The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed populations across the globe to turn to local, national and international public authorities for help, as seen by the significant increase in demand for social services. This phenomenon, which is a central subject addressed during this year’s ESSC Conference, has been of pivotal importance in the Italian context.
KPMG Italy teamed up with the National Institute for Local Finances and Economies (IFEL) and Comm.on to develop a platform to promote the active participation and collaboration between citizens and the public organizations/associations that serve them. This would enhance and improve the visibility of citizens’ needs in terms of social services. Future developments for SHAPS would involve other national and European platforms to exponentially improve the ability of the tertiary industry and civil society to provide services that are not delivered nowadays. SHAPS stands for: Share, Help, Advice, Power, and Support:
- Sharing the knowledge and skills and put them to use for the others
- Helping people and citizens in need
- offer Advice based on experience and knowledge
- create the Power deriving from the synergy of collaboration
- Supporting one’s neighbourhood.
Surviving this global pandemic has called for the establishment of a spirit that goes beyond geographical, social or familiar boundaries, because in the face of common fragility only unity will allow us to overcome the global challenges brought up by Covid-19. SHAPS bypasses the fears and physical barriers that have characterized the cautious awakening of the post pandemic world, creating a community where both the real and virtual worlds coincide.
How is it used? SHAPS is an online and offline community where different organisations can offer social services via the platform and be aware of citizens’ availability to act as volunteers. In this way we see both an increase in the participation of citizens and an increase in coordination at a local level – helping identify possible gaps in the provision of social services and/or in the response to emerging needs. Citizens may also express their needs on the platform, through the compilation of an online module, to request the delivery of services not already present on it.
As a digital platform that facilitates collaboration by leveraging the potential of digital technology, SHAPS favours the matchmaking between interests and needs. The entire exchange process is enabled by ICT tools, through which initiatives, relevant to the categories available on the platform, can be both proposed and/or joined.
Participating in SHAPS means creating interactions and connections between individuals by offering them a chance to share their personal time in a constructive and empowering way.
Supporting citizens and giving them a voice to express their needs will help both their community to receive better, tailored help and create best practices for other communities, societies to follow. By taking the “top to bottom” triangle and turning it into a circle, SHAPS becomes a process that helps ensure constant feedback and that it directly loops into the development of better, personalized and efficient social services.
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