in planning the social security system).
of the indicators for monitoring the ReNSPP
The goals and strategies of the social policy included
in the NSPP are the basis for forming the indicators for monitoring implementation
of the Resolution. In the process of forming the indicators we used qualitative
methods, and subsequently the indicators were described in quantitative and
qualitative terms. In the first step we established the indicators, in the next
step we merged them and summed them up, and in the last phase we defined the final
indicators. These goals and strategies fall into four groups (Fig. 2):
∑ The first group – social
inclusion – is divided into deinstitutionalisation (home care),
voluntary work (number of projects, programmes, etc.) and social and economic
inclusion (vulnerable groups, poverty, unemployment rate, etc.).
∑ The second group – accessibility
– is divided into services and programmes of social protection (first
social aid, custody, youth centres, etc.), regional coverage, children and
adolescents, the elderly, and people with special needs (institutional care,
daily care, etc.).
∑ The third group – innovations
(efficiency) – is divided into regional coverage, the number of innovated
programmes of social protection (number of users and professionals), and the number
of volunteers involved in social protection programmes.
∑ The fourth group – effectiveness
– is divided into an overview of the beneficiaries of social transfers to
vulnerable groups, and an improvement of the quality of services and programmes
of social protection and their orientation to the goals and effectiveness.
In the framework of the goals and strategies of the NSPP
our key tasks are to conduct analyses and research in the following fields: the
NSPP, individual and direct funding, innovations, organised work centres,
social work centres, evaluations, home care, and the action plan for disabled
persons. Special attention will be paid to evaluating the social protection programmes
in the final sections of this paper.
the implementation of social protection programmes in the Republic of Slovenia
(2003–2008) on the basis of the ReNSPP
The NSPP states that Slovenia has to ensure the
functioning of an integrated social protection system. To achieve this task, it
is necessary for feedback information on the systemís functioning to be
available, and this can be provided by an evaluation of the countryís social
protection programmes. Because evaluations in the field of social protection
have so far been carried out according to different models and considered
diverse criteria, and also the fact that past self-evaluations do not allow for
comparisons between similar programmes (Rihter 2004, 152–253), the
Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs entrusted the Institute as well
as the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Ljubljana with the project
task of establishing an evaluation system to evaluate the implementation of
social protection programmes. The main focus is not on the evaluators
themselves but on the people and groups with particular social problems. All
stakeholders (policy-makers and decision-makers, evaluation sponsors, target
participants, programme management, programme staff, evaluators, and programme
competitors) were invited to co-operate in both defining the evaluation
criteria and implementing pilot evaluations.
The project aims to establish a system for evaluating
social protection programmes in order to enable a comparison of effects between
similar programmes (as requested by the Ministry) and to supply the providers
of programmes with feedback information to enable them to plan and direct their
future work (i.e. the evaluation should not represent an additional task for programme
providers but bring benefits to their further work).
the evaluation system for social protection programmes
The first phase of the project involved identifying
the starting points of the system for evaluating the social protection programmes.
With social protection programmes varying considerably in their aims, they all
had to be reviewed and their common points and similarities identified to
enable a comparison of their mutual effects in order to establish the
evaluation system. Given that any social protection programme can be classified
within the social protection field – which is defined by two dimensions:
(1) duration and (2) an orientation towards prevention–correction –
the typology of programmes provided by Nino Rode (2001) proved to be useful during
an evaluation process of a non-governmental organisationís programmes. Within
the duration dimension, programmes may range from momentary services, through
transitional programmes of different durations, to permanent programmes, i.e. programmes
of an unlimited duration which may provide the lifelong inclusion of the user.
The prevention–correction dimension may range from purely informative programmes,
through different combinations of preventive and curative programmes, to
therapeutic programmes. In this way, similar programmes which can be evaluated
with similar methods are brought together.
We adapted Yatesí (1999) evaluation model, according
to which it is necessary to analyse the sources, procedures, processes, and
outcomes of a programme and evaluate the connections between them. Within this
model, the sources are the means and personnel needed to carry out programmes;
they help establish what and how much is invested in programmes. Procedures cover
all activities and services which contribute to realising a programmeís aims.
