Seminar on digital transformation of social insurance in China organized online

News | 16 December 2021
Beijing(ILO news)—On 14 December 2021, the ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia (ILO Beijing) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) jointly organized a seminar online to discuss the digitalisation of China’s social security administration and services for universal social security. The activity was part of the ongoing research on this topic launched in June 2021, under the EU-funded project “Improving China’s Institutional Capacity towards Universal Social Protection”. The research has been carried out by the Information Center of MOHRSS (MOHRSS IC) and the Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance of United Nations University (UNU-EGOV), with the technical support from the ILO and International Social Security Association (ISSA). About 50 participants from ILO, MOHRSS, UNU-EGOV, ISSA, EU, China Enterprise Confederation and six provinces joined the seminar.

In the opening session, Mr Dai Xiaochu, Deputy Director of ILO Beijing applauded the achievements that China has made in transforming concepts of digital innovations to numerous real-world applications. Mr Xu Yanjun, Director-General Level Counsel, Social Insurance Administration of MOHRSS, underlined the importance of this research to support digital transformation process of MOHRSS to deepen reforms in social insurance administration.

Four products are expected to be delivered by the research teams: one situation analysis in China, one report on international case studies, a digital transformation strategy and a data governance plan for China’s social insurance administration. To support the research, the ILO has organized five e-learning sessions and supported one ISSA webinar to strengthen understanding of the institutions and practices in China and facilitate exchanges of national and international good practices.

The main objective of the seminar was to review the research progress so far and collect suggestions from stakeholders to improve the research. MOHRSS IC presented the preliminary findings of the situation analysis. China has made great progress in establishing national digital systems, standards and platforms, wide roll-out of social security card, continuously improving information security as well as local innovations in digital transformation. Questionnaire surveys for social insurance administration agencies, informatization agencies and customers will be implemented to support an evidence-based research. UNU-EGOV gave an overview of international good practices in four countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France) and EU level. ISSA highlighted the key factors of digital transformation and presented the experience of the German Federation Pension Insurance.

Representatives from six target regions for the research including Zhejiang, Henan, Chongqing, Chengdu (Sichuan), Guangdong and Ningxia shared their local experiences in digital transformation. As commented by Mr Zhai Yanli, Director-General of MOHRSS IC, local explorations have demonstrated that digital transformation is beyond simply moving everything online, it has deeply transformed the ways of social insurance administration and services. He concluded the seminar by recognizing the importance of policy sharing and learning between different countries and localities and encouraged the research teams to explore systems that have the potential of universal application.

The empirical work will continue after the seminar, including questionnaire surveys and interviews with institutions. The research teams were advised to engage leaderships and decision makers throughout the research process. The next seminar is planned in April 2022 to validate the final products of the research.