Development of a Framework for Technological Embedding in Private Social Solidarity Institutions: Technology for Inclusion in the Daily Activities of Third Sector Institutions – The Portuguese Case

Development of a Framework for Technological Embedding in Private Social Solidarity Institutions: Technology for Inclusion in the Daily Activities of Third Sector Institutions – The Portuguese Case

Luis Barreto (Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal & University of Aveiro, Portugal), António M. Amaral (Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal), Teresa Pereira (Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal) and Filipe Carvalho (Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5270-3.ch004
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The economic and social challenges felt in recent years because of the financial crisis impact wave were somehow attenuated by the silent work provided by the third sector institutions. Therefore, the incessant instability of the markets, as well as the population life-expectancy increasing and the implications thereof require new approaches towards pointing strategies to mitigate these problematic situations. For that reason, the development of technological solutions and applications for the private social solidarity institutions is an utmost challenge towards guaranteeing their sustainability and efficiency over time. The adoption of such solutions should be properly conceived to enhance their efficiency of the daily routines and to fulfill and inclusion of all users, while trying to reduce the technological literacy. The development of a technological framework to support the adoption of the practices, selection of technical requirements, and functionalities is seen as a great contribution for setting the roadmap that should be followed. This chapter explores the development of a framework for technological embedding in private social solidarity institutions.
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In recent years the society, in general, has been affected by a profound economic and financial crisis with broad social impacts for families affected by unemployment, excessive debt, and low or none expectation of state support. Consequently, such crisis triggered the augment of social exclusion among citizens, especially those who were more fragile and helpless forcing them to transform, to adapt and to react to the adversities, which were imposed. Nevertheless, the difficulties faced by these groups of people were profound and the conditions to overcome them were weak and incipient.

Therefore, the Private Social Solidarity Institutions (PSSI) have become essential to attenuate the social problems and combine innovative solutions to increase the limits and scope of their action.

The emergence of organizations with objectives to promote the quality of life and social support highlighted the weight of a sector, usually referred to as the Third Sector or also as Social Economy. The role of Third Sector institutions has been enormous on trying to mitigate the social scourge, furthermore the amount of financial, human and technological resources is meager and deficit among most of these institutions. Therefore, the management of third sector organizations becomes even more important in the current socio-economic context, particularly due it to the increasing demand for effective social responses in the different existing institutions, whether governmental or private nature. Hence, the study of technological solutions for supporting the management practices can be pointed out as extremely relevant, as a way of increasing sustainability of these organizations as well as to enhance its performance in the normal course of its activities.

In the third sector, there is a considerable diversity of organizations. The study will focus on PSSI Institutions, which are usually associated with health and well-being and social action activities. Small Private Social Solidarity Institutions, which are the most dominant type of institutions in Portugal, lack of financial, human and capable resources. They are in partly supported by state reimbursement, which is not enough for their sustainability. However, such institutions are very important for the wellbeing of elderly people. With the population aging, such institutions clearly need their activities to be supported by technological solutions that will allow them to improve their operations, as well as to be able to take care more efficiently of their clients and resources.

In the literature review it was not found any technological frameworks for small PSSI. Nevertheless, their specific challenges need to be supported, in a daily basis, through technological solutions that can be based on cloud and mobile applications. Additionally, these institutions have several procedures, which are common and thus may become automatically handled, such as home support, medical attendance and meal delivery. However, and mainly because of the limited amount of resources, which might cause new challenges that can be addressed in terms of better and dynamic activities and thus respond more accurately to their client needs. Another important aspect that must be considered is the protection of those clients private information. Currently the increase use of technological gadgets and the huge number of sensitive information processed by these organizations, it is demanded an adequate management of information, to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. In this context, it is proposed the use of security standards such as the family standard ISO/IEC 27000 to manage information security, as well as the implementation of adequate security policies followed by awareness initiatives to the security risks, to promote a safer security practices regarding sensitive information management.

The main aim of this work is to define a set of needs and requirements, which were supported by structured interviews to some PSSI technical directors, as well as some visits to the institutions towards validating some of the intended perceptions, and propose a technological framework to enhance a daily operations and management activities. The interviews and visits will also be important to understand the relevancy of each requirement and its technological challenges, and at the same time, to understand how new and crossed needs and requirements can be added.

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