Processes are all changes in the users, their reactions, and events involving
them which influence the final results of the programme. Outcomes are changes
in psychological and social states resulting from programmes, i.e. skills and
knowledge acquired by the users and other changes resulting from a given programme.
Primarily, the measurement of the outcomes requires preliminary consultations
with the programme providers and users regarding the possible evaluation
Accordingly, the next step included the proposed social protection programmes evaluation
criteria. In the process of establishing the criteria we insisted on the
co-operation of all parties involved in the implementation of social protection.
On the one hand, this includes the users of services whose common
characteristic is that they cannot resolve their problems without help. On the
other hand, there are the programmesí providers (professionals and volunteers),
whose interests are twofold: firstly, they tend to identify with the organisation
in which they work, are related to it and therefore interested in its success,
and secondly, they wish to have favourable working conditions. There is also a
third side, namely the state which finances the social protection programmes.
These aims present the basis for how to establish the
general criteria which can be used when evaluating all social protection programmes,
namely the concept of the quality of life and the strength perspective:
∑ An improvement in the quality of life means ensuring conditions which enable
the social protection and human dignity of all people, conditions which
contribute to social justice, to the development of solidarity and respect of
difference, and other conditions which help guarantee a favourable social
status to all residents and prevent poverty and social exclusion. In other
words, a rise in the quality of the userís life in at least some spheres (general
health, work and education, free time and participation, religion, financial
situation, housing conditions, legality and safety, family relations, social
contacts, health, and self-image).
∑ A community orientation towards social work that influences the
structuring of so-called community social work, which shows the benefits of
preventing segregation and raising the quality of life for users. The aim of
this criterion is to enable and empower users to do things the way they want to
and thereby treat them individually.
∑ The strength perspective: to guarantee a favourable social position to
individuals, families and population groups who cannot achieve this by their
own means (i.e. through work, the insurance system, property, income, or in
other ways), including not only passive social assistance but also support for
maximum independence in their struggle to find a way out of difficult
situations. This is a practical approach that largely addresses the innovation,
creativity, courage, and common sense of the user and social worker. This
requires an individual approach and feedback information is needed to find out
whether programme providers are using it.
In its continuation, the research will include the
identification of the second complex of special criteria, which will be defined
in line with the professionís findings regarding the social problems
encountered by various kinds of social protection programmes. These criteria involve
functional ability and therapeutic effects.
On the one hand, functional ability has a limiting
function, while on the other hand the concept is considered part of training
and empowerment procedures in social protection programmes because it enables
users to learn new skills. The therapistís task is to teach the user how,
despite their problems, they can live a perfectly normal life like that of an
Therapeutic effects are certain changes effected by a programme,
such as those in high-threshold programmes for drug and alcohol addicts, i.e. a
lower frequency of substance use, potentially improved employability, and
social and psychological characteristics (Merino 1999, 26), while in low-threshold
programmes they include, for example, harm reduction (in health, and socially).
For programmes in the field of addiction these can include improved physical
condition and better mental functioning, higher quality relationships and
social conditions, and reduced incidences of illegal behaviour and the use of
drugs (Nizzoli 1999, 64). Therapeutic effects have to be defined by the
profession and the programme provider, while the evaluatorís task is to find
out whether these effects have been achieved. It should be emphasised that the
two concepts of therapeutic effects and the strength perspective are frequently
The third complex of special criteria includes specific criteria formed by individual programmes
for self-evaluation. One of the starting points for establishing the evaluation
system was the formation of the proposed
way of evaluating programmes originating from certain general principles:
∑ To ensure the highest possible level of objectivity.
∑ The necessity to ensure dialogue between the evaluators and the
representatives of organisations in order for the latter to reveal any possible
reasons for good or bad results.
∑ At least two similar programmes should be evaluated simultaneously to
ensure the comparability of the evaluation.
of specific evaluation criteria
In the second phase of the project, we invited programme
providers and defined specific evaluation criteria for each group separately.
