Opening message from the Director General of the Czech Social Security Administration

The Czech Social Security Administration has completed another year’s work, the 20th year since its founding. Although a jubilee of this sort is usually a cause for celebration and reckoning, last year involved so much hard work that there was not much time to celebrate. So I would like to take this opportunity to balance up a little. The CSSA plays an indispensable role in the social protection system, a role that directly affects almost everyone living in the Czech Republic. We are the biggest financial administration institution in the country, and the social security insurance contributions we collect account for one third of the state budget’s revenues. Since the CSSA’s inception we have collected CZK 4.4 thousand billion, with a success rate of 99.8%. This ranks us among the most successful such institutions in the world. Moreover, if we look at the relative cost of collecting insurance contributions, which did not exceed 0.3% of the collection contributions in 2010, i.e. approx. CZK 1 billion against collected insurance contributions of CZK 344 billion, ours is the most economical of all the systems generating state budget revenues in the Czech Republic. Many foreign institutions could also envy our success rate and low collection overheads.

Hampered by some problems that mainly affected the delivery of services to clients, the CSSA lost some of its good repute and self-confidence; it must now work hard to repair that damage. The year 2010 brought many changes to the legislation that demanded a fundamental reorganisation of work methods, the technologies for handling work agendas and the way the organisation was managed. Once the sickness benefits system had successfully been stabilised and the CSSA began to pay out its clients’ entitlements regularly and in good time, objections proceedings proved to be problematic, with proceedings overstepping the time limits and lasting an intolerably long time. The measures adopted made it possible to improve the situation considerably by the end of 2010 and decision-making on objections within the legal time limits remains stabilised and has become a standard agenda.

One fundamental task, however, continued to be the problems related to distraint and the long times of proceedings in the pension agenda, the most critical part of the CSSA’s activity. The exceptional increase in the workload and the complicated nature of the agenda necessitated the adoption of a set of operative measures and team work – engaging the capacities of regional and district offices, rapid modification of software to enable record-keeping on submissions and their processing, and generally “thinking outside the box” – all as a way to improve the situation significantly.

Despite the continuing economy measures in material expenses ensuing from the way the budget is set up by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, work went ahead to develop modern approaches to client service – the new sickness insurance call centre became fully operational, processing 63,000 enquiries in a year. Work also continued on other e - Submissions projects. Our clients, and above all employers, view electronic information transmission as one of the signs of a modern and effective institution. I do not hesitate to say that the e - Submission service sets us apart from other state administration offices. For example, in 2010 the CSSA prepared a new service for doctors and medical facilities, enabling them to send “e - Sicknotes”, and a service for bailiffs’ offices. As part of the electronisation of public administration services, the CSSA is thus responding flexibly to the planned legislative changes and the eGovernment goals as regards data exchange, links to the basic registers and data mailboxes.

In connection with the provision of information to clients I would like to mention one more important service, namely informing clients about their pension entitlements. At a client’s request the CSSA sends a personal pension insurance information sheet once a year, containing a summary of the insurance periods, substitute insurance periods and an overview of the assessment bases which the CSSA has in its records for the period from 1986. Demand for this service has been growing every year – in 2010 the information sheet was prepared for almost 160,000 insured persons.

Work on the implementation of international projects co-financed by the EU continued according to plan. These projects are mainly aimed at benefiting from international experiences, training CSSA employees, improving security and strengthening electronic data exchange.

Despite the adopted economy measures, certain investment projects were successfully completed, delivering positive outcomes mainly in the form of modern services for our clients.

What is fundamental is that, despite the adverse situation in certain important agendas, we now have the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of a high-quality and dependable work team. Making use of personal potential is becoming a more and more important theme. I believe that an institution whose mission comprises an exclusive orientation towards generating the maximum value for clients will cope with this task. I would like to remind you of a quote: “Success always begins with one word – courage.” If we wish to be successful in the coming period, we will need courage. The courage to communicate openly; the courage to work in close cooperation, both at the headquarters and between offices in the regions; the courage to accept change and to confront shared problems; the courage that will lead to the desired outcome to the benefit of our clients.

To end, allow me to thank all my colleagues for their hard work in the past year and to wish them good health, energy and optimism for the future. My wish for the CSSA is that its clients enjoy high-quality services and can depend on it.

Prof. JUDr. Vilém Kahoun, Ph.D.
CSSA Director General