These were identified by using the focus group method. A Ďfocus groupí is a
method in which a structured group interview with the providers of social
protection programme services is employed. The purpose of using focus groups is
to obtain an insight into their concrete aims and formulate criteria for
measuring the quality of work or achievement of aims (Rode et al. 2004). In
2006 and 2007 focus group interviews for seven groups of programmes and/or services
were carried out.
the measuring instruments
On the basis of general, special and specific criteria,
appropriate measuring instruments were prepared to find out whether the aims
set by the individual programmes had been achieved and the level of the quality
of their work. We created questionnaires to measure the general criteria (quality
of life, community orientation principles, strength perspective), special criteria
(functional ability, therapeutic effects), and specific criteria (formed by
individual programmes for self-evaluation).
control of implementation of the evaluation
Within the service of institutional care of the
elderly, the pilot control proceeded as follows. In October 2004 an introductory meeting was organised, at
which the evaluators presented the proposed pilot evaluation to two co-workers
from two homes for the elderly. The first part of the meeting included a
presentation of the researchersí ideas about the evaluation procedure. In the
first phase of the pilot evaluation we limited our focus to measuring the
effects of the programme; the measurement was based on criteria established by
the focus groups. In the second part of the meeting, the co-workers reviewed
the proposed measuring instruments and critically assessed the feasibility of
the questionnaire. The projectís last phase included pilot control of the implementation
of the evaluation in groups of programmes for which the measuring instruments had
At the second
joint meeting held at the end of January 2005 the two co-workers from the respective
homes submitted a report on the data collection procedures upon inclusion in
the programme and on problems regarding data collection. The last part of the
meeting included a presentation of the collected data on the resources,
procedures, processes, and also other criteria for which it was necessary to
obtain data from the service providers.
Subsequently, the evaluators of the pilot evaluation
paid two visits to the two homes for
which they were responsible respectively. At the time of the first visit each
evaluator, together with a representative of the home, reviewed the documents
which were a potential source of data for the needs of the pilot evaluation.
During the second visit, the evaluator and the representative of the home
collected all the necessary data and filled in a customised form which had been
adapted according to Yates (1999). Then the evaluators processed the data (using the SPSS programme) and together with the
homesí representatives they prepared a report for their respective homes.
At the beginning of June 2005 both reports were sent to all four evaluators, together
with an evaluation sheet. The evaluators then formed their own estimations based
on the reports and their familiarity with how both homes functioned. All
evaluators met at the harmonisation meeting at the end of June, where they
jointly estimated both organisations and made proposals to improve the
Building on their evaluation, the evaluators wrote the
final evaluation report, which shows that there were not many differences between
the two evaluated programmes. The procedures carried out in both programmes are
legally defined, while the connections between the processes and their effects
on the users are not explicitly defined; for the purpose of the evaluation the
notion of process was defined by the evaluators and representatives of the homes.
While the prescribed working procedures are well known to all professional
workers, the latter evidently do not think much of the processes which the procedures
may trigger in users. In permanent programmes in which people mostly stay for
the rest of their lives, the final outcome of the programme has to be
understood differently than with short-term programmes, where the final
outcomes are linked with an exit from the programme. This is why the majority
of outcomes identified here were defined as final outcomes.
In both organisations the aims are set but not in a
way that allows their direct measurement. The feasibility of the established
aims is high because each aim has a defined procedure which is expected to
contribute to its achievement. Both have organisations emphasised the fact that
there is still not enough time being dedicated to the users. We had no data to
allow an estimate of the appropriateness of management, so a special measuring
instrument will have to be prepared for this. Judging by usersí assessment of their
satisfaction with the services, we can say that the atmosphere in both organisations
was fairly good at the time when the study was conducted; however, there are no
data on what the atmosphere was like among the employees. In both organisations
the users have an influence but the extent to which this is put into practice
depends on the users themselves. Regarding the evaluation criteria stated in
the focus groups, in general the users were found to be satisfied with the
quality of their life.
the pilot reports
In summer 2007 training was organised for social
service providers of the following groups of programmes:
∑ A night shelter for homeless people
∑ A network of counselling centres for refugees (support in defending their
rights and psychosocial help)
∑ A network of counselling and advocacy centres for people with long-term mental
∑ Therapeutic communities and other programmes which offer accommodation to
drug users; counselling and social rehabilitation centres of illegal drug users
who need treatment on a daily basis
∑ Programmes for handicapped people (the Slovenian Association of Disabled
Students, Organisation for Dystrophies, etc.)
∑ Psychosocial help for individuals, families, couples, and people suffering
trauma caused by violence or rape
∑ Therapeutic communities and other programmes which offer help to people
with nutritional disorders
∑ Safe houses for mothers with children and/or victims of family crimes
∑ A network of teams providing telephone counselling for children,
adolescents and other people suffering personal distress.
Soon after the training finished, focus group
interviews for the same programmes were carried out. We redefined the specific
criteria and finally pinpointed them for each programme separately. The task of
the programme and/or services providers was to follow the instructions relating
to the evaluation and to apply the measuring instruments and comment on their
usefulness. At the end of the year (2007) they wrote their final reports.
the final layout of the reports and questionnaires
In winter 2007–2008 we collected the final
reports prepared by the programme and/or services providers. We analysed the financial
sources (both income and expenditure) and paid special attention to the
procedures, expenditure and indicators (measurement instruments). The
procedures were reviewed and logically divided into the common procedures of
some service providers groups, special procedures and administrative
procedures. Some procedures were combined or renamed. A similar method was used
in the analysis of the outcomes. Some groups of indicators (measurement
instruments) were established as uniform measurement instruments for specific
groups (for example, the quality of life indicators for the therapeutic
communities and other programmes which offer accommodation to drug users,
counselling and social rehabilitation centres for illegal drug users who need
treatment on a daily basis). The analysis of the final reports was presented in
spring 2008 to representatives of the service providers.
Today, we are working on a computerised application to
support the user-friendly collection of data relating to the work carried out
by the providers of programmes and services.
The application has been made in the Open Office programme, supported by the
Sun Report Builder, and is undergoing the test phase. Detailed instructions
have already been prepared. The users were found to have been experiencing some
difficulties because of the different computer software and hardware equipment,
and also because the level of their computer knowledge varied. Some specific
changes in the applications should take place in certain cases with special programmes.
The problems and changes in the applications are to be discussed in the focus
groups and separately.
The focus of the article has been to describe the
process of establishing a system to evaluate the implementation of social
protection programmes in Slovenia which would enable a comparison of the
effects of different programmes. First, an evaluation model was chosen and the related
evaluation criteria were based on the aims of the NSPP. Programme providers and
users (NGO) were invited to co-operate in defining special and specific
evaluation criteria, and then measuring instruments were then prepared. The
next phase included pilot control of implementation of the evaluation. The
feasibility of the evaluation method was checked and the measuring instruments
The pilot evaluation showed that the evaluation
scenario is feasible, although in practice certain problems occurred (the
formulating of the measuring instruments, data collection), but these could
have been reduced by making a slight correction to the instruments and the
implementation of a plan for the data collection. The findings of this specific
evaluation have provided good feedback information for the service providers,
who can see where and how they can improve or upgrade their activities when
their services are compared to those of another organisation being evaluated
simultaneously. However, it was necessary to pilot control implementation of the
evaluation in other groups of programmes before the system to evaluate whether the
implementation of social protection programmes could be established as a whole.
It is anticipated that users will soon be able to use the new evaluation forms
to secure the long-term financing of their organisationís work based on the
The system of evaluations of social protection programmes
in the Republic of Slovenia, established by the Social Protection Institute of
the Republic of Slovenia and the Faculty for Social Work in Ljubljana is based
on the inclusion of NGOs, which are gaining an even more important role by
virtue of the broader scope of the evaluations.
Evaluations in the field of social policies play an
important role in the political and organisational culture and the development
of public services. The accumulated information gained by the evaluations could
represent a very useful database for some sectors of political life, which can
combine them and use them to rearrange and improve the work of social work
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the authors: Vid Žiberna (BSc) and Polonca Jakob (BSc) are postgraduate students
at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, and also researchers
at the Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia; Barbara Kobal (MSc),
is a researcher and acting manager of the Social Protection Institute of the
Republic of Slovenia.